Okay, here it is, balmy, breezy air the moment I open the air-conditioned apartment door late this morning (after a sustaining breakfast of green apple slices, Brie cheese, steel cut oats, walnuts with maple syrup and black chilled coffee), wheeling my Sun bicycle out; blue sky and yellow sunshine above; towering palm trees everywhere; golf courses sprawling either side the bike path; the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico within view to the west, Sarasota Bay to the east; and it’s approaching 85 degrees. My greatest accomplishments so far in the day are getting out of bed and cleansing the carcass. I rest my case!
If ever I cast my mind back to this curiously vapid existence it will however be ornamented with memories of potent evaporation. The inconsequence of what we do makes it an effort to account the detail yet it is its appeal. Not everything however affords quite so enchanting a memory. Some experiences were rather like drinking martinis – fun at the time; not especially healthful; and I’m glad that they’re over! I hesitate to dwell upon this sensitive subject because one naturally prefers to be seen at least taking the high road in all matters especially those of personal amplification. Yet the inescapable truth is that certain renditions of experience are marred by the taint of a displeasing after-distaste. In the rare occasions on which this has occurred I fear I am always the last to recognize the incipient problem. Perhaps it is because I traditionally persist to see the world the way I either want it to be or through the eyes of which I derive the most comfort, that I am slow to either analyze or adopt the competing insinuation. No matter, the contradiction of my perceptions is hardly something by which to diminish another! It just leaves me feeling rather silly.
This is why the texture of past events are best characterized with a degree of magnanimity rather than conflict or disparagement. It is not only more sociable and maybe even generous; but it compensates for the questionable nature of the relationship or undertaking in the first place. I mean, I was there!
Though I am reluctant to create periods of time which were better than another – it is among other things a wasteful preoccupation – the frozen truth is that the present circumstances are to me the nec plus ultra! I accept I may have said this a hundred times before; but, really, I am hard pressed to enlarge upon the satisfaction of this currency. Nor is this entirely a thrill of the moment. Many things have transpired even within the past five years (pointedly following my retirement but not necessarily for that reason only) which have remarkably altered my being.
A very distinctive alteration is the death of my parents. This may at first sound oddly morbid. It is not. I strain to characterize the precise significance of that evolution but it is one far broader than the intimate implications. There is something manifestly philosophic about the transition. It is one which is made digestible by the important detail that my parents lived to be so elderly (father – 95; mother – 92) and perhaps more significantly without having suffered prolonged illness or other deprivation. My father for example was with his beloved granddaughter the night he – literally – passed away. This was I am certain a supreme happiness for him. It also pleases me. I am grateful my parents had a long and enjoyable life. I am forever indebted to them for incalculable advantage!
There is no duty to do anything in return for others. I can’t besides imagine anything in the nature of legacy that I might impart to anyone. Though my nieces are the closest relations I have of an immediate nature other than my sister, I am not their only uncle, nor can I pretend that our relationship is close. I say this only because I feel some obligation to my sister and my parents. I have yet to fashion the most appropriate way to acknowledge this yearning.
In the meantime I am convinced of the utter desirability of my present circumstances. Certainly there are discomforts of aging but everyone has that! To think otherwise would be as preposterous to dismiss the pleasures of youth by saying there are growing pains! The predominant difference in the present situation is the relief I unquestionably derive from no longer having to answer to anyone – neither masters, professors, clients nor bankers. I regret this sounds hopelessly escapist and irresponsible but I was overwhelmed for the prior entirety of my life with duty and necessity. I have now graduated to such a complete state of recklessness that I shamefully resent the most imperceptible abrasion.