Thursday, April 26, 2007

On Wearing Purple

Most people know the poem about growing old and wearing purple with a red hat that doesn’t suit, and learning to spit, and running one’s cane along the fence railings. Before retirement I thought I'd be like that. I thought I’d stay up all night and sleep all day. I thought I’d eat Table Talk pies and throw the wrappers in the fireplace. I thought that the only reason I didn’t do these things was the need to conform to earn a living.

I thought it was the necessity of the workplace that drove me to dress a certain way, the need to interact professionally that kept me to a certain schedule. When I was free I’d grow my hair and wear--I don’t know, any old thing, a housecoat. You see a lot of those.

But so far I just can’t, any more than I could climb on an airplane wearing blue jeans. These conforming structures are internal. In retirement I go to bed early and get up at the usual time. I balance the checkbook and clean the house. Staying up all night and sleeping all day just isn’t me. Or maybe I'm just not old enough yet.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

An(other) Adjustment


First: Financial freefall.
Then: The hewing of wood and the drawing of water.

The latter also applies to before and after Enlightenment.
Life is still a series of interruptions.

And finally: A New Yorker cartoon comes to mind. An old couple strides briskly to the mailbox, where they collect their first social security check. Coming back from the mailbox they are withered and stooped over.

Egad, I am OLD.

Denny used to refer to retirement as the interval between work and death. Such a Denny thing to say.