Passover is on the way and we’re shopping for “different” foods. The supermarket shelves are loaded with goodies and many of the items are hard to ignore. Who would walk past a skyscraper stack of chocolate covered macaroons (ugh) and not buy them? We picked and chose carefully as we cruised down the aisles so as not to put too big a strain on the overdraft but our resolve gave in as we came to the selection of gefilte fish, a long time favorite in this household.
“Hmm, look at those big bottles,” said my wife, the chief shopper.
“12 pieces per bottle,” said I, reading the label. “How’s the price?”
“22 shekels. That’s pretty good.”
“Take two,” I say, and we load the heavy bottles into the trolley.
This is only the third time we have bought the gefilte fish: up to now this traditional Ashkenazi dish has always been home-made, but age combined with the small retirement home kitchen has brought about changes and the truth is that the ready-made is really good. So we ignore the guilty Ashkenazi feelings and buy our gefilte fish. Each ball will still be served with a roundel of carrot perched on the top and we eat the fish with the same red chrain.
At home we unpack our purchases and look for storage space until the big day arrives. It is then that we notice the expiry date on the bottles – 9 October 2017 at 16:07!
Look at it this way: If the gefilte fish maker is confident that his fish will still be edible in October 2017, we will do everything in our power to make sure that we will be here to eat it. Thank you for your optimism, gefilte fish.
It was the mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell that wrote the above title for an essay. He was pushing a theory that everyone should work less. I am using it to illustrate one of the dangers of living in a retirement home – and enjoying it.
After a lifetime of working, running around to get things done, worrying about minutiae and generally being a competitor in the daily rat race, I am finding an alternative. Life in the retirement home is different. I have often heard this from friends who moved to the new lifestyle and I used to wonder how different life can be. Now I’m finding out and starting to worry that I am treading a dangerous path.
I never have to leave here, in fact if it wasn’t for odd forays to the supermarket or to the bank… and even those can be avoided. There is a mini-market here in the building. This involves an elevator trip of 3 floors and maybe pushing a small trolley back to the apartment. The bank comes here once a week, enough for my needs (again the elevator), and I can examine my overdraft on the spot. The gym is here, complete with instructor and muscle-making machines, the art group is here. The pool is under my balcony and there’s the library next door. I am force-fed culture at the 6:30 lecture every evening and I don’t have to go outside to find a synagogue. There’s even a movie once a week.
As far as food is concerned, there is a dining room which I can choose to visit or not and which even allows me to take food up to the apartment. For company there is a coffee shop and lounge and to cap it all there is a hairdresser through that door in the corner. The nurse and doctor are in the clinic and a dentist comes around.
I can’t think of anything that’s missing but I keep wondering about the difference in lifestyles between then and now. This one is dangerous – it consists of doing almost nothing!