Friday, May 06, 2005
It was 2:48pm on a Friday when I made the life-altering decision. It was easy. I was surprised at how easy! I double-clicked on the “Word” icon on my desktop and a blank note popped up at my command. I typed the following double-spaced:
“Effective two weeks hence, April 24th at 5:00pm, I proclaim my liberation from Orange Corp. After 730 meetings, 4,804 cups of stale coffee and a string of bosses who made the Marquis De Sade look like a hale fellow well-met, I am ready to call it quits.”
I dated it and slipped it under my bosses keyboard, near a Post-it note that said cryptically, “follow-up on new Follow-Up strategy”.
The notion of freedom was intoxicating and heady. The spring mornings leading up to the 24th felt pregnant with possibility. At work I was the Dead Man Walking, seeming alive but soon to be cut off from everyone’s consciousness. But at home I was Alive Man Waking. Instead of listening to news and pontificating on what was wrong with the world, I was listening to old Statler’s Brothers tapes and eating cinnamon toast and Captain Crunch. I even made some French Toast which I hadn’t done since sick days during high school. That last morning I drove to work it was freakishly warm and sunny. I rolled down the windows of the Mustang and sang “School’s Out For Summer” at the top of my lungs.
Though I quit Orange, I could not afford to retire completely. For the same reason adults dress up in costumes and become someone else at Halloween parties, I decided to change careers completely. I bought a pair of jean overalls I found at a surplus store and picked up some motor oil at 7-11 and smeared it all over my clothes. I let my face gain the bristly consistency of a 3-day beard. I was ready then. Ready for my interview with “Kreiger Auto Repair” in a small town off the outskirts of Columbus.
“What ‘sperience you got in car repair?” he asked gruffly after motioning to sit down on a chair that showed some of its stuffing.
“I have owned cars for nearly 20 years (I paused as I let that sink in) and I have sucessfully opened the hoods even of cars where it is tough to find the latch. I have also changed the occasional tire, put on the spare. I’ve been expert at diagnosing and correcting deficient levels of gasoline – I would say that is my specialty because few people are better at judging how much gas they have left than I.”
“You’ll need training...”
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Desperately Seeking Retirement