I am retired. I call it the afterlife. For most of your life you struggle and work and hurry and rush. And then it's over.
I'm now on the other side. And it's heaven.
Since I retired in August one of the most frequent questions I am asked is "what are you doing with your time?"
Interestingly, that's the same question my boss always asked me when I worked.
I tell people today the same thing I told my boss when I was working: "Oh, I'm very busy."
I have never say what I'm busy doing. I just say I'm busy.
As a retired man I could be busy around the house painting walls, cutting and installing ceiling trim, organizing the garage, cleaning the furnace room, getting all the junk out of the attic.
Or, as a retired man I could be busy napping.
I'll let you guess which one I'm busy doing. But I will tell you I used to be busy at work with the same thing I'm busy doing today.
I have found some fun ways to use my time.
I used to hate getting up early to go to work. But now I enjoy getting up early and going outside for a little drive. Every weekday I get in my car about 7:30 a.m. and drive around the streets of Lafayette and West Lafayette at 10 miles per hour, making sure to drive right down the center if there are two lanes.
When I get held up at a stoplight I take a nap and sleep right through the red and the green.
This is great fun for a retired guy like me with plenty of time on his hands. You should see how crazy the working people get when you hold them up on their morning rush like this.
This is what I do for entertainment.
Christmas is probably the most fun time to be retired and go to the stores because those of us who are no longer working have all the time in the world to get our shopping done.
The other day I was in a check out line with about 35 people behind me. I could tell they were working people. They had that desperate "I have too much to do" look on their faces.
Clerk: "Did you find everything sir?"
Me: "How nice of you to ask. Well, let's see I have about 20 things in my carts here. I found most of them okay but some of the toy shelves were a little picked over and I think it would be better if you reorganized the store so all the things I needed weren't in the very back. Also . . ."
Clerk: "Yes sir. But you found what you wanted. It was kind of a hypothetical question. People usually just say 'yes.'"
Me: "Well, I can't say yes. I didn't really find everything I wanted. You know at Christmas what we really all want is health, happiness and peace and I notice you don't sell a lot of that here."
Clerk: "Sir, the line behind you is getting a little impatient. Why don't we just get you checked out?"
Me: "Check out. You know, that's what the doctor said to me the other day when I went in for my check up. He said, 'let's get you checked out.' Have you ever had a lower leg rash? Let me tell you it's no Ho, Ho, Ho experience . . ."
Clerk: "Sir, the people behind you are all turning red."
Me: "Well, that is nice. Red is the spirit of Christmas isn't it. Did I tell you about the last time we put up a real Christmas tree and it fell over? Spilled sappy, dirty water all over the new carpet and put quite dent in the couch. My wife said . . ."
Clerk: "Can I call your wife to come and get you?"
Me: "No, she told me to get out of the house because I was driving her crazy. I don't think she's ready for me to come home just yet. She said something about coming back after New Year. She's a wonderful woman. She makes the best French Toast at Christmas made from French bread and then she . . ."
Clerk on loudspeaker: "Security to Register Three."
Me: "Is there a problem? You know when I used to work when we had a problem before we called security we always tried to settle things peacefully. I remember one time . . ."
Clerk: "Sir, you'll be glad to know there is no longer a line of people waiting behind you. It would be more accurate to call them a very angry mob and they're about to get violent. I’m calling security for your own safety."
Me: "Well, it's important that we all have a safe Christmas and reach the New Year healthy and well, isn't it. I was telling my granddaughter just the other day, 'the real meaning of Christmas is . . .'"
Clerk: "Okay, sir. I've put all your stuff through the scanner. It comes to $198.58. Would you please pay and leave. Just swipe your credit card right there, sign and we'll be done."
Me: "Of course, of course. I'm going to pay. But I'm not going to use a credit cards. Let me get my wallet out and see what I've got. Where did I put that wallet? I'm always forgetting things. Here it is in my back pocket. What do you know? I'm sure I have enough. Let me just count it out. Okay, there's one dollar, two, three, four . . . "
Clerk: "Do you have anything besides ones?"
Me: "Yes, I have several thousand pennies I'll also be using. But first I want to get rid of all this dollar bills. They're making my wallet so fat I can't I sit down right. Here we go, five, six, seven . . . You know, my grandchildren used to love it when I'd give them dollar bills. I remember one time . . ."
Frantic, frustrated, angry man behind me: "I'll pay his bill with my credit card if you'll just get him out of here right now."
That was a very generous Christmas season kind of thing for him to do! I thanked him and accepted his kind offer and went out the exit just as the riot police were rushing in the entrance.
What really impressed me about this store was that the check our clerk was such a nice, friendly young lady.
So I told myself right then and there that I really had to go back to the store the next day so I could talk with her again.
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