June 11, 2019

The big heat has finally arrived here in the Valley of the Sun, heat advisories up everywhere. Hard to believe it’s the beginning of June and this is the first time we’ve seen these kinds of temperatures, but we’ll take it. We’re just a little bit over a week away from the unofficial start of monsoon season. Where has this year gone? It seems like yesterday I was putting the Christmas decorations away.

This is a special kind of heat, when it gets to be 107-108 plus. 108 seems to be the magic number when it comes to heat advisories being triggered. I call it “double bogey heat”. After you’ve lived here for a while, it’s hot but 108 doesn’t seem to me to be crazy hot. When you get to, say, 113 or above, now that’s crazy heat – the kind that pushes your swimming pool temperature to 94, 95 – the highest our pool will go. In 15+ years I’ve never seen it go above that, and frankly, I really don’t want it to.

I’m in kind of a funny place mentally this year. Maybe it’s because of work (where there are big changes in the wind) and a couple of long-time members of my team at work have announced their retirements. Or maybe it’s because come October it will be (to quote that Sgt. Pepper tune), “Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m” sixty-four.” The age feels strange to me. Starting next year I’ll be able to start taking my pension from working at Lahey Clinic for so many years. This fall I have to sign up for Medicare. I’ve had this cough I can’t seem to get rid of for at least four months now and my primary quack can’t figure out what’s going on. I think he’s going to change my blood pressure medication to see if that helps at all. It all just seems kind of weird to me – it’s as if I’m still in my forties but am living an older person’s life.

Maybe that’s why, ever since I resumed playing golf after last year’s Goodboys Invitational week on that warm and lovely October afternoon on the last day of triple digit temperatures, the sky filled with high wispy clouds being pushed out by the remains of Hurricane Rosa, that I enjoyed myself so much on the golf course and have done so since, playing rounds with strangers of all kinds. There’s a kind on anonymity out there: they don’t know – or care – how old I am, I’m not thinking about how old I am, I’m just out there recreating. Sure, I’m trying to reduce my handicap seven friggin’ strokes and am constantly working on refining my swing to get me there, but it’s always a good time, my score gets logged with comments, and I’m back to real life.

It’s not like I’m fixated on sickness and death, but I can’t help wonder from time to time how it will all go down for me eventually. I’m reading John D. MacDonald’s Condominium on my Kindle, about the tales and travails of a condo complex in Gulf Coast Florida during the early ’80s condo boom filled with retirees and shysters trying to take advantage of their ages and situations. Some of them are dealing with illnesses of various kinds, others with money worries or problems, all of them wondering why they’re in “God’s Waiting Room” and how the hell they all got there. And it resonates with me.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve come to love Arizona and our house and community, but I miss the summers and falls in New England. I sure don’t miss the winters and the springs. But I can’t help but wonder where this all leads. I think about what I would (or could) do when I retire, and frankly, it bores me. Sure, I’d have the time to both play golf – perhaps join a weekly golf league – and clean the house more regularly then it currently gets. Or maybe I would find some kind of part-time work that I’d really enjoy. But I don’t feel ready for that. And what about if I (or, rather, when) I get sick – like, really sick. How would I handle it? Would, say, getting cancer (again) freak me out? Or would I attack it, like so many others do, with a grim determination to fight it out?

I guess it’s different getting older when there are no children involved. For my sister-in-law, she’s got her kids (and grandkids) that she’s constantly communicating (or attempting to communicate) with to one extent or another. I don’t think it’s because she feels like it’s important to leave any kind of legacy, she’s just a mom who cares about her children and it fills her life to some extent. Tracey and I d don’t. It’s not something I regret, and I don’t think Tracey regrets it, either. It’s just life the way it all turned out. Of course, I still have my dad around and my good friends back East, but everyone there – even Dad – has their own lives and situations. Tracey and I did a lot of traveling back in our first two decades of marriage, and, outside of the occasional weekend trip to Las Vegas or San Diego, or the occasional trip back East, traveling really doesn’t interest me much. People are weird, and traveling has become both weird and tedious. For example, I can’t imagine taking a cruise on one of those super-ships they have these days. All they are are floating hotels with young families and kids running all over the place.

I think I like it better here in the backyard where the landscape is beautiful, and at night the colors are lovely and the lights happy. Just like last night where a warm, slightly dusty, breeze from the southwest rustled the palm trees and got the wind chimes all a-tinkling. I sipped a Sam Summer and thought about just how pleasant it all felt. And how I should really try and find a weekend to play another eighteen holes before I go back to Massachusetts for Goodboys weekend next month. I’ve been thinking that next year’s Goodboys will be my last – it will be thirty years of Goodboys golf, and sooner or later everything has to come to an end. But then I catch myself and stop thinking about things too far ahead. (As is, in more than kind of a way, what this post is doing.) I don’t really like thinking too far ahead anymore – it troubles, if not frightens, me. Far better to stick to my mantra of listening to George Harrison’s “Be Here Now” every day before I start work.

Because the now is all there really is, isn’t?

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 18:11 | Comments Off on Taking the Temperature of Things…
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