My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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In which Beth launches a bitchfest

It’s a heavenly day here. The cardinals are busy – perhaps eggs or babies somewhere? There, a white cabbage butterfly, the first of the season. And oh, the sweet green now bursting from branches – that tender incandescent green of spring, never has it felt so welcome. Nature, ignoring our human crises, getting on with business. 

So what better day for a bitchfest? I’m 70, and I get to be crabby every once in a while.

I’ll start with the reasons I leap up to turn off CBC radio: Vocal fry, yes, females who speak as if reluctantly dragging their voices from the back of their throats – cannot listen. Some of the more inane patter, cannot listen. (“Seeing your husband drop dead in front of you – how did that make you feel?”) 

But lately, it’s wording due to political correctness that has me slamming off the sound. And that wording is: “pregnant people.” Or “pregnant individuals.” 

We are no longer allowed to say “pregnant women.” The word “pregnant” has been in the news a lot recently because they’ve decided they’re high priority and need to be vaccinated asap. None of them are women; all of them are people or individuals.

I will learn to say ‘they’ when looking at a single person, if that’s what they want. But I will never say “pregnant people.” How many human beings are there in the world? Almost 8 billion. That means almost 4 billion women. How many of them of child-bearing age – shall we be conservative and say a quarter? That means nearly a billion women have been wiped out by this new way of speech, in order to be inclusive of – how many trans women or trans men on the planet will bear children – 12? 50? 100?

My daughter says, Times change and we have to change with them. True. But the sometimes preposterous lengths we on the left go to be kind is one of the ways Trump got elected and a drum the Republicans keep banging. Absolutely, we must protect trans people in every way conceivable, no question there. But what got J.K. Rowling viciously censored was saying we should not need to wipe out women as a category in order to do that. 

Next bitch: an entire generation of young people who are incapable of walking outside without a take-out coffee in one hand. It’s as if the hand is fused in that position, like Barbie’s feet always ready for the stilettos – the hand curved, waiting for the Starbucks cup, which is, need we say, non-recyclable and ends up littering the streets and parks. While we’re bitching about that, why isn’t there a recycling tax for companies that use non-recyclable materials and produce a ton of garbage? When Starbucks and Tim Hortons moved into my ‘hood, the garbage on the streets quintupled.

Speaking of which, masks. Who takes off the mask and throws it into the bushes or the gutter? A lot of people; they’re everywhere. I had a nighttime fantasy that I’d make it my job to walk the ‘hood picking up garbage and masks. David Sedaris does it in England and has become famous; they’ve named a garbage truck after him. But here there are a lot of people in need of work; why doesn’t the city hire them to pick up thousands, millions, of coffee cups and masks? 

Okay, blood pressure settling. 

I spent part of yesterday reading my British grandmother’s daytimer, realizing how very poor they were – retired schoolteachers on a pension, counting every penny, long lists, page after page at the back of what went out and what little came in. And then the journal itself: every day, she writes “M,A,E” – morning, afternoon, evening: the weather, the activities – going to the shops for Marmite and marmalade, and in the evening, the telly. I was there at theatre school that year – 1971. It’s nice to read that I dropped in for tea every once in a while. 

There’s a sparrow sipping at the water dish on the deck – so delicate, the way they bend to sip and then tilt their heads up to swallow. I went to the market this morning and have lots of fresh veg – time to make a stew, I think. Do I feel better after that rant? Not particularly. Do you? I’m sure not, perhaps I’ve stirred up complaints of your own. Ah well. It’s been a long hard year. We’re allowed an occasional bitchfest. And now, with sunshine and birdsong, cheer returns. 



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


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A new book by Beth Kaplan, published by Mosaic Press – “Midlife Solo”

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