Thursday, August 19, 2010

Retirement, My New Frontier

Since I've had so much free time as of late, I've been trying out different types of living. The student life (just exited that phase, sadly..), the bum life (still employing some of those methods as I couch surf my way around America), the mother life (babysitting...sometimes), and now the life of a retiree. The last one sounded luxurious and just up my alley. No working, living off of someone else's hard-earned pension plan, taking naps at 10 AM, and eating whatever because you're too old to keep up with the calorie counts associated with foods from the Waffle House... in a nut shell, the perfect life.

In keeping with my bum life, I traveled down south to visit some family and sleep on their couches/beds, whatever they could provide. I ended up spending most of my trip with my grandmother because she is about to have surgery but still offered to make every meal I wanted to eat...for free. With no other commitments waiting on me at home, a 3 day trip turned into a 5 day trip, only furthering my interest in skipping employment and hopping right into retirement.

On our list of activities, number one was visiting our old friends at church, followed by seeing more at our favorite restaurant. I started using the "we" and "our" form of possessive just to see how it really felt to be one of the elite retired. It was amazing how, when retired, you can sit at a restaurant and gab for hours and not be worried about missing something. The after church gossiping, in line with true Catholic doctrine, was what the something you might miss. We especially didn't have to worry about missing TV shows since the DVR was set to record the best: "America's Got Talent," "Regis and Kelly," and "The View."

The gossip was by far the best. Myself being situated at the end of the table with my grandmother and her dear friend of ages past, I heard the majority and even got to comment on a few. I learned about various peoples' cholesterol, grandchildren, and bad hip replacements. I found that if I threw in a "Oh no, did she really sit on her reading glasses?" or a "We all know she's gray underneath that brunette Q-tip," I fit right in. It was a refreshing switch from talking about who made out with who or what outfit we were going to wear that night...these topics from my former life were mostly off limits because, with this crowd, the nights consisted of falling asleep in front of the TV and if you weren't married, you weren't making out with anyone.

The crowning glory of my retired life was beating the crowd at Outback by eating at 5 pm. When you become retired, everything gets pushed back 2 hours and the prices get cut in half...a combo that's hard to resist.

The wine was flowing as our happy hour glasses remained full and our early bird specials were chased away with the best house merlot. Having a buzz equates to putting all topics on the table, at least in my family and as I was learning, at any age. Somehow weird innuendos and tones turned seemingly normal phrases into comments that made me want to be 10 again and not understand. For example, to give it context, my grandmother was talking to her boyfriend about how the people at his church never gave her a chance and didn't really know which he responded "OOOOhhh well I KNOW you"...I could almost hear him wink with his inflection and the word Biblically following the phrase.

Somehow this didn't phase me, but I did decide I couldn't hang with this crowd for too long and I might need to find my own retirement community near my house so as not to mix together the business of being retired and the pleasure of not knowing what my grandmother was up to when I wasn't around.

Nonetheless, one the way home, it did not surprise me when we were discussing someone they both knew and my grandmother said, "Well you know ugly doesn't get you anywhere."

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