Monday, September 28, 2009

Moscow Dacha

When Khrushchev was replaced in the Kremlin, he was driven, that very day, to his new retirement dacha on the far side of Moscow. There was actually a lot to do on the property, but he was miserable.

That has informed my opinion of retirement. Over the years, I have told everybody that it would not be good for me to retire. But, when it came, it came fast, that very day. The only difference between me and Khrushchev is that, in Khrushchev's case, it hadn't been his idea.

But I had to admit, the first few days weren't that bad. A general excitement lingered in the air. My wife and I visited friends and heard from well-wishers. When we were alone, we talked constantly, fleshing out Plan B. My head was full of projects, which I estimated would take me well into the next week. I told everybody, retirement is good.

Now, a week-and-a-half in, the thrill is gone. During that time, I completed a number of projects: I went to the grocery with my wife (once) and to the car place with her (twice). I cleaned up my home office (took a whole day) and copied 17 CDs to iTunes. One day, I went to the Kroger to tell everybody there that I wasn't dead. I told the Quiznos guy the same thing.

Today, I brought in the mail. There was a travel brochure from the Stanford Alumni Association.

I said to my wife, "Would you like to go to Antarctica, next summer, with the Stanford Alumni?"

She looked out from the kitchen and said, "You could wear the heavy wool turtleneck your mother gave you when we were living in Florida."

I showed her the brochure and she threw it in the trash.

I said, "You've been retired for ten years. How do you do it?"

She looked up from the stove and said, "I still have a job."

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