Learning the Ropes

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, available at Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

Subway Train

This is a continuation of my three previous blogs about moving from my house of forty-five years:

In my new life, I am striving to drive an automobile less often. Having previously lived in Los Angeles, California since childhood, I drove my car everywhere. Yes, there is public transportation available there, but because of that city’s greater distances and its being a commuter way of life, the majority of people drive. I’m sick of driving, of fighting rush hour traffic, and of the stress of trying not to kill myself or others as I speed along, a lone traveler leaving a carbon footprint that is shared with so many rather than a gentler impact on our stressed planet. So, yes, I’m learning to use public transportation.

I braved the local subway yesterday for the first time armed with my senior pass. Even applying for it was one of many in a very long list of new learning curves. I entered the train, positioned myself directly in front of the map on the wall, and compared it with the plans I had sketched out before beginning the undertaking. As we stopped at each station, I peeked out of the open door and read the sign to be sure I was where I thought I was. No one else was doing so. They all seemed comfortable with where they were located in space.

What a strange experience sharing a car with multitudes, most engrossed with their IT devices. I saw young professional types dressed in power suits presumably on their way to important business activities. I saw backpack wearers, some with predictable bicycles which they leaned against a railing installed for such gear. I saw mothers with their children, twosomes or threesomes engaged in chitchat, and homeless or almost homeless souls.

Mass public transportation seems to have its own protocol and mores, just like most activities. I was fascinated by a woman who entered the car wearing a spaghetti strap, camisole shirt. She seated herself, opened her purse, pulled out a small jar, and balanced it on her knee. Then, using a fingertip, she scooped out a dab of the glop it contained and applied it to one armpit, switched hands, and did the same to the other one. All this was accomplished without missing a beat of her ongoing cellphone conversation. And to think I’ve always been timid about putting on lipstick with strangers nearby.

Once I realized that it was acceptable to groom oneself on public transportation, I took out the only thing I had to compete with her: a nail file. For the rest of the trip, I gave myself a manicure sans nail polish. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t have to obey the hands-free rule of the motorist. Next time I ride the metro, I might just arrive in my pajamas tugging my daytime garb along in a rolling suitcase. I’m sure it won’t faze the other passengers as I change my clothes since most of them have their heads buried in their cell phones anyway.


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Photo credit (modified by user): <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/53255320@N07/4920904305/”>16:9clue</a> via <a href=”https://visualhunt.com”>Visual hunt</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>CC BY</a>


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5 responses to “Learning the Ropes

  1. Linda Miller

    I like to visualize where you are and
    Asked you once before. Otherwise,
    It’s a mystery. I’m also in Los
    Angeles and find the traffic deplorable
    And getting worse. Congrats to you!
    Keep up the blog but with your
    Whereabouts. Thank you.

    • I’m glad you are enjoying my blog. It is composed of my thoughts, observations, and experiences with the goal of inspiring others to confront things that are difficult for them and to move forward in their lives. I choose to keep some things private.

  2. Love the humor here 🙂
    What are you plans about acting? Would think auditions & such would need to be in Los Angeles.

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