It’s hard to believe a year has gone by, but a hell of a lot has gone on in that year, more than I thought would, more than I thought possible, and one of the Great Truths come to visit is sometimes, life is very personal, and sometimes, it isn’t.
I had a good month, October of 2019, a very good month it was, but that was as much of real retirement as I enjoyed. In November I stayed sick, never felt really well, and in December of 2019, I went through major surgery. It took January and February of 2020 to recover from being gutted by a damn fine surgeon. By that time, March of 2020 had arrived and with it, The Time of Plague, which shockingly enough, became politized like everything else in the country.
I’m not going to address that part of 2020.
In April, I was in lockdown, drinking more than I should, eating more than was healthy for me, and writing less than I ought to have. A guy I once knew from work tracked me down, and trust me, I did not leave a trail of bread crumbs to find my way back, and he offered me a job. They needed someone to inspect some bridge work in Echols County, near Fargo, Georgia. Isolation and concrete? What’s not to love?
One thing I had not done in the six months I was retired was conflict. Construction Inspection can involve a lot of confrontation. It’s the part of the job I never liked, but not being part of management meant I was there only to point out the things that were wrong, if any, and someone else higher on the food chain got to pull the trigger.
It was good to be back in The Swamp. The red-brown water that flows like the lifeblood of the Okefenokee feels like home. The wildlife, the birds and reptiles, the wild hogs and the bears, all feel like part of the real world to me. The road was closed to traffic, and the mile it took to walk to the main road was a good trek during lunch.
It was an accident, really, but somewhere along the line, I lost my sense of professional distance, and became friends with some of the workers. I got burned doing it, trusting someone to do right who didn’t, but the day you think that connection with people isn’t worth it, you’re beginning a decline away from your own humanity.
Yeah, I did say that.
The time of Plague has taught me people close to you are important, and if they are not important, they aren’t close to you. I quit social media with that mantra. Don’t take it to mean you can’t really care about anyone who isn’t in the same area code, but if you quit social media you’ll be surprised at who never checks to see what happened to you.
Mom is good. The Four Dogs are good, too, even if Lilith Anne is getting to be a pudgy old lady.
The work near Fargo ended, and it looked like I might retire again, but then another job came up, and this gig will last another four months, maybe. In four months, I’ll have to decide to work more, or if the Time of Plague is still raging, I might have to consider or reconsider what is happening.
All in all, I had one month of retirement. A year later I still have no idea what is going to happen next, and I am perfectly happy with that.