I have become quite convinced that retirement causes a chemical reaction. Stimulated perhaps by the monthly receipt of the social security check, a bodily response occurs on the glandular level, resulting in the production of a certain pheromone.
Unlike the pheromones emitted to attract a mate, the substance in question triggers a very different kind of social response. This perfume seems to be saying “I no longer work. I have time. Just ask me.”
Please don’t misunderstand. I’m a staunch proponent of volunteerism. A firm believer in giving back. Free time should not just be about “me” time. That would be ungrateful. Wouldn’t it?
Friends – even if you are one of those people who claim to be only vaguely interested in television, and swear that you watch only PBS soap operas, British spy movies, The History Channel, or Bloomberg Business, you must be aware that the new season is upon us. I, for one, am an unabashed TV viewer, and I confess this with the same courage with which I owned up to my Cool Whip addiction. I do not ask for forgiveness.
As devoted as I am to police dramas, post-mortem dissections, and Jeopardy, I have so far failed to understand the public’s attraction to Reality TV. I have experienced it at least enough to decide that even five minutes is four minutes too long. I find Honey Boo-Boo exactly that, and if I had watched the Kardashian daughters when I was in my child-bearing years, I probably would have run to my ob-gyn demanding to have my tubes tied.
The other day I met a friend that I hadn’t seen for a long time. “So,” she asked, “are you still working?” “No,” I answered, “I’ve recently retired.” “So,” she asked again, “how have you been spending your time since you retired?” She might as well have asked me to explain Einstein’s Theory of Relativity because, as I opened my mouth to respond, I found that, in fact, I could not. Respond, that is. The truth was, that although the days seemed to be passing quickly, I couldn’t account for my time.
This was startling. When I worked and had family responsibilities, I could tell you (although I have no idea why you would be interested) that I would be grocery shopping on Wednesday at six pm and folding laundry two nights a week at eleven o’clock. (In fact, one of the things I promised myself in retirement was never again to be folding laundry at eleven o’clock at night!)
Question: What’s the scariest thing that a wife of forty years might hear from her husband?
(No, it’s not “I’m leaving you for a younger woman,” though that might be preferable to the true correct response.)
Answer: “Honey, at the end of the year, I’m going to retire.”
Question: What’s the scariest thing that a wife of forty years might catch her retired husband doing? (No, it’s not logging on to internet porn, though, again, that might be preferable.)
Answer: Sitting on the couch in front of the TV screen in the middle of the day watching The Iron Chef!