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Rotary for a Retiree

October 28, 2009

Yesterday, I was subject to the most exotic experience. Objectively speaking, there is nothing extraordinary in a group of people sitting on plastic chairs and listening to a lecture about heart: what a heart attack is, its prevention and treatment… disturbingly interesting )

But let me tell you from the beginning.


RotaryI was looking for a Rotary club in my district. Yes, I felt an urge to do something “good”. Can’t really tell why. It might be seasonal, hormonal, or maybe I’m just getting older – who knows? The fact was that I entered their website and saw pictures of adorable people from LA, SF and other tempting places, their glorious smiles promising a lifetime spiritual adventure . Reading about the club activity, their goals and life approach has made me actually crave to try it myself.

Intriguing, promising, almost gripping.

Finding their location in my area was not a hard task, driving there after an eternal day of labour and hunger was a bit harder, but the hardest test was waiting for me on the spot.


A kaleidoscope of images of Rotary members (or covert agents?) from the website hyped the machine of my imagination, building a strong perception of the whole thing . Their marketing department did a great job. My respect! Naturally, I expected to meet people at least under the age of 80. Approaching the creamy building that seemed to look like my destination, I saw two old ladies making their way up the stairs. “Excuse me, how do I get to Rotary?” “Come with us”.

Still intriguing, somewhat promising, less gripping.

It takes a few more seconds and here we are, in a modest hall filled with partisans-of-good. A chairman is making a speech. The plot thickens as all glances are turned on me and my presence literally materializes into an echo of the steps and the light noise of a shifted chair. Heavy attention blended with unspoken bewilderment hangs in the air. And I can see why – being at least two generations younger than the great majority, their aroused curiosity is more than expected.

I was absolutely out of place, out of time, out of this alien reality. Squinting, stealthily glances pricked me occasionaly, accentuating my own feeling of irrelevance.

When the session was finally over and I was clawing my way out to gulp some fresh air, an old man sitting next to me asked whether I was a daughter of one of the members. He was barefacedly surprised to hear that I was interested to join, and muttered something about interests not peculiar to people my age. Flattering as it was, I came there for a different purpose,  after all.

Leapin’ Lizards!

It must be some sort of a waylay. I must find the Pied Piper who took them away.


Those of you, my dear readers, who happen to be members – I’m dead curious to know what is the age span in your area? Maybe I’m missing something here. Is it a “mauvais ton” for young people to take part in charity?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 29, 2009 8:20 am

    I’m really surprised to hear about your experience. I’ve never been a member of Rotary but many family and friends are and although there is a charitable component, my sense is that it is mainly used as a way for business people to network. I’ve been dragged along to a few meetings in different countries and the membership has always been solidly middle agers.

    • ostrix permalink*
      October 29, 2009 11:10 am

      Exactly. I fully agree about the networking aspect, which was one of my primary goals. The only reasonable explanation I can think of, is that people under a certain age don’t consider it cost-effective. I just can’t see why they should think that. And I’m pretty much disappointed too… ))

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