Norm and I became friends over a floppy disk. It’s a long story that I’m saving for an important occasion but what started off as friendly information sharing became a friendship that now spans across a blogging platform, a mailing platform by some corporate called Google and a good old fashioned pen to paper medium they used to call letters. But before all of this, there was Classical Gasbag and that’s where I fell in love with a stranger’s style of writing. If you haven’t already clicked on the link, go read now.
Five years ago I left my last part-time job and fully retired. I happily gave up my structured life of getting out of bed early in the morning and showering before my wife, Cindy, took over the bathroom so that she could get ready for work. I was never sure how long her morning ablutions and cosmetics application would take because she was often interrupted by telephone calls, or… Well, that’s neither here nor there. That isn’t the topic of this piece.
My life suddenly became unstructured. I slept as long as I wanted. Except even without an alarm to wake me, I still opened my eyes at 5:30 a.m. I watched the morning news, but I wasn’t going anywhere to talk to anyone about the things that interested me. I tried going to an occasional breakfast gathering of people with whom I had worked while I was still a State employee, but I invariably ended up seated next to or across from the people no one else wanted to listen to. Believe me, there were reasons no one wanted to listen to them. I stopped going after about three breakfasts. I learned the patterns of the mail carrier so that I could stroll out to the mailbox and share a pleasant word or two. Of course the only mail we were getting were bills and sales pitches for hearing aids and assisted living facilities. I started going to the Amazon website and ordering books and CD’s and DVD’s that were on sale so that something interesting would come in the mail.
That went on for a couple of years and then I discovered blogging. I had originally planned to use my blog to rant about things that upset me and to write stories of my life before I moved to Lafayette and met Cindy. I thought that if I played around with those stories I might eventually write a fictional account of my earlier life. But I also planned to write a post a day for a year. And Cindy kept telling people that they should read my blog. Well, I didn’t especially want those people to read about my past, and since I was posting every day I had to fall back on things that were happening every day as subject matter. It did bring some structure back into my life.
The best part of the Internet is not the ease of shopping, or of doing research, or even the easy accessibility to smut, but rather the opportunity to read what other bloggers are posting. Of course I’m only speaking for my crabby, old self. I only follow a couple of dozen blogs. I respect those writers and their visions of the world. That is why when Anju, whom I truly respect, asked me last year if I was going to do the NaNoWriMo challenge, I decided to jump in. It became my way of finally stringing together some fictionalized stories from my past. This year she asked if I was doing a reading challenge, so yes, I am. Now she has honored me by asking me to write this guest post. She is pushing my boundaries as well as adding more structure to my life. I guess that I have to admit that structure, even in retirement, is good for me. Thank you, Anju!