Metaphor Behind a Glassful of Pills


You’re supposed to be a little intrigued by the title, and the photos fit – you’ll see.

So I carry my breakfast pills in a little green ceramic dish balanced carefully on top of the glass of “milk tea” or diet shake, along with whatever Jenny Craig breakfast they’ve doled out, into the den, where I flip the radio on (WNPR) and settle down in front of the computer to read my email and discover if the world is still there.

It works fine when the glass is a juice glass – my forefinger holds the edge of the little dish and keeps it in place. But this morning I used a full-sized glass. “That’s a little precarious, Ellen, don’t you think?” said the voice inside my head I never listen to. Sure enough, it fell in sideways and the pills went into the drink.

I was overwhelmed with feelings of stupidity and trying desperately to think of a way to solve this dilemma without losing either the pills or the nice, sweet/spicy tea drink I’d made, and suddenly I grabbed the spoon and fished the pills out  in twos and threes and drank them down quickly, leaving the tea unspoiled (the secret, of course, was that I was drinking cold milk tea, not hot).

I often think that I was given a good brain for one reason: to extricate myself from the trouble I’m always giving myself.  (There’s a line from a 1950’s musical, “Fanny,” that says:  “A wife is someone who helps you through all the troubles you would not have had if you hadn’t married her.” Of course it applies to all genders now!)

But also this morning, I saw into my future. That’s partly because with the coming of lovely Spring this year has come the one thing I hate: noise. My apartment sits above one of busiest streets in Manhattan: 1st Ave.  It carries an exceptionally large volume of ambulance, police, fire and interstate vehicles every day and night and I’m only 8 stories up, which means the sounds that come from the street might as well be in my den.  With the warm weather comes two additional offenses: car radios blaring through open windows and motorcycle gangs.


I think of one of our bloggers, Quaint Revival, and her mornings quiet enough to hear buds opening, and my increasingly fragile emotional make-up, and I know I need to get the hell out of here.  That’s the solution my good brain is giving me. There’s just one problem: it could change my life and my life feels precarious enough.

It’s OK for now, my life.  I have a few friends, I have my poetry class, my piano, my cousin and his wife live not far away and my nephew and his partner come and visit too.  I have mostly pretty good health. I still have my confidence.

I have my really swell apartment with its pretty view of the river and a breeze that comes in sideways. I have doctors and hospitals close enough. I’ve lived here 16 years, which means I know the drugstore on the corner ( they do all kinds of sweet things for me) the layout of the supermarkets, and so on.

Well I’m just thinking aloud.  Always a good thing to do when facing the possibility of a major decision.  So thanks for listening, and all thoughts, suggestions, experiences or other comments are welcome!

Oh, and what’s the metaphor?  Well, old age– you could say the pills have spilled into the glass.  Now I must think my way into the rest of my life: how can I have the things I need without losing all the sweetness and spice?



3 thoughts on “Metaphor Behind a Glassful of Pills

  1. Decisions are hard to make, particularly ones on moving away from family and friends. We came to Portugal because Douglas wanted to live here, and I agreed to come for a short visit. We learned a lot in the last five weeks, including that I am not happy away from home so long. I am glad he sees my dilemma and is willing to say it’s okay. So, yes, I can see your dilemma and I pray God will guide you as He has done for us.


  2. I didn’t see this when I commented on your post today … thanks for responding. I’m just going through something … testing the water, in my thoughts, of relocating. I don’t act precipitously, so unless there’s a change in my health that requires a move, I won’t do so any time soon.


  3. Ellen, I love your post and how you’re sharing your thoughts about the challenges of life’s stages and making decisions on where you want to be. That’s brave of you to want to change after being someplace for 16 years. If I was you, I’d be out of there too, the noises would get me. But I’m used to the quietness of where we live. We do have a low rumble of the traffic on the nearby highways, but the birds singing drown them out. We slept with our window open last night and heard the train go by once, but the rest of the night it was silent and peaceful. I look forward to reading more about your decision making process! (PS – thanks for the call out to my world, your support means the world to me!)


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