Community Magazine

In Praise of Idleness

By Friday23

It was the mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell who dreamed up the above title for one of his essays. He was pushing a theory that everyone should work less. I am using it to illustrate the danger of living in a retirement home – and enjoying it.

After a lifetime of working, satisfying difficult clients, running around to get things done, worrying about minutiae and generally being part of the rat race, I am finding an alternative. Life in the retirement home is different. I have heard this many times from friends who moved to a new lifestyle and I used to wonder how different life can be. Now I’m finding out and starting to worry that I am treading a dangerous path.

I have discovered that all my needs are here, inside the retirement home. There is a mini-market here in the building. He keeps milk and eggs and batteries for my laptop and everything in between. A visit involves an elevator trip and maybe pushing a small trolley back to the apartment. The bank comes here once a week to deal with any item that I cannot do on my computer, although I’m sure there are many off-line residents here. The guy from the bank receives customers on the lower ground floor. The gym is also on the lower ground level, complete with instructor and muscle-making machines and the art studio is next door, so I paint my masterpieces there.

The pool, complete with a water-exercise instructor and lifesaver, is in the garden under my balcony and there’s a library two floors down. I am force-fed culture at the 6:30 lecture every evening in the auditorium and I don’t have to go outside to find a synagogue. There’s even a movie once a week. Of course, huge globs of time are spent in the elevator which is programmed to allow long waiting times wherever it stops to cater for slow-moving seniors to enter or leave.

As far as food is concerned, there is a dining room which I can choose to visit or not and which even allows me to take food up to the apartment. For company there is a coffee shop and lounge and to cap it all there is a hairdresser through that door in the corner. The nurse and doctor are in the clinic and a traveling dentist comes around from time to time . Everything requires the elevator.

All that’s missing is a “Lubrication Point”, a watering hole where one can get a little something to oil one’s creaky joints or escape pesky neighbors. I can’t think of anything else that’s missing.

This lifestyle could be dangerous. If that elevator stops working…

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