Friends always ask me: “now that you’re no longer working, are you
going to write more?”
"I have yet to live my retirement dream,” I reply to their sheer
amazement. I have never been any busier.
I’m not talking of housework and yard work which I have delegated to
others for pay; nor do I have a regular schedule for hairdo, facelifts, massage
or nails that is yet to be established. I have missed the meticulously
planned tours with Elderhostel that I had dreamt about. My ultimate reason
for early withdrawal from the working class was to have time to write. I must
have suffered from 'imagin-osis' .
People in my circle cannot stand seeing me idle.
“Now that you’re not working, perhaps you could help us with...”
God bless them and the organizations that provide me with work for
fear that I may die of boredom. In addition to volunteerism, I take on additional
tasks to concede to requests for writing a letter, issuing a press release,
making a telephone call to the responsible authorities, fitting a dress, putting up
a hem, cooking a pot luck meal for some fund raiser and similar assignments
because I am a career woman that has neither given up the kitchen sink or the
computer. I must admit that most of these additional tasks are the direct result
of my shyness - the inability to say no.
Then there’s the social circle to maintain. I try to keep up with my
responses to funerals, weddings, baptisms and showers. I want to be civil to my
e-mail friends by reading and forwarding their messages. I want to be on time
with the payment of my bills, the grocery shopping, the filing (my nemesis)
which is practically never done, tax accounting on the occasional books I sell
directly to consumers, bank reconciliations and the investment portfolio even at
its most minimal stage. As for redressing a credit card charge error, it takes
forever to fix it. In the process I get caught up in computer glitches that I either
bypass, or try to fix and end up spending hours bringing the system back into
operation. Then my ink in the printer dries up or I run out of paper.
I forgot to mention the cold calls to fix my house. As soon as I yield
to a patio enclosure, I get an offer for replacing my windows, fixing the lawn,
updating my air-conditioner, cutting down the trees or carpeting my house.
Am I living in a shack? The burning food on the few occasions I cook, the
leaking air-conditioning system in the middle of a heat wave, the parched
houseplants that make me feel guilty, and if nothing else, the calls of my
cockatiel for attention keep me out of the writing business. Oh yes, love takes
time when my little twerp graciously extends her neck to be scratched on the
head, tilting it in different directions to lead me to the spots that pleases
her the best. I honestly envy her.
I sit down to make sense of the pile of work on my desk, the
scribbles on new chapters in my forthcoming book, notes on some internet
research, bits and pieces of information that fly in every direction or get stuck
with unrelated material, the dust that accumulates because my help is out in
her home town for four months now and . . . what’s that sound? Is it the timer,
the alarm? Which one? Fire, security, car or the neighbor’s alarm? Good
heavens! The sprinkler is gushing all over the patio. Where's the screwdriver?
I didn’t need another shower today!
I walk in all wet. It’s five p.m. already!