Monday, April 6, 2015

Just Checking

People are criticized for always checking their email. But if you knew the mailman stopped at random times both day and night, wouldn't you be looking in the mailbox frequently to see if anything good had arrived? I know I do.

Killing time, till I die.

 I used to go to the café with my wife every Friday or Thursday morning before work. It’s an open, clamorous place, but the coffee and rolls are good and you get used to the noise. There is always a tableful of guys in the middle of the room and a smaller table of guys by the front window. The women tend to sit in the booths along the wall.  These same guys were always there, whether we went on Thursday or Friday. Some were having breakfast before work and others are retired.
  When I retired myself recently, I realized I needed a routine to keep from getting fat and lazy. First I decided to keep my weekly date at the café with Teresa even though it meant driving 16 miles to town. After coffee I go to the gym to work off my roll, then do my grocery shopping and any other town errands at hand.
  Sometimes we couldn’t go to the café on Thursday or Friday, so we would pick another weekday. This confirmed my suspicion that the guys came to the café five days a week. It was part of their routine, a sacred part of the day. So the workers would go off to their jobs, but what of the retirees? They had long hours ahead of them. Many of them had wives at home. Did they do a little housework, or was that already done. Maybe they watched mindless drivel on TV. Some did, no doubt. Perhaps they went to their workshops and took apart a small engine or stained the gun cabinet they were making. Perhaps they handled their guns. Perhaps they rearranged their collection of Playboys, chronologically this week, and next week, in order of playmate bodaciousness. 
  That’s a lot of ‘perhaps.’ Perhaps I should survey the guys to find out what they actually do, though I wonder if I’d get the truth. I could publish my own routine and that might liberate them to say what they really do. This survey will be anonymous of course.
  OK, I go to the café just like them. I only go once a week, but I’d go daily if I lived in town. On the other four weekdays days I get up with Teresa and we make the bed.  
  She’s pretty low maintenance in the morning. She dishes up her own cereal, then goes to the media room to catch the bad news for the day. This is my opportunity to memorize French words. My mind is receptive in the morning and if I put it off, I’ll never do it. I kiss Teresa goodby and cook my second cup of coffee. Instant coffee. I’m not proud of that, but it’s clean, easy, and tastes ok with heavy whipping cream. I go to the media room and listen to the news on the Français Facile program on Radio France International.  I listen once, then a second time while reading the text (in French, évidemment). Next, I make a third cup of coffee flavored cream. Back to the computer to watch a French in Action video. These are a series of fifty amusing boy-meets-Parisian-girl videos. 
  I make breakfast. Either steel-cut oats, or an egg. Time now for a hike in the woods. I usually bring a bow saw or a branch trimmer to do some trail maintenance. After a snowfall I wear snowshoes to pack the trail. In nicer weather I put the kayak in the small stream that runs through the woods.
After lunch I start thinking about supper. Teresa has requested one exotic supper per week and has folded over the corners of pages in diet magazines as suggestions. By now it’s time for my afternoon nap. I set the alarm for twenty minutes so I don’t overdo it. As the afternoon wears on, I’ll wash yesterday’s dishes, straighten up a bit. dust-bust some dead flies, check the bins of mouse poison in the cellar and refill as needed. 
  Teresa calls around seven.  She works late then goes to the gym. Now she’s on her way home.“What’s for supper?” she asks, and says either hmmm or good, based on my answer. 
 At home she chows down in the media room and watches some mindless drivel. I visit her from time to time to see if my favorite performer has been eliminated yet. At length the clock reads nine and I repair to my bed where some dense work of literature awaits. I doze and dream, mostly of hurrying to catch a plane I never board.