It was the most terrifying day of my life. I had always been hopeful that tomorrow would be a better day. On that Wednesday morning I realized that the next day would most likely not be a better day ever again.
Since my wife’s departure, many years before, my job had been the most important thing in my life. Now I would no longer be able to look forward to it for my reason to wake up. I no longer had anyone in the whole world who needed me for anything.
I wondered how other old people with no family managed to survive. Of course I knew some old people who were alone in the world. That morning I wondered how they managed not to use a box opener on their wrists. I looked forward to absolutely nothing the whole day. I had known this day would be empty, I just hadn’t known how much it would effect me. I felt the depression as I looked back on my life.
I couldn’t call my daughter and her family, because to her I was dead. I refuse to accept her life style, so she cut me off. Hell maybe I cut her off. Either way I didn’t exist to her. She had two preteen little girls. They wouldn’t recognize me if we met on the street.
I had even stopped sending them Christmas cards and presents. My daughter, the tattoo artist, made it clear that we didn’t believe in the same things. So the cards were just wrong. Her daughters never played with the toys I sent, so please send gift cards instead. I found that to be so impersonal, I refused to do it. After that I became known as Grandfather Scrooge.
After reviewing my Christmas options, I turned over and went back to sleep. Frankly it appeared to be the best of my options. I awoke two hours later and found the options the same. I crawled out of bed, because I needed to move. My old joints ached.
I went into the kitchen after my trip to the bathroom. I checked the kitchen inventory and found I had bran cereal, but no fresh milk. I had a half pot of yesterday’s coffee. Since I found it only a little strong when reheated in the microwave, I put a cup inside the oven to revolve.
I found the remains of a half. of a half dozen bran muffins. I counted them at one hundred and fifty calories each, so I set two aside for breakfast. I used the news paper from the day before as a place mat to catch the crumbs from my muffins.
The local paper had to be good for something, it had chosen to ignore any national news. Small town news was a joke, so except for the local grocery store advertisements, I felt it was a waste of money. Which was why I got my local news and place matts from the neighbors day old newspaper.
Since I had spent the last month getting ready for retirement, I had nothing to do on that first day. I had spent two days with the social security paper work. The young girl with the pierced nose swore that I was good. I chose to believe that I would receive the check, only after I got a real live adult human to review the application.
Nonetheless I removed myself from the office of the teenybopper who said, “Just go on line for verification.” She didn’t add anything, but she did look like I was an idiot.
I had my equally small pension from the company where I had worked for over twenty years to look forward to using. They also helped me accumulate a small 401k savings account. I would be able to live, however the trip to Paris I had rescheduled until I found a thirty year old companion.
The title of the local article I covered in muffin crumbs was: Local man builds electric scooter. Since I had brought a company truck home for years, I had an interest in the scooter. I had been considering a motor scooter for some time. My home was a small house within five blocks of the center of town. The gasoline motor scooter seemed adequate for my needs. I had never thought of an electric scooter.
I read the article since I had never heard an electric scooter. The article touted the benefits of the slower pace of life. That struck a cord with me, since I obviously was headed in that direction. I read the complete article, but like all the other local stories, I found it grossly lacking in real details.
I went from a day with no plans at all, to one filled with possibilities. I found an article on he net. It explained how to quickly and easily build Electric Bikes and Scooters. It appeared easier to build an E Bike than I expected. The drive system was no more than switching out the front wheel on a standard bike for a wheel with an electric motor built in. It was less expensive than I had expected, which was a nice plus. With a little care the major components were more reliable than a gasoline drive bike.
The down sides were significant. The first was the cost of the new generation of batteries. The second was the results of even a small accident on the E Bike. Frankly the gasoline scooters were probably worse.
I gave up the research when I stopped for lunch. I had no intention of going back to the research after my last muffin. The article in the local paper stared me in the face once again. I could help but rethink what I had learned while reading the articles on E Bikes and scooters. Since making it had been easy while doing my research, there was fresh coffee in the pot. I gave it some though once again.
It was true that I no longer practiced the mechanical skills I had learned as a teenager. Even so I felt I was still capable of basic mechanics. I still knew how things worked. The best thing about the project was that it would keep my mind active. At least that was my hope.
It took two days for me to decide to do it, but then I dived right into it. I caught a bus to the Walmart store where I bought a hundred dollar girls 24” bike. While they put it together, I did some grocery shopping. I had three double bags hanging on the handle bars while I rode the ten blocks home.