Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Solo Snowbird

Because I'm not married, one of the things I'm going to miss as I grow old is wearing identical windbreakers with my wife.

I use to scoff at that. Seeing some snowbirds dressed in exactly the same style and color windbreakers. WTF?  I mean, isn't a couple two individuals? You wear different coats, hats, scarves, shoes all your married life. Then all of a sudden, you turn seventy-five, and you're Mr. and Mrs. I'll-have-what-she's-wearing. It just seems silly. It's not like you're in the army, or in a marching band, where you're all dressed alike for a reason.

You see them in grocery stores, in department stores, in movie lobbies. They have a sort of code, a verbal shorthand that they have created over thirty or forty years of marriage to navigate the routine of the ordinary. Sometimes they communicate with a glance. The windbreaker couples. Ha!

But then.

I began to have a vision. And that vision was my world shrinking. That vision was the world I used to move about in freely and participate in no longer had a place for me. That vision was that I will be squeezed out of that world and not allowed reentry. The new world I will occupy will be some kind of compound. And I will feel vulnerable in that world.

If I were married, I would want that world to know that there are two of us. We are coming at you, a team. It would be a sort of evolutionary defense: You look at us, and, because of the single color, we blend and seem bigger and stronger than we really are, like the big "eyes" on a moth's spread wings making it look like a fearsome creature. Think before you try to do us harm.

I can't say for sure why older couples start wearing the exact same jackets. It might be a much simpler reason. They do, though. We've all seen it. But I can say this. I won't be wearing an identical windbreaker with anyone. I'll be alone in my windbreaker. And I would give a lot to look silly.


  1. Rich--
    Couldn't agree more. Every year come Rose Bowl time here in LA, you see the fans from afar walking around the tourist sites, head to toe in matching team caps, sweatshirts, and jackets (this year it was my alma mater, Michigan State, so Pasadena was a sea of green and white). I used to snicker, thinking that sort of thing ended in high school, and now I sigh wistfully that I was never so happily coupled. What did we do wrong?
    P.S. Felt the same way about "teamwork of the ordinary." Ah, Rich, you certainly haven't lost your gift for le mot juste!

  2. Thanks, Zesch. Really appreciate you taking the time to write. Made me feel good. Are you still managing to flourish in Hollywood? Don't see how you do it. Richard

    1. RG--
      The tale is much too long, not to mention private, for here. I'll get back to you via the earthlink account. Happy Valentine's Day!

    2. No more Earthlink.

  3. Thanks, Rich. BTW, I've decided to blow the entire Amazon Gift Card I got for Christmas on your "Memoir."