On Retirement, Outsourcing, Spring Break, Bikinis and Tattoos

I am a day late. I sit here with a blank screen before me and wonder where it will take me. I have some things in the works, but they aren’t ready to talk about, things I’d like to share, about what I’ve learned about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and how to format for eBooks. I’ve already done the Kindle thing, but there are other eBook readers out there, and they all want different formats. That’s coming soon.

I am spending a week in Florida, my “last” vacation. I say it’s my last because from now on, my life will be permanent vacation. This is the last time I have to ask for a week off, because after May 27th I will no longer be working my day job. I am not seeking other employment at this time, (so I guess it’s called “retirement”) but it doesn’t mean I won’t in the future, if I can find the right situation. I will probably not ever be found inside a cubicle again. If I do find a situation, it will be something I can do from anywhere. Something where I can pack up my laptop and my brand new Verizon 4G ITE portable network. What a great little thing it is, about as big as a credit card, and about ¼ inch thick. It’s fast, and convenient, and may release me from my dependence on Time Warner.

Aren’t you afraid you’ll get bored? A question I am asked by many. Bored? I haven’t been bored since I was ten years old, shut inside in bad weather. I’d tell my mother I was bored, I didn’t have anything to do, and she’d respond with the exact same threat every time I did. “Find something to do, or I’ll give you something to do.” I wonder why I kept telling her that, since she wasn’t going to be much help. Back then, parents didn’t care much if you were bored, they expected you to figure it out for yourself.

The first thing I’ll do with my spare time is take a family vacation. We’ll stay on Lake Ontario for a week or so, and visit with my father. My daughters will be there and I’ll probably see some old friends too. After that there’s another reunion scheduled, and after that another trip to Florida. Then I’ll reorganize my house, cupboards and closets, and cook more, and grow my own basil so I can make pesto.

I’ll read more, write more, watch more old movies, exercise more, learn more. I can’t imagine being bored. I’ll take more pictures, and learn the GIMP software package.

When the only thing about the job you will miss is the money, it’s time to retire. I don’t want this to turn into a rant, so will try to keep my comments civil. It’s enough to say that I found something I was good at, something I did that added value, and it was decided for me that the thing I was good at could be done more cheaply by someone in India. They decided, what I was good at was being a paper pusher.

I will say that it doesn’t take a genius to know that eventually the world economy will be such that people who do what I used to do, will all be paid equally. By that time it will be too late, all the talent will be over there, not here. And in the meantime, it’s so-o much cheaper in India. Well, it’s not quite as cheap as it used to be (see where that’s going?) but still, it’s better than paying us American workers to do what they can do for half as much. And for each manager who is considering his options, his bonus becomes the deciding factor. Save the company money now, today? More money in his bonus.

To change the subject, yesterday we visited an outside bar, Shephard’s, here on Clearwater Beach. It was a perfect day to walk down there and take in the scenery. This place is The Happenin’ Spring Break Hotel and Bar. It has been here as long as I can remember, and I referred to it in Whatever Happened to Lily? Jay went there during Spring Break to people-watch and ended up running into someone he’d interviewed with years ago, who offered him a job.

Spring Break has probably peaked but it’s still crowded here at the beach. Throngs of people, old people, young people, and families with kids in strollers. It becomes a necessity to plan when you will leave the beach and when you will come back, because of the traffic.

There is a restaurant, an indoor bar, and a night club at Shephard’s Hotel, in addition to a huge beachfront tiki bar on the water. There’s music all day long, live music at night. It’s all situated on one big deck, with three or four bars, and mini-bars where larger groups can gather, as well as tables, and places to stand. There is a beer station every twenty feet or so. The bartenders serve up fancy island drinks in plastic cups, without measuring anything, pouring liquor with one hand and adding mixers with the other. They give away free shots, and sponser beer drinking games and bikini contests. They encourage the breakers to get loaded, because they want that reputation, of being the Best, the Most Fun place on the beach.

I like to go there to watch people. They don’t care if you watch them, most of the younger set will ignore you if you are over forty anyway. They like showing off, if they can shock you, or disgust you, so much the better.

Here is what I saw yesterday.

I saw people of all ages. It’s not just the younger set that goes, although they are in the majority. I saw two girls up on a high stage, dancing in bikinis to the canned dance hip hop that plays until the live music starts. The dancing was, uh, suggestive. Jane Austen would not approve.

There were women in bikinis who should not have been. Enough said.

There was a group of older women (even older than me), who were “booth dancing” which was amusing, to watch seventy-somethings getting into the hip hop, with shoulder bumps and wild hand motions.

There was the inevitable white-haired guy next to me, trying to put the moves on a cute bartender.

There were hundreds of young girls in skimpy clothes. Because the weather was perfect, the little teenie weenies were all donned. No cover-ups required. The men wore, for the most part, long baggy cottony short type things. I guess Speedos are out. It becomes the norm for girls to wear less, while the guys wear more.

I saw a lot of tattoos, and mostly they were of the blue-ink variety. I wonder why they don’t at least pick a more colorful way to deface their bodies? Those blue tattoos are just ugly, I really don’t get it. I am not a fan of tattoos. I’ve never been able to figure out why people think they look good.

I don’t understand the younger set anymore. It becomes clearer and clearer to me, why I write the kind of books I do. I want things to be the way they were, not the way they are. I’ve turned into what I said I wouldn’t turn into.

I don’t care. Tattoos are still nasty.

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