I have a friend who called me one morning about three months after her husband retired. She said, “If that man opens one more kitchen cupboard and asks me why I keep whatever is in there in that particular cupboard, I will kill him!” At the moment, I think she meant it. Having thirty-five years of reasoned and practical organization questioned by a man who can’t make scrambled eggs with less than three pans and a measuring cup is more than any woman can handle.
The anguish of living with a newly retired husband is well documented. And for those living in the suburbs, it seems to be at least partially solved. The husbands are sent off to the local Starbucks.
Several months ago I started a small self-improvement project that required about a half hour of careful thought and I found the distractions at home were just too intrusive – check my e-mail, make a cup of tea, straighten the rug by the door, put in a load of clothes…that sort of thing. So I decided to take the project to my Starbucks. No distractions, no one disturbing you, and pleasant music in the background.
I am an early riser, as are most men who have headed off to work in the AM for forty years. We all wound up at Starbucks together. Well over half of the people in my Starbucks between 7: and 9: are men between 60 and 75. I was amazed. Eventually I puzzled out that these were all retired men who had been kicked out of the house by their wives. So they head out every morning just like they have for so many years. Instead of standing around the water-cooler (do any offices still have water-coolers?) they sit in the comfy chairs and discuss ‘the game’, the weather, and their plumbing (both kinds).
As a single woman of retirement age, I felt like I had stumbled into a chocolate factory – lots of opportunity but none of it good for you. Besides, they had taken all the comfy chairs.