Thursday, November 1, 2007


I am amazed at how much I used to get done before retirement, given how the days go now. I still get up at 6:30. And of course I now do my own laundry, clean the apartment weekly, have to deal with a financial advisor and medicare, as well as appointments, paperwork and tests for teeth, hair, bod, head, money, death, travel, and auto. I am also amazed at how much Time it takes to process letters of recommendation for former and current students now that I no longer have secretarial help and have to do it all myself. The same is true for email. I also spend more time at the Y than I did when working, too, but I seem to need it more. Groan.

I was reminded of this again recently while spending three days at Miami University in Ohio rehearsing, lecturing off the top of my head, giving a masterclass, having meals with students, eating and drinking with Ethan Sperry and Bill Bausano and their wonderful wives. It was fun; I think I still I have most of the Right Stuff; I was exhausted when I got back home. Time flew and I got more 'done' in three days than I had in all my days combined since returning from steaming hot Korea last August.

Time has been called the thing you can never get more of, unlike things like money. This is a truism that embarrasses me to express in this forum, but it is true, nevertheless. Time for us animals is a non-renewable resource like fossil fuel--only so much of it. It's also like electricity-- can't store it, save it up for a sunny day. You use it and that's that and you hope for more. And if you're smart, you rejoice in it.

But I always thought our perception of its passage was accelerated the busier we are. Not true, I've found. It's 4:30 now and I feel that the day has flown. Everyday does, despite the fact that I am not working. (Oh, and I also read and nap more. Ah, bliss). I do spend much less time on the freeways, which is really nice. So nice that in November, when I go up to see L and L and DaBoys, I will drive instead of fly. I have the time and can go during the week instead of during the Highway Hell that weekends can become on I-5. Air travel takes almost as long, given the ordeal it has become, and I don't have to half undress and be X-rayed before getting into my 4-Runner and hummin' up the highway. (And I can travel with the Leatherman knife that my buddy Dennis got me for my 60th birthday. Actually, it's the Boomer version of the Leatherman (not Leatherperson): has a corkscrew, canape fork and paté knife tucked in there with the sharpest blade in creation, the usual screwdrivers, et. al. I entertained the Chamber Choir on our last several retreats with it, calling it my tres chic pique-nique knife. They howled with delight, but they mainly used it to open wine and beer bottles during the post-retreat party).

But I digress, as usual. Maybe not, though, speaking of retreats. I ran 18 of those at UOP, 10 with the California Choral Company and 11 with USC. That's 39 retreats, beginning in 1973 and stretching to 2006. In the '70's they seemed incredibly short and time flew. The last few with USC seemed to last forever, and it was all I could do to summon the energy to keep those young brains and bodies productive, alert, entertained. (BTW: why is it Mother Nature but Father Time?) And they were very talented and were doing superb music, so that wasn't the problem. The problem was me. I was running out of fossil fuel and electricity in the fullness of Time. Retreats, I'm afraid, are among the 15 things on the list of what I no longer miss since retirement. Things I do miss are only two: rehearsing that chorus regularly and A Place To Go. Those things didn't make time go any faster but they made it fuller.

Maybe I'll volunteer to do some stuff to return this country to sanity, like working for the Edwards campaign or helping the Democratic Party. Maybe they could use my writing skills in some form--I don't want to lick envelopes and sure as hell will not make cold calls.

Something like that would not only pass Time, which I don't really need, but it may help those of us who view society as Us, not Screw-You-Jack-I-Got-Mine--the Weltanschauung of the Neo-Cons and the party that gave us the Great Depression, the Demise of the Middle Class, the Destruction of Labor, the Highest National Debt in the History of the Planet, and George (frat twit) Bush.

Among other things.

To quote Reagan: There he goes again.


Gonna talk to Erin and Ethan now. Stay tuned. And comment, will ya?

There. Like that? Hope my two fans do.

1 comment:

Alexandra said...

Hooray for the tres chic pique-nique knife!! ; )