Today is my last day of indolence, as tomorrow begins a new and hopefully long term job. It's been a while, so when I got word I immediately texted everyone I knew with the good news--my personal favorite response was from N., who texted back "Congratulations. Sorry you are being forced out of retirement."
Which made me laugh. In honor of his commiserations (though I am extremely glad to find work, trust me) I offer the following things I will miss about being forced out of retirement:
1. Comfy clothes. There is something tremendously satisfying in getting up each day and wearing exactly what you feel like wearing. I have not missed the waist-strangling swampass of panty hose, I can tell you, nor yet the moments where you think you are having a hot flash and perhaps The Change of Life has come upon you, only to remember you are wearing a wool suit and the HVAC has crapped out. Converse sneakers v. hammer-toe-inducing high heels and/or having to find socks that match your outfit? I can't even find socks that match each OTHER half the time. No contest.
2. Self indulgent reading. I suppose, were I a true retiree, I should have spent my time napping on the sofa with an afghan (also one of N.'s longstanding pursuits). But I am a lousy napper, unless I am in the presence of Rachel Who Rolls (because if she doesn't get put down for at least one nap a day she gets cranky. You can tell if she's had a nap because there is less slapping and pinching than otherwise. Notice that I said less, not the complete absence thereof.) So instead I have had the luxury of perusing my overburdened and drastically overstuffed bookshelves. This, of course, led to a particularly fine temper tantrum when I was looking for One Specific Book, couldn't find it, and started pulling everything off the shelves in order to properly organize them into sections. For future reference, this is a very, very bad idea. Thigh-deep piles of books through your bedroom, the "library," down the hall, and into the kitchen can only result in stubbed toes, knocking things over, and a level of cursing previously undreamt of in your Horatio-like philosophy when you can't figure out which section a particular book falls under. I was also going to do my traditional and limited to books and CDs anal retentive sorting (genre, then alphabetically by author/artist and then chronologically within the artist) but at this point I still haven't finished and have taken to shoving stuff back on the shelves. How lovely to end up where I started, except for all the calories I burned with my white hot rage.
3. Standing at the living room window judging passersby. This has long been one of my all-time favorite activities. It used to just be limited to Halloween (Rocky Horror attendees traipsing by) and during Sundance (fashionistas trudging by in their designer clothes and Ugg boots), but having been home during the day I now see how much I have been missing as far as people whom I can judge harshly and find wanting. The dogwalkers without baggies for their sordid animal leavings...the girls in their shorts so short that even the old Nair commercials would rethink the choice (really, ladies, if your shorts are miniscule enough to be showing your chicken salad to the world it becomes a question of hygiene and where have you been sitting so I can know not to sit there without bringing a towel)...the hippies with their hempen glamour...and the hipsters. Oh, you effing hipsters. There is a special place in hell for you and since I am probably going to be in hell anyway and my version of hell would be being anywhere with you, I plan to spend my time there making you unhappy to the best of my abilities--which are considerable, just ask any of my exes.
Side note: Never got around to wearing a wifebeater and sitting on plastic webbed lawn chairs holding a 40 and yelling at the Parade of Hipsters. Added to the list of things yet to be achieved.
The number one favorite Hated Passersby category, however, is the bikers in Special Outfits.
I hate them so, so very much. First of all, nobody should wear spandex in public. I do not want to see anyone prancing around in plum smugglers (or clam baskets, the female equivalent). I don't make you look at me wearing a nothing left to the imagination ensemble, what makes you think you can just trot out in public wearing your moisture-wicking Special Outfit that is tight enough to reveal what only your spouse and doctor should have to see? Furthermore, and this is a message to every one of them, YOU LOOK STUPID. Just plain stupid. You with your clip-in shoes and your ergonomically streamlined racing helmet, shaving your legs to achieve an aerodynamic advantage. YOU ARE NOT LANCE ARMSTRONG. Wearing a professionally designed team oriented fruity ensemble and pedaling like a bipedal upright shaven hamster on a wheel is not going to make you Lance Armstrong. You are not training for the Tour de France. You are riding around on a vastly overpriced bike on the streets of Salt Lake City. There is absolutely no reason for you to spend that kind of money on your hobby so that everyone can see you and know that you take it seriously--it is flatly impossible to take you seriously when I am having to look at your hindquarters as you hunch over with your Special Outfit Sunglasses and reveal the butt padding stitching on your Special Outfit because your bike seat is the size and apparent comfort level of sitting on a spatula.
And those of you who roam in packs (I believe, much in the vein of a murder of crows, a gaggle of geese, and a business of ferrets, the proper terminology is a douchebag of bikers)...I have so much to say that I can't say it at all. No doubt you go home and discuss that weird, frizzy-haired clearly special needs girl hammering on her living room window and shrieking unintelligible things as you ride past every day.
There are more things I will miss, I am sure, but to be honest I am looking forward to getting back into the workaday world. I think much of the enforced solitude has contributed significantly to me getting even more odd. But then I remember the comment one friend made as we were discussing someone we both knew. "I don't think he's getting weirder," she said. "I think he's just got more time to be weird."
We'll stick with that for now.