Monthly Archives: October 2018

Jangled on a Train

Final Book CoverThis blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, 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, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

Train Station 1I arrived some months ago at the San Diego train station ready to board an Amtrak Southern Coaster to travel up the coast of California on my way to my cousin’s house. I had not taken the train in years, and I was pretty excited about the whole thing.

I explained to the ticket clerk that I had just flown into the airport, and my ears were clogged from the landing, so I probably wouldn’t be able to hear the public announcement to board the train. She directed me to the handicapped section where an attendant personally retrieves those waiting there and accompanies them to the train.

When the time came, I walked next to a passenger in his motorized wheelchair who told me he took the train often. We were seated in a special car just for handicapped people.

Train 3

Much of my ride was spent multitasking–conducting business on my cell phone while looking out the window at the vista as it flashed by. The combination of my clogged ears, the clickety-clack of the train wheels, and the periodic poor phone reception made it difficult to converse.

Apparently, my voice was getting progressively louder unbeknownst to me. Suddenly, a hand appeared from nowhere and dropped a note onto the fold-down table in front of me which held all my business correspondence. It read: Seriously? (double underlined) Quiet!! Do we all “have to” listen to your conversation? Sh-sh-sh! Thank you

Oops, I had offended someone, although I didn’t realize that because one is handicapped one requires exceptional quiet. Nevertheless, I turned around to identify my assailant, and assumed it must be the woman sitting two rows behind me who was hiding behind a seatback.

Train 2I stated in a raised voice, “I  apologize if I offended you, but you are always welcome to change your seat.”  She did not respond.

I continued my phone conversation, but did ratchet it down several notches. A short while later, my assailant passed by holding a professionally printed sign which she held up briefly in front of me.  It said something like: Be quiet, this is a handicapped car. She then made her way further down the car and showed it to other perceived offenders.

I thought to myself, what a poor soul, and said to her as she trailed past, “I’m so sorry that I disturbed you.”  Her response: “I don’t care!”

Yes, it made me feel like shouting a retort at her back is she continued down the aisle.  I stopped myself realizing that this woman had enough aggravation in her life, and I could be charitable and not add to it.

If you are spending your brief time on this earth trying to modify the behavior of others to make yourself more comfortable, it won’t work. Focus your efforts on modifying your own behavior. In this case, the woman could have simply inserted noise-control earplugs or earbuds attached to a music device.

If you are impacted by someone like the aforementioned passenger, remember to be charitable and understanding of their quirks. After all, your life is probably so much fuller than theirs, and I bet you have a few quirks of your own.

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Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

 

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Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, senior citizens, seniors, successful aging, wellness

What’s in the Stroller?

Final Book CoverThis blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, 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, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

CHITCHAT:  I will be giving free public lectures on the following dates, times, and locations:

October 16, 2018, 1:00pm, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” The Holmstad Retirement Community, 700 W. Fabyan Pkwy, Batavia, IL 60510, (630) 239-1133, www.theholmstad.org  (RSVP REQUIRED)

October 17, 2018, 10:30am, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” Windsor Park Retirement Community, 124 Windsor Park Dr, Carol Stream, IL 60188, (331) 218-3637, www.windsorparkillinois.org (RSVP REQUIRED)

October 19, 2018, 10:30am, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” Covenant Village of Northbrook, 2625 Techny Rd, Northbrook, IL 60062, (224) 412-8421, www.covenantnorthbrook.org (RSVP REQUIRED)

Now, on to my blog:

Toy Dog in StrollerI was sitting on a metro train a few weeks ago  next to a woman with a Chihuahua in her lap. She kept stroking it and talking to it.  The lady seemed a bit deranged. She had a knitted cap pulled over her hair, no teeth, and her clothing seemed mismatched.  Parked in front of her was a baby stroller with a second Chihuahua in it.  I’m sure both dogs occupied the stroller together when the woman was out and about on her daily routine.

Periodically, the dog owner attempted to make eye contact with people nearby as she chatted about her dogs.  Most just ignored her or averted their gaze. A mother with a young child held it close to her, protectively, lest the child catch anything the woman might transmit such as a compromised mental state.

Over about a ten-minute period as I watched from my perch while trying not to be obvious about it, the owner pulled out a plush toy from the stroller, which she snuggled against the face of first one of the dogs and then the other. She also pulled out food, and broke off little pieces which she fed to the dogs, occasionally popping a morsel into her own mouth.

After observing her for quite a while, I said “you certainly take very good care of your dogs.” Starved for conversation, she immediately began discussing the dogs with me. We chatted for the rest of the ride, about five minutes, on the subject of how much joy the dogs have brought to her life.

I looked at the dog on her lap and addressed it by the name she had called it: Mister.  Mister immediately jumped into my lap and hunkered down. His owner was delighted, and loved sharing one of her most precious possessions with me as I scratched Mister behind his ears.

When I departed the train, I again complemented my seat companion on what a good and caring owner she was.  She beamed a beautiful, toothless smile at me.

Can we be willing to reach out to others who are not so cool, not so trendy, maybe a little socially offensive? Can we take that moment to connect with another fragile human being, toothless or not, smartly dressed or not? That encounter did as much for me as it did for her.

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Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

Photo credit: DocChewbacca on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA

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Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, senior citizen, seniors, successful aging, wellness