Tuesday, September 1, 2015

AN AMERICAN WARRIOR.....comes home....Hal says so long ISIS and we say "WELCOME HOME HAL

Subject: Retirement from Life in the Shadows
Retirement is a dirty word if you've been an adrenaline junkie from your late teens and onward into your 60s. It's a scary word, too.

For more years than I care to count, I've lived through, and done things, that most people only dream about or live through vicariously via books, movies or tv. Interspersed with years as an efficient civil servant (nice way of saying "cop", isn't it?), I've been afforded many opportunities to use some natural talent, enhanced by training and experience, to resolve issues (well, that's what the powers that be said we were doing). Except for training, preparation and paperwork, everything was done outside the borders of this country as required by law.

The first day as being officially listed as retired was wonderful. For the first time in years, I'd slept the sleep of a man who knew that no one would be sneaking up on him and the phone was going to ring with a wake up alert. I slept until I was ready to get out of bed to address my blank schedule for the day...all the way to 0700!

I made a leisurely cup of coffee and a light breakfast and slowly ate while thoroughly reading the morning newspaper. That was a morning trifecta I could barely recall having accomplished uninterrupted few times in those many years. Previously, all three were usually only partially accomplished on the run except on occasional, and rare, down times.

The remainder of the day went just as easy and well. I even managed to avoid getting into arguments with my wife, neighbors and other innocent bystanders.

I avoided taking a nap. Didn't need one and, having been inactive the vast majority of the day, I didn't want anything to interfere with a chance for another relaxing night's sleep.

Even after avoiding the evening news, I felt the urge to see what was on TV for the evening. The words drivel and crap come to mind.

Dumb sitcoms, cop shows with fantastic plots that were viewer solvable by the second of the nearly never ending group of commercials, sports programming that was about as interesting as watching goats ponder life and movies I wouldn't watch at a theater and weren't likely to watch at home. I skipped past the movies I'd seen a hundred times since they were first runs in the theater when I was teenager.

I went outside to sit in the cool of the evening and watched the local electric company arrange for a meeting between the local flying pests and God. (Never realized how much entertainment a bug zapper could be. It was like watching little lightning strikes, especially if it was a big bug that sizzled and smoked.)

Around 2300 I crawled into bed and every attempt to sleep was like someone who had just awakened from a coma. Sleep and rest weren't something my body was requiring. I needed something to do. The fear of boredom had only taken a day to become my biggest dread.

Finally, probably around 0300, after reading and listening to some instrumental jazz, I was tired enough to go to sleep. It was no surprise to find myself repeating the previous morning's routine, but at the late hour of 1000 hours.

After breakfast, I wasted a few hours addressing the fears of boredom and not being "useful". Little doubt existed in my mind that both were a state of mind and not an actuality. Picking up the phone, I called a former employer and asked if they had any need for a retiree who could still do some work. Fortunately, they did and I made plans with my former boss to return, not in a week or two, but the next day on a part time basis.

I got up out of my recliner, feeling good about myself, and stepped over to the CD player. The song I cued up was a song performed by Jimmy Buffett, titled "The Last Mango in Paris". If you don't know it, find it and listen to it. There are several versions available, including a live version that I enjoy the most.

"The Last Mango in Paris" seems to have been my life's theme song for years, even before it was written or recorded. Now it means more to me than it used to. Like I said, if you want to understand me, listen to the song.

More later,

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