I have a notion…

Earlier this morning while fulfilling my daily athletic régime; which is to say, while bicycling in my fat-wheeled touring model complete with abundant seat and metal basket along the erstwhile railway right-of-way I marvelled at the singular delight of mine to have “that magic feeling, nowhere to go“.

Out of college, money spent
See no future, pay no rent
All the money’s gone, nowhere to go
Any jobber got the sack
Monday morning, turning back
Yellow lorry slow, nowhere to go
But oh, that magic feeling, nowhere to go
Oh, that magic feeling
Nowhere to go, nowhere to go

Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul McCartney
You Never Give Me Your Money

Naturally the ethereal privilege is neither youth nor poverty. Rather it is the absence of overwhelming obligation.  When I say overwhelming I do not mean to the point of destruction but rather to the point of becoming burdensome or at the very least tarsome. Contrary to what might be imagined or predicted by most, this apparent retreat from the formidable is not a pursuit of indolence. Indeed by coincidence when returning to the apartment today I passed a man in his garage refinishing a piece of antique furniture; and another chap repairing an older car. It reminded me of close family friend Don MacKinnon (of the “Uncle Don and Aunt Betty” fame) who after completing his successful career as an engineer devoted himself assiduously to oil painting and wood carving. I suspect artistic hobbies are never an accident, rather a percolation of a hitherto simmering inspiration.  Significantly it matters not that one hasn’t the talent of a trained artist; it is the act of delivery that counts.

Nonetheless self-expression is demanding. It is after all a portrait of oneself.  No doubt it was the identical spirit which once inspired one’s youth.  That is, it isn’t just about getting it done but instead about getting it done right! Though this is generally true universally there are those who do not fit this particular mould for some reason.  The statistic does not however diminish what I believe to be the usual ambition of others; namely, quality.

After what I anticipate will be but a brief intermission this afternoon, we will head into the city to deliver to my sister a couple of “no fog” masks I recently discovered at my hairdresser’s salon. They are proving to be wildly popular!

That delivery mission is however not what I mean to address. It is the drive itself to my sister’s place, there and back, that matters. Yesterday I confessed to my sister and her husband that I have deteriorated to an uncanny likeness of my late father. Both he formerly and I now routinely expend hours and miles driving about the countryside secretly admiring the superlative components of the vehicle – the rhythm of the engine; the alignment of the wheels; the clarity of the music; the masterfulness of the GPS and a million other technological features.

To characterize driving as a hobby worthy of retirement may not be the first choice of the active man.  For the record – not that there’s any comparison – I admire the refinishing of furniture, the repair of machinery, bucolic acrylic productions and carving of almost anything (wood, brass, bone or whatever). And while those particular hobbies may not sound to be in the same category as driving, I am not about to perish the habit. Any habit of choice in retirement should surely have the dignity to reflect one’s honest passion. The time for “performance” for the sake of expectation or business is long past.

The one element unavailable in art, carving or driving is the social aspect. At the beginning of the COVID-19 concern last March it took me weeks afterwards to decipher that the most noticeable damage was not the imperceptible plague but the elimination of society – whether with friends, family or the public. Given that most of us don’t frequently socialize it is unsurprising the length of time it took me to isolate the real isolation. Unfortunately with the rise in illness persisting throughout the world there is no one who knows exactly how long it will be before we reignite society.