Sunday, March 11, 2007

For George...

"Hope I die before I get old"...The Who - My Generation

George asked about 5 things we'd like to do before we die, and while that could delve into morbid speculation or involve some frivolous prose, I'll treat it as a serious question that deserves a serious answer.

First, like him I'd like to own a sports car - the middle-aged guy's cliche. It wouldn't need to be a fast, powerful car, and in fact, I'd prefer a simple convertible with modest horsepower. The car should be fun and relaxing to drive, not something I'd have to be striving to stay on top of every minute. I had a couple of motorcycles and while I loved riding them, these days I'd be more cautious. Perhaps a track bike would be a good substitute.

"And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.

No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun."...Pink Floyd...Time

George said he wants to play with his grandchildren. I can understand that very well. It seems that my own children grew up too fast. I look at them now and wonder what happened to those little kids who used to run around the house. My daughter played with Barbie dolls and my son played with toy cars and trucks. But all too soon it seemed that my daughter was graduating from high school and going on mission trips. My son turned into a great big football player and his interest strayed from those toy cars and latched onto real ones.

So I can understand the appeal of grandchildren. We can focus on the moment and revel in that all-too-short childhood. It's a magical time and we can better appreciate that magic when we're not ground down by day to day parenting. When my own kids were little, that magic was too easily lost in the routine of changing diapers, spoon feeding, laundry, and the crushing lack of sleep. Wouldn't it be nice to let the kid's parents do all that, and as grandparents simply enjoy the high points?

"No one ever wrote, expect for money".......Dr. Samuel Johnson

I'd like to write a book, but I don't know if I have the discipline. The late Isaac Asimov was a prolific writer. He spent his mornings writing, then after lunch, went to the library for research. I think one appeal is that writing lives on long after we're gone, and nearly all of us want to be remembered for something. Ego and vanity drive that wish.

I'd like to take some art courses and learn to draw in both pencil and ink. This is one of those things I think about doing after I retire. Drawing is like writing in some respects. It's about seeing things as they could be rather than as they are. I'm under no illusions that there's a Great Artist lurking inside me since most of my better, 'serious' drawings are merely technically good. And I'm too easily distracted into cartooning.

"Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.

Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines

Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way

The time is gone, the song is over,

Thought I'd something more to say".....Pink Floyd...Time

I'd like to live in a small village in some foreign country, someplace far off the tourist routes and well outside the usual tourist season. I've done that once, in fact. I lived in Ireland for a few months back in the winter of 1985. The company I worked for needed a trained substitute for an Irish mechanic who'd put his motorcycle into a wall at speed. I filled in while his replacement was in training.

I lived in a small house just outside Abbeyfeale, a village in the southwest. It was a cultural shock. Irish food was good, though bland by our standards. Fresh fruits and vegetables were rarities, other than winter veggies like potatoes, parsnips, and turnips. Fresh stuff had to come from the middle east or Africa and shipping costs made them very expensive. There was plenty of cabbage, but not a shred of sauerkraut. I didn't like their coffee. Guinness, however, is quite another thing.

Americans are accustomed to a wealth of food from different countries. Our local grocery has Mexican, Thai, Italian, and others. But in an Irish grocery, I couldn't find pasta let alone some oregano. It had to come from a gourmet shop down in Tralee. I normally include some pasta once or twice a week, so in Ireland, I felt pasta-deprived.

Those are minor things, though, in comparison to the daily routine. We're accustomed to a wealth of information via radio and television. Our local cable net has hundreds of channels. It may be different now, but when I was in Ireland, your choice of radio station was this one or the other one, both run by the government. Television was the same way, and on weekends, the Late, Late Show came on at 9:30PM. Maybe it's different now.

But the big entertainment for me was the local pub. I didn't quite have my own, reserved stool there, but it was close. The pub was the local gathering place and talking with other people was the biggest form of entertainment. Since I'm (ahem) somewhat talkative, I enjoyed those hours in the pub.

I came across a notebook that I used over there. If I can find it again I'll transcribe some of it.



Blogger George said...

Maybe I'd have to go with 6 things....going to art school would very much appeal to me.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Fritz said...

The things I'd like to do before I die I'm already doing (he says sanctimoniously).

A convertible would be nice. I've lived in a village in a foreign country (central Illinoy) but didn't like it much. Too young to be thinking about grandkids. The time I spend with my children and wife has been a detriment to my professional advancement, but I don't regret that one bit.

6:15 PM  

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