It has been about six weeks since I have begun my semi-retirement. I am working, part time, in a store that I worked at from 2000-2011. I have worked there in every decade from the 1970's to the present. Up until the mid 2000's it was the top store in the company. It's not on top anymore but it still is #4 in a chain of 155 stores. It used to be a feather in your cap to work there. The main office for the entire company was next door. Company officials were always in and out of there. Well I'm back there again. I still know many of the people and customers and truthfully I have enjoyed my reduced role in the workforce. I went from having to be available to work at any time of the day or night to telling the company when I am available to work. Of course I have taken a big hit in pay but I'm not complaining. I put in 43 years at the company and that was not my first job. I've been working since I was 16 and now I have trimmed back my work obligations and I am loving it.
I work with a guy named Ben. Ben and I started at this particular location (right across the street from the Mount Auburn Cemetery) around the year 2000. I was a full time employee and Ben was a new part time hire. We worked together for the next 11 years. I was transferred in 2011. Now I'm back in a reduced role as a part timer and Ben has become a full timer. Our roles have been reversed. I put up with a lot of Ben's crap back then. He's not a bad guy and is likable but will try and talk ragtime at times. Trying to introduce some little scheme to alter his schedule, but try to introduce it as somehow beneficial to you. When you're his boss you have to deal with it one way. As a part timer I can deal with the double talk differently. When he tries to talk me into staying later or not to leave early after my boss asks me if I want to cut out early. When he asks me to swap shifts or to cover for him while he cuts for an hour I simply say no. Don't get me wrong over all my years I have asked and been asked to change shifts because of some unforeseen circumstance and have done so. Things happen in peoples lives and you have to cooperate because someday you may need someone Else's help. It's nothing more than just being a good person.
Now don't get me wrong, over the years these little episodes were quite humorous. There were exchanges that made everybody laugh and it became a little game between us. A very guy like thing exchanging lines and quips to every body's amusement. One day last week it was slow and my boss asked me if I wanted to leave an hour early. I said sure. One hours pay more or less is not going to alter my lifestyle radically and besides I am semi-retired. Well Ben gets wind of this and he starts.
"You should stay and let me leave early because..." and then begins the problem or sob story. My wife this...my son that. My daughter needs a ride to, fill in the blank, _________.
We went back and forth for a bit then I asked Ben, "Are you getting enough fiber in your diet?"
"Fiber?" he said in his best indignant Haitian accent. "What do you mean fiber?"
"Well because I think you're full of shit."
The other part timer Andrew laughed. One of the ladies who works in the kitchen next door laughed, and even Ben laughed.
I left, hitting the produce department for some bananas and nectarines and headed home. Fiber is very important.
I am one week removed from vacation but it has lingered with Arlene and I, in a nice way. If you asked me about Martha's Vineyard five years ago I suppose I would have thought of it as a little summer playground for wealthy people. And it is but after going there for the first time in 2010 around this time of year I came away with a different impression. Certainly things are more expensive because everything has to come by boat but not everything here is to cater to the wealthy. There are many places that cater to the less affluent especially in the off seasons of spring and fall. There are no huge beach going crowds. There are no crowds at all. Still the more I go the more I realize that it is not a great life for the year round residents who rely on the summer tourist frenzy to make ends meet. And I certainly don't want to sound like an elitist who talks about zipping down to "the Vineyard" for a weekend here or there. The people who do that own what are sometimes laughingly called "cottages" which in reality are four bedroom, lavish homes with pools and tennis courts
and the Atlantic ocean as part of your back yard. You will only see these homes from a distance or on a satellite photo. This is where you find the President, wealthy business people and Hollywood types.
And yet I have been there a total of eight times in four years. There's an ad campaign currently being shown on television locally about Cape Cod with the tag line, "Far away close by." That's the way I feel about the island. It's and 86 mile drive, 7 miles on the ferry and all of a sudden you are in a quaint, tranquil, beautiful place. All in 2 to 3 hours, in the off season of course. It also helps that we leave early and drive in the opposite direction of everybody heading towards the Boston area. I was spending about as much time on the road just driving to work or home every day, covering 30 miles each way not just under 100, before I retired from full time.
There are still a few more pictures and clips to deal with. I printed out and album for Arlene. I may or may not do one for myself.
Here are a couple of more video's. The first is us driving around getting "lost" as we explored parts we had never seen before. The second is a combination of sunrise and sunset clips.
OK time to get on with my day.
I'm outta here.