Standing along an Interstate 99 is probably not the best place to discover that you don’t know how to waste time. Or more precisely, that with few requirements on my time in retirement, I can’t seem to relax.
I was on my way to Altoona to have breakfast with my father-in-law and because I spent too much time playing with the dogs I had to “hurry” to arrive at the agreed upon time. My normal route would wind through the countryside and take a little over an hour. On the freeway I can make it in 40 minutes.
For anyone keeping notes on whether a Vespa can handle riding on an Interstate highway — my GTS scooter ran between 65 and 70 mph the entire 48 mile trip.
Most of my professional life was chained to clock and calendar. The result — a pervasive sense of being on edge and always needing to be somewhere or doing something. After awhile that feeling is surpressed and I believe is merely fuel for uneasiness and stress. Riding the Vespa scooter, or a motorcycle, is a temporary release from those feelings; a salve for the spirit. But it does nothing for the actual situation other than highlighting a problem in the way I was conducting my life.
I had glimpses but did little about the core issue and instead focused over and over again on better management of all the things I had to do. More precise scheduling of time, better use of lists and tools, working hard to get more done through more focused attention to details, time and resources.
At the end of the day I was both master and slave with no sense of freedom. No wonder a ride on the scooter felt so liberating. For those moments on the road I forgot all of that. I regret now not doing more in my work life to disrupt that configuration.
Tom and Joe’s Diner is an Altoona diner dating back to the 1930s. Being able to meet on a weekday is preferred over the insanely busy weekends. No wait. Sit and eat.
Nice not having to check my iPhone to see when my next meeting is, always calculating time and processing talking points or issues at some level in my head while also trying to carry on a conversation. Never noticed it when I was working. Now it’s painfully apparent.
After breakfast I spent a few minutes wondering what I was going to do. What route home. Did a little wondering about life.
For over 40 years I’ve been riding past a sign labeled, “Fort Roberdeau.” I knew it was some sort of historic site related to the Revolutionary War, had often wondered why such a place was in Blair County, Pennsylvania, but never really gave it much thought or invested the time to find out.
Down a little road through the lush cornfields of northern Blair County you’ll find Fort Roberdeau. It’s not something a lot of people stumble upon. It was a fine Vespa diversion.
It seems General George Washington was having trouble supplying his troops with lead for bullets. So much so that they were taking items from civilians and melting them down for use in the war. So when lead ore was found in Sinking Valley, it was a precious commodity. So much so, that they built a fort around it to protect the miners and farmers from British Rangers and native Americans who were working to disrupt the flow of lead and food from this part of the wilderness.
It’s amazing how easy it is to ignore, or stay ignorant of the activity, places and history that’s right in your face. Was surprised to learn there are only a few forts in North America utilizing horizontal log construction. Turns out there’s only a foot or so of soil before hitting solid rock on the site. The fort was built right on top of the lead mine. So they had to pile the logs to build the fort.
So on my list right now — waste a little more time. You never know what you might learn.