It is reassuring to have a vast library of digital photos—tens of thousands taken over the course of the past fifteen years. I believe they will be of comfort in my old age. This "litmus test" of being idled on the "bench"—sent by the Universe for some perverse purpose beyond my ability to fathom—is proof that there has been purpose in wandering. Someday, investments in travels will serve me well, jog fond memories, and give me something to do, show, and tell, in addition to passive pursuits like reading and watching Wheel of Fortune. A distracted mind speeds the clock and banishes woes, which makes me wonder if there will be a black market source for Viagra at the home...
It's funny how I can remember taking each and every photo, recognize where, when, and why…though, admittedly, I must often rely on Bobbie's keener memory for exact dates and names. It must be Bobbie's passion and prowess for Sudoku that sharpens her mind…or maybe it's beer that dulls mine. Whichever, we are both addicts...slaves to our common love of the western outdoors, walking, hiking, and biking all its nooks and crannies.
Winter is a good time to indulge indoor distractions, our common love for watercolor painting, and Bobbie's penchant (addiction) for crafting handmade, personalized handbags out of scraps of material...something "pusher-man" Susan got her hooked on during our travels with her and Maikel last year. It helps to keep busy during winter…like mom said—shortly after she found the Playboy hidden between my mattress and box springs—"Idle minds and hands become the Devil's tools."
I often wonder how "hobby-less" retirees cope with the sudden windfall of excess time. My granddad Carder plopped his ass in a rocking chair squarely in front of the TV...from Days of Our Lives till Gunsmoke…and lasted about four years. Let's face it, if you haven't developed interests outside the "office" by the time you retire, retirement probably scares the beJesus out of you...enough to keep some on the old "treadmill" for lack of ideas on how to deal with the wealth of time suddenly in-lap. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, it's just seems like wasting an opportunity to look into doing something else for a change, rather than the same old thing you perfected years, if not decades, ago. Let's face it work-o-holics, "If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative." (Woody Allen) There are stimulating, purposeful pursuits that benefit mind, body, and soul outside the workplace…things like tap-dancing and air guitar.
So many senior activities are passive; "receptive" might be a better word. TV watching, for example, or cruise-shipping—which is similar to watching TV but on a much better and bigger screen. Parade watching isn't my thing; I'd rather be a participant...moving through Landscapes, chasing light and shadow as they cavort in mountain canyon and on grassy plain. A camera gives me an excuse to travel and hike, and traveling and hiking gives me an excuse for photography. It's a symbiotic relationship where the broader one's base of interests, the more they overlap into "purpose," which is what every human being craves whether they admit it or not.
Though we've never tried it, I think Bobbie and I would feel trapped on a cruise. I know there are lots of things to do, but most of them are too passive. We don't really care to exercise in gyms, not into gambling and/or drinking heavily...not to mention facing down those infamous endless buffets of rich, heavy food fare three times a day. I'm told at the end of the buffet stands a mountainous dessert bar as big as the deck pool, complete with a water-slide of chocolate syrup to top your "Death by Dessert" attempt at suicide. We have considered cruising the Inland Passage on a smaller "classroom" type ship, one that emphasizes educational over menu…you know, flora and fauna shit.
With various doctor and hospital appointments necessary for my upcoming surgery, I've been taking notice in "Waiting Forever Rooms" how life is a game of roulette, and how the "numbers" come up bad for some seniors. It seems an unfair "wheel;" some escape harm in spite of bad habits and deeds, while others fall prey in spite of good habits and deeds. It's unsportsmanlike of the Universe that those who work hardest at taking care of themselves and living honestly can't have a majority say in their own destiny and demise. Incentive gets lost in the chaos; "Que Sera Sera" becomes our theme song; common sense is of no use when playing roulette for it's a game of chance. Meteors have always collided with planets, suns burn themselves out, innocent children die from cancer. Reality's "black holes" really do suck.
Life is not a Republic…it's not even a democracy; the Throne of God (Devine Law) my friends, is a dictatorship where neither good nor evil deeds count for or against. Throw Natural Law and reason to the wolves, as they are more random than not...some kind, some unkind. Poof. It's a wonder to me that we are as civil as we are given the "plane" we are on is going down.
There, you see, I've proved mother right, "Idle minds; Devil's tools." It's lonely here on the bench, and I can see her finger waving under my nose now. "I told you so!" Sitting out "the game" has given me a different perspective. I've come to the unfortunate realization that there are very few "players" in this world; the rest of us are understudies—subs on the sideline. We play supporting out-of-the-limelight backup roles like third string quarterback with clipboard and paper…which, if you look closely, the margins are filled with doodles because really, what are the chances? We are not the center of the Universe; most of us could snooze through life and not a single beat would be missed.
I'll leave it to Woody Allen, again, to put perspective to chaos, "Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering - and it's all over much too soon."
Happy Friday…Now go take a hike.