The Early Bird Special

We're practicing being senior citizens on this tour. It isn't hard to get the hang of things, as in France we're surrounded by retirees.

In the US we're already off to a great start by joining Costco and AARP. Yes, Eric and I are now card-carrying members of the Retired People's association! You only have to be 50 and with the card you get 25% off car rentals. Costco takes care of that pesky "additional driver" fee that at $4 a day starts to add up after a couple of weeks.

It's great to pretend to be retired because the truth is neither of us will ever have the option of kicking back and enjoying the fruits of our labors - we're going to be working in some capacity until the day we die.

So this tour is good practice for that. We're in a rental car that would suit Tony and Carmella Soprano - it's roomy enough to hold all our gear but several hundred dollars cheaper than a minivan or SUV. And it is class with a capital K. Our next goal is to find outfits worthy of this behemoth.

If there are still any venture capitalists left out there, here's an idea: hipster retirement homes. The Woodstock generation are going to be needing assisted living sometime in the not too distant future and it's not hard to imagine CSNY being piped through the lobby and elevator speakers in one of these places. Lots of vegan options in the dining room and Blow Up and Medium Cool showing in the activities room at 9 PM.

The thing is, we're staying in a traditional one of these places this weekend. My dad and his wife live in a very nice apartment in a senior complex. For four days and nights, we'll be kicking back with bridge and canasta, dodging walkers and mobility scooters in the halls and making nice with the neighbors who are still lucid enough to converse.

And maybe, just maybe, we'll try out our future potential career as entertainers on the retirement home circuit ("Remember that Ramones concert back in nineteen hundred and seventy six? These young people today, they don't know what music is. People had talent, back then!") After all, we've got to check that the equipment's working okay. It'll probably be one of the rare times in America that no one tells Eric to turn his guitar down.