Tom Germond Sig

Idle minds are the devil’s laboratory

At least’s that’s the saying — or something like that.

I’ve learned that one of the side effects of being semi-retired is that I may have too much time on my hands.

I’m opening junk mail. Memorizing AARP tips. Learning how to dust. Watching more fringe sports on TV and reading everything in the Tampa Bay Times, including the Downs Stakes Schedule and the weather forecasts for Kabul.

Having retreated from the ranks of the working stiffs for more than two months, here are some of my other observations and thoughts about retirement:

• I seem to be more sensitive to noise. I eagerly looked forward to the first Monday morning that I wouldn’t have to set my alarm clock and be able to sleep peacefully. But I was awakened by the loud thud of a waste bin being slammed on the concrete at the end of my condo complex’s parking lot. Hell of a wake-up call to get for the next 30 years.

• Noise ordinances should be enforced. Songbirds violate it all day.

• Ambulances rushing past my unit are frequent occurrences when I’m trying to sleep. Guess it could be worse. They could be coming for me.

• I seem to be spending more time lately — make that too much time — on the internet. I’m sure that’s not good for one’s health. Can a person get the coronavirus from being on Facebook too long? Just thinking out loud — and I’m not book-faced.

• Because I can’t cook, I’m flirting with the idea of taking a culinary class. But to be honest, I’ve been flirting with the idea for 30 years. Guess I just have more time now to flirt with the idea.

• I’m walking more often. Especially to bathroom at night. At least it’s the one place where I don’t hear songbirds.

• I plan to take up pickleball, since I live in walking distance of a recreation center that offers the sports several times a week. I think I’m still in pretty good shape. Or at least I hope I am. Ambulance rides aren’t my idea of enjoyable public transportation.

• I’m going to get rid of things, including scratched albums I rarely listen to, such as "Music to Scare Hell out of Your Neighbors," which my dad bought in the 1960s, if memory serves me right. I kept it for sentimental purposes. Time to part with it. It’s in such bad shape, I’d rather hear my alarm clock.

• I also plan to get rid of a new, inexpensive barbecue grill that I’m too lazy to assemble. Instead, I just replaced the grate on my old grill for about $11. I’m dangerous with tools in my hand and get easily annoyed. Hearing me try to put together a grill would surely scare the hell of my neighbors.

• Retirement allows me more time to spend with my mother, who lives in Lakeland. She’s always happy to see me, and I take her places, such as a lake in the center of town where hundreds of ducks and other waterfowl dwell and get free handouts. It’s one of the few places I can go without hearing about the coronavirus, toilet paper or hand sanitizers.

• Speaking of coronavirus, can we call it something else? The beer jokes are wearing thin and leaving a bad taste in my mouth. And COVID-19 sounds like a poisonous gas.

• All in all, retirement, or semi-retirement, isn’t overrated. Still get to do some freelance writing and photography and occasionally visit the office in hopes of getting a free doughnut. It’s one of the few places I go where nobody is wearing a mask.

Today’s a beautiful day in April. Just wish the inconsiderate mockingbird living in the bushes under my bedroom window would quit chirping before sunrise. Damn bird has no conception of social distancing.

Tom Germond is a freelance writer for Tampa Bay Newspapers. Email tgermond@tampabay.rr.com.