The Real Housewives of Lemon County...
Unless you are lightening fast with your TV remote or exceedingly disciplined, there is an odds on chance that you have seen The Real Housewives of Orange County/Atlanta/DC/New York/Beverly Hills.
I have, by chance, caught myself fully absorbed in the domestic train wrecks that pass for the lives of the rich and shameless, open mouthed and, frankly embarrassed, to be caught watching. You have to escape during the commercials, or you will end up watching the whole thing and basically hating yourself afterwards.
These ladies all have a few things in common: spectacular hair, spectacular breasts, and spectacular attitudes. Mostly attitude. Oh, and money, seemingly obscene amounts of the stuff.
So apart from proving that being rich does not make you happy, these programs are woefully out of date...
The world has changed, my friends.
Let's take my world as a microcosm of modern life in these United States.
Came here from somewhere else, check.
Late model boomer, check.
Had prestigious position, check.
To young to retire, check.
Not working, check.
(It seems unfair to categorize my writing as working as one of the defining features of work is that you get paid, so...)
Leading to my central point (yes, there is one, be patient), which is that the real housewives of Lemon County are all at work. They are not planning parties, bitch slapping their BFFs, stripping the luxury stores like high heeled locusts, or doing charity lunches, they are winning the bread.
The switch occurred to me as one evening I was chatting with some friends. I may have mentioned before that She-who-is-adored and I like to sail. We have a tiny sailboat, and belong to a wonderful little yacht club. That sentence sounds way more posh than the reality, but think of a cozy bar that sells great food, all at very reasonable prices, and you have the picture.
The women, a group of four teachers, meet every Friday to unload and unwind. They sit at one end of a table. The significant others, that would be us, sit at the other end of the table. We are a motley crew. All have kids out of college and working, and the youngest of us is an actual grandfather. I am currently not gainfully employed, as is one other of the team, who is retired, a third is in real estate, so technically he is not working either. There is one of the team currently employed, though in his high tech arena he is at constant risk of his contract being terminated.
With three of us helping look after elderly parents or in-laws, and heavily involved in the, lets say, more domestic, aspects of life, this can lead to some very unusual conversations. Of course being guys we talk like we have the answers to all the world's ills, and between us know everything there is to know about everything, but inevitably our conversations veer away from manly type topics…
For example, last Friday in the "how is your diet going" section of the evening (only one of the group is exempt from that one), I mentioned that I had taken up walking.
Now apart from sounding incredibly lame (pun intended), it pointed out that we were at that stage of our lives. Ambulatory necessity turned into sporting event. I had purchased special walking shoes (I know, I know, all shoes are designed for walking), orthotic inserts and a pedometer.
Oh yeah, I'm hardcore...
Anyway, after some gentle prodding from a much slimmer than me, She, I was encouraged to, you know, get off my lazy butt.
Now, don't go all-jealous on me, but I live in paradise. Southern California (the nice part), three miles from the coast, and next to some incredible beaches. My walk involves a short drive (I did mention that I live in Southern California, right? Walking to a place to walk is not really done…), to a parking lot with multi million dollar views. (Literally - postage stamp lots below the park go for about three to five million, then all you have to do is build a fifteen to twenty million home on it...)
I then bounce down the hundred or so steps to the beach, and walk about three to four miles along the hard sand of the shoreline. I try not to think about the poor people in Chicago digging themselves out of twenty feet of lake effect snow, as I walk along the beach in beautiful sunshine, but...
A big plus, I get to see extraordinary sights on a regular basis, dolphins just off the shore, pelicans practicing for an air show, and distant spumes of the California grey whales being followed by the tourist boats.
Told you, paradise...
Only negatives, inevitably some sand gets into your shoes, and the steps have to be climbed at the end to get back up. (The funicular only works at the weekends and “summer months”…)
I follow up this grueling physical regimen with a visit to my favorite Starbucks and a tall skinny vanilla latte to replenish my vital fluids and electrolytes and stuff like that.
Anyway, I'm sharing my new found exercise routine with my friends. Turns out we have all caught the walking bug. The one working guy has to squeeze it in when he can, but he lives a hop and a step from the same beach. Realtor guy’s office is even closer. Retired guy needs to catch a break from looking after his mother in law, so the ten-minute drive is no biggie for him.
This newly shared activity is getting us all excited, so we start making arrangements to meet on Thursday, for a walk and perhaps a quick lunch. As we animatedly discussed the optimal time to come across the largest number of hot mommies, a change in atmosphere is detected. There is the strange sound of silence from the working end of the table, as the women look up at us, and it dawns on me...
We have become the real housewives of Lemon County...
Dear Hub Reader
If you enjoy this hub, please check out my book,
Homo Domesticus; A Life Interrupted By Housework,
A collection of my best writings woven into a narrative on a very strange year in my life.
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