We woke early. Jeanne is still not 100% and decided to skip the workout. No such excuse for me and I was on the Pilates mat before sunup.
After cleaning up and a quick breakfast, we hurried to get the coach road-ready. Our destination was Springfield, Missouri, which would be a three hour drive under normal circumstances. About thirty minutes after leaving, the weather turned ugly and we drove through thunder, lightening and rain for most of the day. Finally, the weather cleared as we approached Springfield. The drive took four hours.
The countryside seems to be changing somewhat. We left the huge corn and soy fields behind. The geography here is hilly and wooded with oaks. Also, the air has more of a Southern feel to it — warm and humid, which is about what we expected.
The RV park is not much more than a gravel parking lot with hookups. Aesthetically it sucks, but its convenient and cheap. We selected a site and while trying to hook up, I was confronted with yet another retired guy looking for someone to talk to — or at least listen to him. What is it with these guys? The stories are disturbingly the same and usually include a long list of physical ailments, bitterness over careers cut short, ungrateful kids that turned out bad, problems with their equipment, etc. Generally, the guys aren’t mean and usually turn out to be surprisingly nice one you get to know them a little. I can’t exactly put my finger on the problem, but I think it revolves around self-identity. There is more emphasis on what they once were than what they are now. Just too much of their ego was tied up in career. This is not to say all the retired guys we meet are characters from Grumpy Old Men, but the better adjusted ones seem to have something in their lives to keep them active, creative and looking ahead.
Here are the lessons: There is more to retirement than financial planning, leave your old life behind and find something creative and personally fulfilling. An understanding spouse also helps!
Taking notice of my plight, Jeanne rescued me by asking for help with some imaginary chore. We eventually hooked up and spent the rest of the afternoon quietly watching the Olympics on DirecTV to avoid any further encounters.