Okay, I have discovered that retired means re-tired… You now have to get tired all over again. I live in a modest little suburban home in the suburbs of Dallas. It is a place where kings and queens have their castles, but we are separated from them by castle walls. While many don’t work in this city because they are wealthy enough that their money makes money, I have to get by on less and less of the pension I have earned because expenses keep going up. I am smarting at the moment because the school’s clarinet teacher forgot to send me a bill for two months. Suddenly I owe her $120 dollars, and it is over-due. And she’s mad at me for being a dead-beat that doesn’t keep up with his bills. But that’s a big lump of heart’s blood to surrender all at once. I will squeeze it out of my budget by the end of this week, but I am already cancelling my medical bills before the visit to the doctor in order to get the dog her medical check-up. I feel like she could at least be a little less grumpy about it. I have paid $72 dollars already. Doesn’t that at least earn a partial thank-you?
I have spent serious amounts of thought and energy on reducing expenses and living a simpler life. I am doing all my own maintenance on air conditioning, house paint, and minor repairs. I have stopped buying most of the optional items and even reduced the expenses for things like food and gas for the car and… toilet paper (something you really don’t want to run out of at the wrong time). But you see, I had to retire because my health was too poor to continue teaching daily. At this point, I am not really well enough yet to either do sporadic substitute teaching, or working at Walmart part time as a greeter to smile at the people coming and going with a big goofy grin to keep them from realizing I am watching them for signs of theft. (I really don’t want to work for Walmart if I can help it because they still hate my car, but who else hires doddering old retired fools like me?)
I guess that what it comes down to is that in retirement, I have taken up Daffy Duck’s purported profession of being a wizard. I write, I read, I collect wisdom… and I use it to try to do magic, making money out of books and making people laugh. Wizarding is not a lucrative field. People really don’t pay much for wisdom any more. I have gotten some attention and created some smiles with my work here on this blog, but it doesn’t generate much of anything beyond smiles and good feelings and people going “Hmmm, is that right?” I’ll take it. I’m satisfied that I have done my bit to make this world a better place. And I enjoy the freedom to write and think that retirement provides. But at the end of the day… I am still tired all over again.