Old Geezers Out to Lunch

Old Geezers Out to Lunch
The Geezers Emeritus through history: The Mathematician™, Dr. Golf™, The Professor™, and Mercurious™

Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Slice of Geezer Life

This geezer is an early riser. 4:00 am often finds him comfortably awake in bed, at which time he meditates quietly for a bit of time, until he hears the first jet airline landing at the airport five miles down the road. Generally the airport traffic is kept to a minimum in the six to eight core hours of the night, and the sound of the first landing plane in the distance announces that it is approaching 5:00 am. The weather can usually be determined with good accuracy merely by listening to the sounds of the air traffic. The geezer always knows if it is cloudy or clear, just from the sound of the jet engines in the far distance.

A quick shower, and the geezer brings in the newspapers, makes a cup of coffee and heads up to his small comfortable office upstairs. His time will be his until 7:00 am, and this first magical hour or two in predawn darkness will be spent checking emails to see if there are friends or business colleagues to respond to, reading the newspapers, and sipping the first cup of morning coffee. A year ago, the geezer would already be on the way to the bus stop to start a work day that generally consumed 12 hours of the day, 60 hours of the week.

A man's leather recliner from Hom furniture is his castle. 
If the papers and personal emails are concluded, the geezer now sometimes turns to one of the small freelance jobs that may await. They are tremendously easy for him, even fun, because they lean on 30 years of experience in home improvement and gardening subjects, and all he does here is simply review on-line articles young writers have written, add or correct small details that he knows implicitly from years of experience, then publish them. He has come to marvel a little at the ingenuity of some of these young writers, so influenced by the "Real Simple" and "maker" mentality of the day. The money isn't the point; it is fun, almost recreational work. If there remains anything not done, he'll do it easily later in the day while watching the World Series on television. This part of the day will continue until 7:00 am, no later.

At 7:00 sharp he turns to the real work, usually deep substantive editing of some book manuscript on a gardening, home DIY, or pop culture subject. This work is salaried, done for the same company for which the geezer served as a VP for many years. But it is a return to the joyful work of making words communicate helpful information to people who want to know how to do things. Years ago, he gravitated to this business because of the magic of manipulating mere symbols into books that had meaning and rhythm and purpose, and now he has returned to that world after a long pressure-filled sojourn into the corporate level of publishing.

At 9:00 am or so, after two or three hours of fully absorbed and entertaining work, he takes his only break of the morning, usually to walk downstairs and refill his coffee and maybe grab a piece of fruit for breakfast. Occasionally this break is spent calling an old friend in California, who is also an early riser and will be up and alert. She has been struggling, and now recovering, from breast cancer for the last year. She thinks that her geezer friend calls as an act of charitable support, but in reality she is a true geezer in her own right, and the call is medicinal for him. He enjoys the company of another skilled word person and longtime friend, and he finds the wit of the conversation helpful to his editing and writing, and to his soul.  Occasionally, when they become too engrossed in discussing some book or philosophical concept, the geezer will find he's gone past the 20 minute break he's allowed himself. If so, he'll make a mental note to extend his workday just a little.

Even an extended workday, though, rarely extends past 2:00 pm at the latest, since he is now contractually obligated for merely 30 hours a week. So at 1:00 or 2:00 pm, his work day is over, and he emerges from his morning of productive solitude. After a quick lunch, he then sometimes turns to whatever small home projects may be going on at the moment, often tackling them together with his bride. A number of little home improvements projects are always underway, and a couple of hours will be spent pursuing them. This time of year, it is often some outdoor work preparing the extensive gardens for winter. This too, is purely enjoyable work. In fact, at the end of the day, the geezer often reflects that the day hasn't included any work at all, since it has all seemed like recreation, like one big hobby.

At late afternoon, the geezer sends his aging body on to some kind of therapeutic physical activity—an hour at the gym exercising a bad knee on a stationary bike, or an hour in the pool swimming, or an hour or two of a good outdoor walk at one of the many parks in the area. Because all of this is meditative for him, none of it ever feels like a duty or therapy.

Soon to follow will be dinner with his bride,  who has spent much of her day pursuing her own charity endeavors and work-for-pay assignments. These days, dinner is an informal affair. Relieved of the daily meal preparation for four people in a family,  the geezer pair now may take a car ride or walk to pick up a variety of tasty little salads from a local deli counter, or may order Chinese takeout, or they make some kind of little meal, often from kale and tomatoes and  eggplants still growing outside in a garden that has not yet succumbed to frost. On some days, the geezers don't formally eat at all, but kind of graze from tidbits of nice little dinners left over from earlier days. The family discussion is of what's happened during the day, what the grown kids are doing, what mutual friends are up to, who has called that day or who needs to be called, discussion of social engagements pending that week, or drawing attention to whatever has been happening in the world, politically or culturally. Mutual outrage and ridicule directed at Mr. Trump is often heard.

After dinner, a small glass of good Scotch may appear on the end table, a fire may appear in the fireplace, and the geezer browses the cable news networks for political insight, or may go back to the finish the wonderfully skillful news stories that pack the New York Times newspaper that was begun this morning. Now there is sometimes a television drama or two to watch, but these days most of the programs are painfully boring to the geezer, and although his bride has a few programs that she follows, more often the geezer himself turns to one of six to ten books on the end table. At this moment, there are books of psychology, buddhism, poetry, Taoism, eroticism, politics, hard-boiled crime fiction and pop music biography to be found in the stack. The eroticism has been cleverly turned so spine lettering faces the wall; the geezer is a bit shy about certain proclivities.

At some time in the evening, the geezer usually opens a laptop computer play to take his turn in an online game underway with old, dear friends living around the country. Very often there is a keyboard chat exchange while this is underway, and sometimes when all the geezers find themselves online at the same time, the entire evening is spent in mutual insults or in discussing some political issue of the day with frantically typing fingers and abrupt and frequent audible laughter. Once this game sees its nightly play, the Geezer usually checks in on one or more online scrabble games underway, one with his grown daughter, and one or more with other friends. Sometimes here, too, there is a chat exchange or two (or 200) that ensue.

Other evenings often find the geezer answering text messages or dialoguing by email with other friends. Sometimes, even, the geezer participates in The Facebook or The Twitter, where he has a whopping 35 Friends and follows a massive number (12) of Twits. Make no mistake, he is a thoroughly modern geezer.

One or two nights during the week may find the geezer and his bride out and about in some kind of social activity, or at a restaurant, or just walking the neighborhood. It is rare that you find them in actual partying, though it sometimes happens. At this comfortable stage, good socializing may well be taking in a concert at the park bandshell, or taking advantage of 5-buck movie night with senior discount at the local film theater. Sitting quietly in a dark theater with other movie watchers has always left the geezer with an inexplicable sense of archetypal communion. He and his wife spend more time in theaters than the pope spends in church.

10:00 pm usually sees the geezer watching The Daily Show, or making a last pass through CNN and MSNBC, or checking in on the enemy at FoxNews. The glass of Scotch has been sipped to extinction over the course of the evening, and the fireplace embers are nearly faded. More often than not, the Geezer will be asleep by 10:30 or 11:00, and while this seems very early to retire, it should be remembered that he will be awake in 5 or 6 hours.

The geezer likes his life beyond all measure.