So I went to a retirement party tonight and I have to say, that is one weird experience. I'm going to take a few moments to put some stuff down in words which was floating through my head as I wandered lonely as a cup of coffee and then sat in the back to listen to the speeches.
I get the sense that the one thing that united all of us at that party was the simultaneous fantasy about what will happen at our own retirement parties. Who will be there...what will they say. As much as we are there to "celebrate" the career of the guest of honor, what we are really doing is imagining what will happen at our party. It unites us all in this sordid web of egotism and introspection. On whom have we made an impact? Who will care when we move on? What will the retirement gift be? What do you do the next morning when you wake up and life has passed you by? The sad subtext of the retirement party is that we all want to be at our own funerals and hear the communal lies and empty platitudes that others are willing to say about us so that they can get their free coffee and cake. We sit there and look at our own lives not necessarily as they are but as we think or even hope that others will see them.
So we all sat there seeing ourselves and creating these scenarios of appreciation and wishing or hoping that people will say all that neat stuff about us. And in the morning, we go back to work.