Nowhere Man

As I’ve recently mentioned on this blog, I officially retired eight weeks ago. When I turned 60 three months ago, I became eligible for 71.5% (who determined that figure?) of my late wife’s Social Security benefits, and while that wasn’t a fortune, I found that it was a comfortable enough figure to live on. So I took the closest ramp off the rat race, and here I am.

Until she discovered that I’d make it okay on my own, my grown daughter was dead set against the idea. She was convinced that I should hold out until age 62 so that I could get more money for retirement. But for me, it wasn’t completely about the money.

After having been laid off from the best job I’d ever had, I’d been forced to take a job at a convenience store. After a year of working there, I thought it would get easier. But frankly, it only made me more disgusted with life. Everything I’d ever hated about jobs — condescending bosses, annoying co-workers, concern about things that didn’t matter — came to bear on this job. Even emptying the trash made me shudder, and not just for the obvious reasons. I would find things such as half-eaten pizzas or half-used cartons of beer (with six unopened bottles, just thrown away) and think, How can people waste this stuff so nonchalantly?

Sadly, I’ve never been much of a people person to start with, but this job only emphasized that fact, to my despair. As with many Americans, there were many days when it was all I could do to pull myself out of bed just to go to the job. So, as I say, when a window of opportunity presented itself, I jumped right through it.

The funny thing is, I used to think it was just me who felt this way. Plenty of people dislike their jobs, but not to the point of wanting to avoid mankind altogether. Or so I thought. But lately, I’ve found some evidence on the Internet that lots of folks are tired of having to deal with their fellow man (or woman).

Mark Evanier, a very entertaining blogger and one of my favorites, recently wrote this column about how he has enough means and material goods that he is quite happy not having to negotiate the outside world. And on Twitter, there’s an account named Fact (@Fact) that daily espouses either some fact or some random philosophy about life. On July 2, they posted this gem: “Most people aren’t actually anti-social. They choose to be alone because they hate spending time with stupid people.”

Sadly, it’s not an absurd philosophy these days. I get all of my news from my computer nowadays. When you go to the news and read about insurrections against our Capitol, or how politicians who were supposedly elected to serve their constituents do nothing but fill their own coffers, staying squirreled away in your little room suddenly doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.

Let me know what your feelings are on this subject. In the meantime, I’m off to my patio to smoke a cigar.


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