Monday, August 14, 2017

Nurse the Hate: Retirement Plan

Today my workday brought me to a retirement community.  It was a very well done community, artfully landscaped and serene.  Like all retirement communities I had ever been to, it was completely devoid of any life or activity.  The air conditioning hummed. The attendant at the lobby desk smiled at me when I walked in, quickly returning to her computer screen.  My shoes made muffled steps on the soft carpet.  It was like a hotel in low season in the early afternoon between check out/check in.  It was not the attractive seniors having fun like in the brochure.  Perhaps they were all out at the $9.54 shopping outing at Wal Mart I saw advertised on the bulletin board.  

As I walked around I once again noted that I fear ending in a place like this.  I don’t think I will fit into a place like this.  There is no way I will be allowed to play my music at the volume I will require to hear it.  After all these years of playing rock, I already have a permanent humming in my ears and require turning the TV up to the “Why do you have the TV so loud?” setting.  I always feel badly for anyone in the next room from me at a hotel if I decide to watch TV until I fall asleep.  They must be thinking, “Why the hell won’t that guy turn that off?  Is he really watching Fast & Furious 8?”  (I’m not.  I probably fell asleep to “Rushmore” an hour earlier.)

I have a hard time picturing myself sitting in the retirement home lobby hoping that the shuttle will whisk me to Wal Mart.  I see myself in out of style dress pants with those white trainer type shoes with the Velcro straps.  My hands nervously finger my $9.54 bus ticket fee, as I fear missing the trip because of not having the fare.  Once at Wal Mart I will buy things I don’t need or want like family sized bars of soap, scented candles and enormous tins of popcorn.  I will then leave my precious bag of goodies on the shuttle bus until a woman employee that speaks in a high voice as if she is speaking to a child returns it to my room.  No, that’s not for me.

The good news is that the current lifestyle I have embraced leaves almost no chance of assisted living style old age.  The Miller genetics also don’t play into my favor.  I had a plan for old age anyway.  Like some type of sign, it appeared to me this morning like a pre-retirement home visit warning.  This morning I saw one of those crappy campers that rest on top of a pickup truck.  It was old, damaged, and seedy.  Even looking at it, you knew it smelled like mildew.  It was also “For Sale”.  We had termed those “heart attack campers” in the band van years ago.  The idea is you hit the road once you become essentially friendless in your town.  There, out in the highway in the middle of nowhere, you will suffer a massive coronary and slump over the wheel.  The vehicle will slowly come to a stop when it rolls off the road.  This is why it will be important to limit drifting on the interstate highways in flat states like Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska.  West Virginia or Colorado would be quite messy in this scenario.

This “limited retirement idea” planning is quite new.  I can’t believe I am still here.  I had considered my most likely cause of death for years to be from a van crash when Leo was driving.  I saw the scenario unfolding like a late night drive after a gig on I-77 outside Charleston.  I am fighting sleep in the shotgun seat and finally give in to the pull.  I feel relaxed and serene.  Something feels wrong and I wake slightly.  I look to my left and see the blissfully sleeping Leo, his hands on the wheel and the speed set at 78 mph on the cruise control as we shoot off the side of a mountain.  He would, of course, survive the crash without a scratch.  I would be horribly maimed and live an additional excruciatingly painful 18 months in a backwater West Virginia health center where lots of guys in beards would poke their heads in my room and whisper to the nurses “Oh my Gawd!  What happened to he-im?” as they gape openly at me.

My next logical cause of death is obviously from a hail of bullets from law enforcement.  I would be waving around my manifesto and screaming into a bullhorn some conspiracy theory involving Area 51, the G-20 Summit and The Illuminati.  I definitely see hostages involved, probably softly crying as I try to explain to them that “I’m not the bad guy here!” even as it dawns of me that I am the bad guy since I am the one with hostages in the first place.  When the barrage of bullets gets me, my manifesto will be released from the grasp of my hand and the papers will scatter with the winds.  (Note to self, bind manifesto before taking hostages and buying bullhorn.)

I suppose my next move is to call the guy with that camper for sale and place that into storage.  I could refer to it as “My Retirement Plan”.  When I am ready, I can begin to drive around the Midwest in it while spending nights drinking cheap whiskey and typing out my manifesto.  That will put me in position to achieve my last goals, whether that turns out to be slowly rolling to a stop with my corpse behind the wheel or with the camper parked outside “my last stand” wherever that turns out to be when my manifesto is complete.  To be fair, I could also save some money and get ready for that Wal Mart shuttle at the retirement home.  They probably have typing paper and a binding machine at Wal Mart.  It was quiet there.  Good place to write a manifesto.       


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