SANTA MONICA, Calif. – While he is under orders to isolate themselves, but Laury Bird can’t help but stick his neck out from time to time to polish the brass weather stripping around his front door.
Like all California seniors, Bird has been living in isolation for six weeks. But what make him unusual, he is doing it without a computer, a television, or a Netflix subscription.
“I used to own a TV, up to 1988,” Bird said. But binge watching led to bad habits like sleeping in. Old habits – like polishing and organizing – die hard. He got a taste for discipline and adventure in the Marine Corp during the Vietnam War.
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“It’s 50 years since I was in boot camp. That was a shock,” Bird said.
Now, his generation is facing another deadly moment in history: the COVID-19 Pandemic. It is estimated 80 percent of COVID-19 deaths are people over the age of 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
But Bird is not afraid, thanks to the part of him that will always be 17.
“The part of me that will never quite die, that part of me believes with absolute faith it will never come my way. The rational part of me knows that’s an absolute illusion…but it’s comforting.”
Spectrum News 1 first spoke to Bird for a story on micro-living. He keeps an immaculate 275 square foot room in Santa Monica. He’s obsessed with functional beauty.
“I want to tell the world that growing old and alone in a little room can be a happy ending,” Bird said.
To catch up with him now, Spectrum News 1 never stepped foot inside his home. He was filmed doing his daily two-hour cleaning ritual through a window.
“My whole lifestyle – my whole life – has actually prepared me for this,” Bird said.
Bird has an honorary granddaughter who can no longer visit. He never married. He never had kids.
It’s not clear how many Laury Birds are out there, but one national survey found one in three seniors live alone and, yes, it can be lonely.
“Of course, but I’ve always been a loner by nature.”
He does get restless, so Bird hopes you’ll forgive him for leaving his home from time to time to enjoy the sunrise from a Gelson’s parking lot and solitary walks in nature.
And please, don’t pity Laury Bird. Because back home in his little corner of the world, with a good book and an ocean breeze, Bird says these are the happiest days of his life.