Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Taste of Retirement

I took a day of vacation today. I idled about in my townhouse until the early afternoon and then took a stroll to a nearby delicatessen. The word delicatessen is a borrowing from German, the plural of Delikatesse, meaning delicacy. But no delicacies or dainty foods for me today. I feasted on a heaping bowl of salad topped off by two hard-boiled eggs. I even added a big dollop of hummus on the side.

After lunch I walked by a fountain. It was unusual to see it in operation in March, but the unseasonably warm weather must have allayed fears of pipes bursting during a cold snap. I decided to take a picture. Stepping carefully through the scattered goose droppings (geese adore the fountain), I pulled out my camera and composed an artistic shot, all the while being careful to face away from the adjacent restaurant, an upscale mock-Italian palazzo, to avoid giving offense to the diners on the patio. Just after I snapped my picture, the fountain abruptly shut off. The water fell down with a splash, leaving a bare, gurgling nozzle amidst the dying ripples of the pool.

Merely a coincidence, I thought. Nothing personal. However, as I was departing and preparing to cross the street, I glanced back and noticed that the fountain was gushing again. Clearly, the restaurant didn't want old men loitering around taking pictures and annoying its customers -- those fine customers, those productive young workers from the surrounding office park who sat beneath the yellow patio umbrellas and chatted over aperitifs and overpriced delicacies.

As I considered my activities today, I concluded that I had gotten an early taste of retirement. Retirement may offer leisure and opportunity for contemplation. But, once outside the bustle of productive life, retirees may find themselves treated as an unwelcome nuisance by the young.

I aim to stay in the workforce for many more years.

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