Saturday, October 8, 2011

the retirement

They live on a large island on the west coast. Of Norway. Population 3,500. It's got panoramic vistas of the water in every direction. No high rises. Even the few new houses look sleepy and old.  Wooden houses, right up to the rocks and the water. It looks very very quiet. But they've got a little boat and they go fishing. And if the cat gets lost, there's an animal-man who can conjure kitty home.

If there were any woods, I'd say it was very back woods. But there aren't any. There are just neighbors not too close, and a market you can walk to. Though you wouldn't want to hike back with a heavy load of groceries.  Retired, remember. So, yes. They have a car.

So. They live in this remote, idyllic place. The kind of place I tend to dream of.

And then there's Thailand.

They've been to Thailand thirteen, fourteen times. They're hooked on Thailand.

And they've been to Disneyland. The one in Florida.

And they've been to Spain. And France. And Turkey.

But mostly, it's Thailand.

"What did you used to do?" I asked.

"I worked for a big company. Service."

I'm not sure what that means. And it didn't get any clearer.

They were animated and delightful and energetic. Got in almost at midnight last night. Their host had started to worry. But they'd been to a million places that I myself had never been to in my own city. Truth be told, I know nothing about what-to-do-or-see in my own town.

I've decided that Norwegian is an impossible language. It appears to be composed of mostly slurry vowels.  I can't get a grasp on a single word without some major explication.

I've decided that remote idyllic islands might not be something I should dream about, at least not for moving to in case of actual retirement. I mean, here they are living in Paradise, wishing it weren't quite so cold, and traveling abroad as much as possible.

Actually, they're having the time of their lives.  Visiting places like my home town.

And I've been invited to their remote island.  And sure, I accept, how could I not?  And maybe I will master some of those slurry Norwegian vowels. And maybe I'll go fishing upon that quiet sea. Maybe I'll walk down the path to their painterly water's edge—

Only to discover that I live where I'm supposed to. Only to find that I'm doing what I should.

But there it was, for a brief moment, right in front of me: Two people. With no papers to grade.


  1. And here you are, finally no papers to grade, and what do you do? You up and start a movie (oh, and learn how to do movies), paint a room, rearrange a few more, swap out chairs like so many cut flowers, adopt a puppy, sign up to give a paper on a panel, and… well, I must be forgetting a few dozen things.

  2. In the cosmic order, there are always papers to grade!