There IS a Free Lunch!
One of the great advantages of being a self-employed consultant is the flexibility to work both where and when I want. When can be virtually any time that inspiration strikes … or, other times, when a deadline looms. Where is frequently at a picnic table in Yorba Regional Park. Yesterday, our housekeeper, Eva, was cleaning our house so I came to the park fully intending to spend most of the day. I set up my office away from the office at a picnic table in one of the shelters near Lake Number 3. I travel with a backpack that weighs about 40 pounds and when I’m spread out, my array of electronics (from laptop to bluetooth speaker and a camera just in case one of the park denizens stops by for a photo op) covers most of a table. I was busy writing an email to a friend when a van parked nearby. Suddenly I was surrounded by about 30 people. There was a time I would have said old people but I’m less inclined to do that since at 71 I’m clearly in the club. From the van, I could see they were from the Town and Country Manor, a retirement facilty, and it was pretty clear they were setting up for a picnic lunch. Kidding, I said, If you want to have lunch in my office, you’ll have to feed me. That got a few chuckles and appreciative smiles. Then I went about my business while they set up table cloths and a food table.
A while later, someone came by and offered me lunch. I was only kidding, I said, I’m fine. Then someone asked again, saying there was plenty of food. So I had a lunch of fried chicken, baked beans and potato salad while I chatted with several ladies who stopped by to comment on my electronics or ask what I was doing. I helped one woman get her digital camera working. Just because we’re old, she said, doesn’t mean we can’t use electronics. Amen. One woman mentioned how nice it was to be able to walk around the park at her age. Ever politically incorrect, I asked how old she was. She was 75. I’m 71, I said. You don’t look it, she replied. My wife assures me she was flattering me and if so, it worked. When a gaggle of Egyptian Geese swam by and someone said, Look at the baby ducks, I politely corrected them and they appreciated the information. By the time lunch was over, they were calling me Bud and I was one of them.
It occurred to me that I would like to post about the experience so I showed them my blog on my laptop and asked a director if it would be OK. She talked to everyone and they said yes. It is a perfect subject for Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog because it highlights one of the best things about getting older. I become part of a community that is, for the most part, kinder, quieter and more appreciative of the small things in life, like a beautiful day in the park. My new friends were a reminder of just that. As they were leaving, several stopped by to tell me what a wonderful place Town and Country Manor is to retire. But I already knew that from watching the faces and the interactions of the people who happened to stop by for lunch in my office. You can read about Town and Country here.