Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ride it till it crashes

You never know when a milestone in your life is going to sneak up and bash you over the head. And
delivery by telephone is fate at its most sadistic. I was merely asking some functionary in Human Remains (Resources) how much leave I had left in the cycle.

"Er, but you're retiring soon aren't you?"
"Not to my knowledge," sez I.
"Yes you are," sez she. "The rules of the Provident Fund require you to retire on your 65th birthday."
"Well, I, er, I ... I want to stay on for my end-of-year bonus," I say lamely, as earth tips over a bit.
"You'll get a proportionate bonus. Up to the end of October."
"Oh, OK ..."
I hang up and tell the chief sub: "Guess what? I'm retiring at the end of the month."
"Oh yes," she says irritatingly; like she knows too? "C (the editor) wants to offer you a contract. We have to go and speak to him."

So long story short, I "retire" on October 31. On November 1 I come to work and sit at my usual "workstation", but now I am not "backbench splash sub" -- I am "independent contractor", and in the process of designing my own contract. Four-day week, lots of leave ... much money.

So why is it that this week I have this sensation of falling, adrift in an alien cosmos? It's life, but not as I know it. Anyway, shouldn't I be off to see the world, finishing my eternally postponed second draft of the movie script ... or, I dunno, just kicking back and letting it all go?

The thing is, I strongly object to society's attempts to shape my life or for that matter its concluding chapters. I refuse the "pensioner discount", the assumption of clapped-outness, the extra courtesy of the young; call me a senior and I'll pop you one. I walk, I jog, I lift weights, I do Pilates, I'm ready for a love affair ... sod it -- I'm not bloody old!

Ride it till it crashes has always been my mantra. No reason to take my foot off the accelerator now.
Victor Meldrew is dead.


Blogger herschelian said...

Thank goodness you're blogging again, I thought you really had given up! The thing is I am a Capetonian in exile (for many years) and your blog has kept me in touch with the mountains, the sea, the whales, and helped keep my periodic bouts of homesickness/nostalgia at bay. Thank you for that. BTW 65 is definately not old - 85, thats old.

7:00 PM  
Blogger hendrix said...

Yes, glad you're back! Don't take your foot off the accelerator.

And even 85 isn't old. My grandma's 85 and she goes visits the elderly (who probably don't consider themselves that at all) If we spent any time listening to what society expects, or allowed their attempts to put us in our place to suceed then we'd never do anything!

11:44 AM  

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