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Retirement Journal: The Time Has Come, Today

After 45 years of working for a living, I hung out the “Gone Fishin’” sign. On the evening of my first day of retirement, a good old friend, still working (his problem), texted me:

            How’d it go?


            What was different?

After some contemplation:

                        My relationship to time.

            How so?

It was an unusually warm afternoon for the first week in February, in the suburbs just north of New York City — temperature in the low 50s. A fine day for a hike. So, I consulted a retirement gift, the book Walkable Westchester (County, where I live). A nature preserve I had never been to was a 15-minute drive away in an area I sort of knew, but not really. A spontaneous adventure! What better way to greet retirement! Excited to explore a new place, I hopped in the car and sallied forth. 

For most of the drive I was distracted, contemplating how, on the return trip, to sally fifth. Then, at the only-3-minutes-more-to-go mark, where I needed to take a final turn, up a longish incline leading to the preserve, blue-and-red flashing lights stopped me. Along with the cops who typically accompany such lights.

“The road’s closed.”

Construction. I could read the signs. Hmm. Eyebrows furrowed, with a glint of perturbation (which I might have acknowledged as annoyance had I not had the luxury of retirement to revel in the added syllable), I asked, “How do I get to the Taxter Ridge nature preserve? … Officer … Sir?” adding some lost elderly person forlornness for effect and to hopefully mask the restrained sarcasm, a holdover from my anti-Pig youth.

“Take this to 119, make a right, go a few miles to Taxter Road, and make another right.”

I held my gaze, blank-eyed, cogitating, slowly, a prerogative of my senior citizenship and new-found station as a retiree. And to stick it to the Man (heh-heh), now getting riled up by the foggy old fogey, traffic backing up, horns about to blow.

It’ll take me an extra 10 minutes at least and I’m not sure where to find Taxter Road coming from this other direction. Fuck! I thought to myself. But here’s the thing: It was not FUCK! as it might have been had I not been retired and stressed out about being somewhere. And it certainly wasn’t FUCK-FUCK-FUCK! since I wasn’t late for anything.

I put on my blinker, pulled out cautiously, maybe too cautiously, even proudly herky-jerkily as befits a person in my new-fangled position (retiree? retiree!), and took the long way around. The early afternoon sun and low 50s temperature weren’t going anywhere, either, in the next ten minutes.

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About The Author
Jeff Fuerst
Jeff Fuerst
Jeffrey B. Fuerst pays his bills by writing and editing fiction stories, nonfiction books, plays, and poems for children, and once in a while still, humor articles for adults. He attributes his misanthropic world view to having spent the first month of his life in an incubator despite not being born premature. When he is not railing against the universe, Jeff can usually be found among the hoi polloi, taking umbrage. https://twitter.com/BlaneJeffrey
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