Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Whew ... I'm Glad I'm Retired!

     My town of Doylestown, Pa., holds a bicycle race every year called the Bucks County Classic. It took place this past weekend. There were events for children, for women, for amateurs and professionals. One of the events this year was the Brompton Burst.

     In case you don't know, the Brompton is a folding bike made especially for people commuting to work. You can ride it to your office, or the commuter train, then fold it up into a carrying case and stash it in your closet, the trunk of your car, or wherever you want to store it.

     Brompton Burst participants are required to wear business attire. (There's a prize for best dressed.) The race has what's called a Le Mans start, which means when the race begins, everyone runs to their bike, unpacks it, sets it up, then rides five laps around town. The track is about 1.3 miles -- so the race is a little over six miles long.

Notice the tie ... and it's raining

     It's supposed to be a fun, oddball event, a warm-up for the professional bike race. But the truth is, the event just reminded me . . . I'm glad I don't have to commute anymore, whether on a Brompton bike or any other way.

     When I commuted to a job in New York City, my official hours were 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. I never minded going to work early, if I had to, because there were plenty of earlier express trains. But I hated to work late.

     The last express train left Grand Central at 6:33 p.m. And my office was a comfortable 15 minute walk to the station. But once or twice a week, work would spill over past 6 p.m. There was a meeting or I needed to make a deadline. I knew I had to leave by 6:15 to make that last express comfortably. If I left at 6:25 I could still make the train, but only if I ran most of the way.

     I still remember nervously watching the clock. If it slipped past 6:25 I knew I'd miss the express. The next train wasn't until 7:05, and it was a local that took 52 minutes instead of 39 minutes. It meant I'd be getting home almost an hour later than usual -- sometimes because a meeting went ten minutes long.

The professionals take their turn

     And I still remember the many times I'd dash out of the office at 6:22 or 6:24 and, in full business attire, swinging a fully loaded briefcase, go sprinting down Sixth Ave. and across 45th St. to make that express train. In winter it was bad enough, slipping on the rainy pavement. But summer was worse. I'd leap onto the train, elbow my way to an empty seat, and as the train pulled out of the station I'd be breathing heavily, and I'd feel the sweat dripping off my face, soaking my suit, making me feel sticky and itchy all over. 

     So like I said . . . I'm glad I'm retired!


BigScr said...

I am afraid to count up the number of hours spent commuting in my 40 years of work...along with the daily frustration of traffic, bad weather, etc. Sometimes it's hard to realize how much time I cannot recover spent commuting. Looking forward to being done with that part of the work life soon.

Barbara said...

I agree. The commute, in my case driving, no matter how well the traffic flows, is a drag. I find that in retirement if I get stuck in traffic it really doesn't bother me as much as it used to, maybe because it doesn't happen as often.

Anonymous said...

Ugh ! I agree ! My commute was 1 hour to 1.5 hours one way daily and traffic was atrocious ! Miami is not known for its public transport so there was little option but to drive, as taking public transportation was unreliable and could add an additional 45 minutes to the already onerous commute. I am SO very glad I am retired! Now I run my errands after rush hour and only locally. What a difference !


Tom Sightings said...

Absolutely. Avoiding the crowds -- whether driving or traveling any other way -- is a great benefit of retirement.

retirementreflections said...

Hi, Tom - There are so many ways in which I am incredibly grateful to be retired. This post is an excellent reminder of one of those ways. I never commuted far to work, but my husband did. That means for the 14 years before we retired, we never ate dinner on a weeknight until after 8 p.m. Seriously, I can't even imagine that now! Most nights, we try to wait until 5 pm for dinner - but some days it's much earlier than that. It's amazing to have this option!

DJan said...

I never had much of a commute in Boulder, Colorado, to my job, and there were many years when I could walk to work. I really feel for those like you who had to commute in such conditions. Yay for retirement! :-)

Retirement Confidential said...

I can so relate to this! I commuted via bus for four years. It was about an hour in the morning and 1.5 hours in the evenings. Early was never a problem for me. I'd catch the 5 a.m or 5:30 a.m. bus and did everything humanly possible to get out of there by 4 p.m., so I could be home at a reasonable time for dinner. It was all about dinner! Well, it still is, but I don't have to get up early or catch a bus anymore. I love retirement.

gigihawaii said...

I am glad I am retired. When I worked in NYC back in the 1970s, I never had a problem catching the train during the week. But, it was different on Sundays.

David @ iretiredyoung said...

I had a commuting flashback recently. My commute was a 20 minute car journey, so not too long, and I always thought it was OK. However, I recently had to do the same journey for the first time since retiring and I realized how stressful it subconsciously must have been. In my case, it wasn't the time but the heavy traffic and the high concentration levels required.

Like you, I'm glad I don't have to do it anymore.

Wisewebwoman said...

Me too! Often commuting on blocked 16 lane highways to work. I look back and am appalled at how much of my life was consumed with driving to and from something or other.And stress of getting home to children (single mom) while bosses pounded deadlines and demanded working until complete.