When I retire (notice that I say ‘when’ not ‘if’1), I promise to be very considerate of working stiffs. It’s hard, nay, grueling, to work full time and stop at the store on your way home to get either something for dinner or something for tomorrow’s lunch. It’s even harder when you take public transportation and have to schlep your groceries home in your aching arms (because your backpack is full of your sweaty workout clothes) and you have to pray for a seat on the bus or train.
I promise to do my grocery shopping either mid-morning or mid-afternoon, or even late evening2, but never in the 4:30 to 6:30 after work time slot, or the precious and brief noon hour. Even if it means that I am shopping with the stay-at-home parents and their loud and sticky children, and the elderly who use the shopping cart as a walker and need help reaching the products on the higher shelves (it won’t be long before that includes me, by the way, as I already need help reaching the top shelf). I promise that I will never be that person at the deli counter who has to sample every fecking thing (which is better? the honey ham or the brown sugar ham? Gah! They are the same with a different wrapper!) before deciding that she just wants a quarter pound of the roast beef (same as last time!), while holding up a dozen hard working, tired wage slaves who just need to get a half pound of sliced turkey for their sandwiches for lunch.
I promise to ride public transportation an hour after the day shift has arrived at work3, even though it means I will be riding with the college students and the indigent. I will not take a seat from someone who will be on her feet all day standing at a check stand or serving food. Until I am unsteady on my pins I will surrender my seat to anyone who looks like they could use a break.
I will be the most considerate retiree ever. I won’t go to the post office during those same hours either. I won’t be walking my dog when the commuters are striding down the sidewalk4. You won’t catch me in the bank during those hours. I won’t be at the gym either. I’ll be there mid-day when there is no fighting over the recumbent bike. I’ll have lots of time to plan my outings, and I will take the working people into consideration when I do. I promise.
1. I intend to retire from my current job in approximately three years. I will not be old enough to collect social security, if any still exists, or my public employee retirement income (again, if any money is left in there), but I am still going to retire. And then look for a job, because how will I be able to feed myself and pay for my health care? The key is that I won’t be coming here anymore. Twenty years is enough.
2. A great time to do your grocery shopping is on Friday evening. People with social lives are out being social and the only real action at the grocery store is in the beer and wine section (or liquor section if you live in a state that allows that). Ain’t nobody in the breakfast cereal or baking aisles at that hour.
3. I ride the bus that goes to the hospital. Some years ago, in the very early hours of the morning, we pulled up to a stop downtown. Waiting at the stop was an old lady of the crazy variety. In her wheelchair. Now, don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe that everyone has the right to get on the bus – it is ‘public’ transportation after all – and that includes people who are less mobile than us fortunate ones with the full use of all of our limbs. Further, I am delighted at the variety of mechanical advancements the bus manufacturers design. Each one is better than the last! I will say, though, that it takes longer for a wheelchair to get on the bus than it does for someone walking. No big deal! So it takes longer, so what?! The only time it is an irritation is when you are trying to get to work, maybe running a little late, and you would just barely make it if it weren’t for that wheelchair rider. Sigh. Oh well. So, we pull up to the stop and the crazy old lady in the wheelchair wants to ride to the hospital. Of course she does. Never mind that it’s 6:30 in the morning and none of the clinics are open because, Hello, the workers are on the bus; she wants to go to the hospital and she has the right to get on the bus. So, the driver deploys the wheelchair device and she wheels onboard, takes a look at all of us in our scrubs and uniforms and work duds, she lets out a piercing cackle and cries aloud, “Taxpayers! Ha ha ha, taxpayers!” Yeah. Way to rub our noses in it. I promise to never do that.
4. I always, always, always, pick up after my dog. If you stepped in poop on the way to work, it wasn’t from us. I promise!