Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode 536 Exploring

This is Retirement Talk. I'm Del Lowery.

In all capital letters written on the back of a white delivery truck - SPUD - and under that Spud.CA. Below that in script were the words: Eat, Live, Be Happy. It caught my attention. What was this? Since I like to eat, live and be happy I wanted whatever they were selling. As the side of the truck came into view a row of bright red apples rimmed the top and underneath that spelled out in script was Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery: SPUD. Followed by Sustainable, Organic Groceries Delivered to Your Home or Office.I was in Yaletown in downtown Vancouver, Canada. I was a half block from the door of our condo. I was exploring.

Sustainable produce - what is that? I guess it is just produce that can be grown locally. There is a real push on for that sort of thing the past few years. I think of that every morning when I taste the delicious juice from an orange or grapefruit. Neither can be grown anywhere nearby- not nearly local. They have to be shipped at least a thousand miles. Am I committing a high crime or misdemeanor? And that just starts my day.

As the day progresses produce is consumed that is not grown locally - mangos, bananas, pecans, and for most of the year: tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, onions, watermelon, cantaloupe, etc. etc. Here I am a vegetarian. I depend on things that require sunshine. I live a rainy part of the world. No matter, it is unconscious able to think of living without chocolate or coffee.

Should I feel guilty?  I don't. I've read all sorts of stuff that tells me that it is very wise to trade across distances for much of what we eat or consume one way or the other. It is supposedly much more environmentally efficient to grow many types of food where they grow with only an assist from mother nature: no heated buildings, no fertilizer, no chemicals. Less energy is used to just ship something across the country or ocean. I have never ran the numbers but I accept the conclusion as reasonable.

My mother and father never heard of sustainable, organic produce. They just ate what they raised on the small acreage on which we lived. We did buy some things at the local grocery store but it wasn't much. There was a lot of canning in the summer and even a barrel full of salted meat in the cellar for winter months. I guess this was sustainable, organic living without any intent.

We never thought of it as healthy living. And it wasn't. The diet was rich with sugar, cream and rich deserts. The cuts of meat were loaded not with chemicals but with marbled fat. They tasted so good. One of the reasons that played into our giving up meat for a vegetarian diet was the lack of good taste in meat. They seem to have breed out all of the delicious flavors I remember from years ago. I guess the great taste came from grass feed animals that had a substantial amount of fat. The diet was organic and sustainable, with the exception of sugar, but it certainly wasn't healthy. And all of the meals were followed by a beautiful unfiltered cigarette. It was the capstone or a fine meal. Of course my father died at age 52 of a heart attack. I've always believed the diet, the lack of exercise and cigarettes were the cause.

The Spud truck is only one of the novelties seen walking down the street. A few weeks ago a yellow cab was parked across the street from our condo and on the door in big letters was written DOG TAXI. I'm not sure of the details on this little innovative business but it fits with the times. Perhaps it will run your dog out to the swimming pool for it's weekly swim.  My neighbor just told me about his dog that goes swimming every week. When I asked if he swam in the lake or the bay he chuckled and then told me of this swimming pool just for animals. That's where his dog goes. I wonder if they have dog life guards and chlorinated water?

The Spud truck and Dog Taxi fit nicely with the three wax bars on my block. I guess you can go in and get hair removed from any part of your body. I suppose there is a reason for this but I am not clear on it. The one that is in next to the entrance in my building is named the "frilly  lilly". It list four choices: The Alaskan, The Canadian, the Hawaiian, and the Brazilian. The names are all listed under a pairs of women's panties that keep getting skimpier and skimpier.

These are some of the things I love about our days in the city. You don't have to go far to feel like an explorer. There is more novelty and more surprises waiting just around the corner. It is this daily discovery that keeps me smiling. I might not call the spud truck, the dog taxi or enter the wax bars but they certainly contribute to making life interesting. Retirement opens a whole new world for exploration. We just need to get out, open our eyes, and open our mind. Some times you don’t have to leave the neighborhood.

This is Retirement Talk.

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