Sunday, March 3, 2013
The (Not So) Long and Winding Road
What used to be a long and winding road is now more winding than long. So it goes for homo sapiens on planet Earth.
And as we consider "next-stage retirement" options, nothing looks too ... appealing. We could stay where we are (we love the house, the location), but we have no bedroom downstairs, no full bath there either, so we are assuming stair-climbing ability for the rest of our lives. Dumb.
We could move to a single-story home or condo somewhere, but most of them I've seen are away from town. Meaning: We'd have to have a car (or two) to do everything. We are spoiled now: We can walk almost everywhere. And in all likelihood, such a move would mean yet another move (or two) before I find out if there really is a humorless guy draped in black, carrying a scythe. (Death, if you're reading this, I really don't need the scythe part--I'll go quietly, cooperatively. Promise.)
My parents did that--moving from one place to another, to places that offered more and more conveniences, more and more services. They kept my brothers and me busy in their later years. (But nowhere near as busy as we kept them for far many more years.) Joyce's parents stayed in their Akron home until, well, they collapsed in one way or another. Joyce had to make their final decisions for them. I can think of no one I'd rather have perform that service for me--but I don't want anyone else to make such choices. I want to make every choice I can for as long as I possibly can.
So I've been looking around, as I said. We've checked out some "stages-of-care" places in the area--places that have independent living, assisted living, nursing and hospice. My mother is in such a place right now in Lenox, Mass., and it's been perfect for her. But for us? I don't know. It's very expensive, and since both of us spent our careers in classrooms, we're not exactly rolling in it. I'm not complaining. We live just fine; we own our home. But a stages-of-care place would take a Kraken-sized bite out of our assets. Besides, everyone in those places is, you know, old. Whereas, I'm, you know, ageless.
And so, this morning, I came upon a simple solution. Prison.
Think about it: free lodging and food, exercise areas, conjugal visits (don't blush--it's time you all grow up!), free utilities, library, no property taxes, plenty of time to read and write, no car payments or fuel costs or insurance, free health care. True, we couldn't go to the Stratford Theater Festival each summer, but, prisons probably have Movie Night, right? Maybe I could even direct a Shakespeare play with some other inmates. All's Well That Ends Well? Several of the plays have prison scenes--we could save on production costs. And there's always Netflix ...
So ... I'll commit a crime that harms no one (no assaults or murders)--perhaps swindle someone who deserves swindling (I can think of a few folks who qualify, can't you?), but make it patent that I did it. Then--moments before sentencing--I'll insult the judge's mother, thereby making certain I get the maximum sentence. Twenty years ought to do it. Should be plenty. (I'll have to do some bad things so I don't get out early on "good behavior"--maybe start a food fight? They look like fun in the movies. I even remember breaking up a few in the Harmon School lunchroom.)
Then off I go for the rest of my life to a "country club prison" (too bad I don't like golf), where I'll read and write and sleep and exercise and see Joyce (maybe she'll be a co-conspirator? live over in the women's area?) and live the Life of Riley--on your tax dollars.