#70 In Roads-Retiree


It’s pouring down rain so I decide to take an adventure and plan a trip on public transportation. Right away I find myself in hot water because I didn’t do my homework. Being ignorant of the system, and thinking a ticket could be purchased onboard, I’m on the train without a pass. Needless to say, I’m pretty freaked out after I learn from a fellow passenger that the fine is $80 if you get busted. My new buddy, Dave, who is visiting with a lady from Nigeria, offers to help me navigate the system and I’m grateful for the help.

Dave will be 65 in a couple of months and he’s a bit frustrated with life. He relocated from Washington to Portland after retiring from his 32-year stint with the Teamsters as a cemetery worker. He decided to move to be near his daughter, grandchildren and great grandchildren but they all seem to be too busy to spend any time with him. He left several other children and extended family to be near this part of his tribe and he feels neglected.

“I don’t know about you, but the greatest fear I have is that something will happen and no one will come to see me, so I moved here. Now, they still don’t come to see me. I did visit with them for Father’s day but that’s been it. I think I’ll move back to Washington,” he says.

For today, he’s planned a day around free music downtown, meeting a friend at a bookstore, and swinging by a favorite music store that often has a musician playing out front. He brags about having no electronics. Life without Internet or a cell phone is something he waves his hands at. “You just don’t need all that crap,” he declares as he peers over my shoulder, checking out my phone’s map as we try to figure out where we are.

We discuss motorcycles and he tells a great story about one drunken night that has me cracking up. Apparently my new friend’s only biking experience involves crawling onto the back of some stranger’s bike after a night of heavy drinking at a bar. He says it was the most terrifying ride of his life. “After that, I was just so grateful to have survived, I’ve never been on a motorcycle since.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here