I have 4 work weeks left until I retire. There is something special about that number. It’s real, and it’s coming soon. I am strangely serene about this whole Outgoing process, and anyone who knows me realizes just how unusual this is.
I was sitting in LAX last week, waiting for my delayed flight, when I finished the book. I closed it, and just looked at the cover for a bit, digesting what I had just read. A woman sitting across from me asked me if I thought it was worth reading. She had bought it, but was afraid to read it after hearing the reviews. She said it was such a shame what they did to the elderly Harper Lee in publishing the manuscript, and that she would feel guilty about reading it.
I know when I am being purposely ignored, and this was it. In fact, I’ve been ignored by experts – just ask any of their ex-husbands. There I was, ready to drop over $4,000 on the spot after I got a couple of questions answered, but to the employees of this Apple Store, The Old Lady wasn’t worth the time or effort. I refused to go up and beg for help, when the result would be getting patronized by a Salesdude younger than my son.
People mean well. They just don’t always convey that sentiment properly. Now that I’m telling people about my plans to retire at the end of August, I’ve been getting a lot of comments – mostly because I’m retiring early and I’m pretty visible in my industry. The comments have ranged from the typical, to the pretty personal, to the extremely skeptical. I hear this is typical for someone who is just about to retire, but I must say some of them surprised me. I thought I’d share a few of them with you. Who knows? You may get them too, when it’s your time.
I always wondered why cartoons of artists have them squinting at their thumbs held out before an object. Now I know. I had a hard time not laughing the first time I did it, and I am happy to report I didn’t say anything snarky. I thought it, but didn’t say it. Most unlike me, and probably the result of First Day Jitters.
Taking an art class was something that was always forbidden – it was a ‘waste of time’ that would better be spent by another math class, and classified with basket weaving as impractical. I knew I would never justify it to my parents, so I didn’t try. I used to look wistfully at other students sitting on the cliff or the lagoon with a sketch pad on their knees as I rushed off to my advanced macroeconomics class. They looked so peaceful, and I was jealous. Even 30+ years out of school, I still feel a bit guilty about this.
Nothing sucks the soul right out of you like a business trip. With all the stresses jet lag, airline nightmares, weather difficulties and hotel beds pile on, I found even the smallest thing would set me off. Last year, during a particularly long NorthEast business trip, I had trouble getting the Starbucks across the street from our SoHo office to get my name even close to right. Even the right gender seemed to be impossible for them.