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Retired Old Men Eating Out (R.O.M.E.O.)
Every Friday morning I drive to a different place to eat breakfast and meet with the other members of R.O.M.E.O. Usually five to seven of us. We meet at 8:30 (a respectable hour for gentlemen) and eat and talk for between 60 and 90 minutes. We talk about sports, each other and politics. Nowadays the political talk is considered aerobic exercise since it gets our blood flow racing, our hearts pumping and our arms flailing. Healthy exercise in the face of encroaching autocracy.
I must say I look forward to this time every week. The subject matter of the conversation is essentially irrelevant, the venue is irrelevant as well, but the company of the other people is essential. Sociability is an important trait and socializing is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle and R.O.M.E.O. meets and exceeds the guidelines for both. Roughly the group boasts a retired head of cardiology, a real estate investor, a retired high school history and civics teacher, a still-working professor of business, a still-working actor (and ex-athlete), a retired financial investment counselor and a still-practicing writer. Emphasis on practicing as one never gets it totally correct.
“Retired” then, is a sort of misnomer in describing the members of this group. Most of us have left our previous employers, but not all of us, and those who have are fully engaged in life and living. We have families, interests and the ongoing work of older people: staying alive. Most of my other “social” engagements are with medical personnel, professionally, which may be positive but hardly scratch the socializing itch.
When I was, by great good fortune, added to the group, I confess, I was indifferent. My sweetie urged me to go, urged me to socialize and to participate fully. Since a “happy wife is a happy life,” I went along with her suggestions. Now it would take something truly dire to make me miss a session.
The camaraderie is the main attraction and the hour or more spent with my comrades provides a positive glow that lasts nearly all the way through the week. As it wanes my anticipation for another go rises and I greet Friday morning with eagerness.
The acronym is not without meaning. Some of us were Romeos in our more sexually active days and some of us retain a fair amount of attraction to suitably aged partners even today. I’m positive this group is extending all of our lives by keeping the fires of joie de vivre burning. Long Live the R.O.M.E.O.s.