Keeping retirement weird. Holding it from New Jersey to Brooklyn.


At a rest stop on I-80 we met our Logan Square neighbors, members of the Latin American Motorcycle Association.

“I’m going to post about not being able to pee from Fort Lee to Brooklyn,” I told Anne.

She told me I was ridiculous.

“I’m not going to write about Trump or pensions or Rahm. This is a serious problem for retirees too,” I insisted.

We are taking a road trip from Chicago to Brooklyn to Block Island to spend the last week of school summer with the kids and grandkids.

This week is one of my favorites of the year. We rent a house that looks out over the island. We cook dinners on our days that each of us is assigned. I am making pasta with little neck clams fresh from the local fishmonger.

Mornings I bike down to Payne’s for sugared donuts that are sill warm from the fryer.

In the afternoon we will go down to the dock and drink Dark and Stormies.

We will catch crabs off the pier with the grandkids and keep them live in a bucket ’til we toss them on the pier ramp, watch them race to the water,  and those walking by will join us in cheering for the winner.

When I was young I could drive to New York in one day. Now we stop outside Cleveland.

The final leg takes about six hours.

It is 20 miles from Fort Lee on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge to Brooklyn. I like taking the GWB rather than driving through New Jersey to a tunnel because the drive down the Hudson is beautiful.

“Ah, what can ever be more stately and admirable to me than mast-hemm’d Manhattan? River and sunset and scallop-edg’d waves of flood-tide? The sea-gulls oscillating their bodies, the hay-boat in the twilight, and the belated lighter?” wrote Walt Whitman in Crossing Brooklyn by Ferry.

Over the years I have learned that once you get in line for the bridge there is nowhere to stop until you get to Brooklyn.

 I stop in Paterson, New Jersey to use the facilities.

 The problem is that at my age, when I have to use the bathroom, I need to use it now.

Because arriving in New York at 4PM there is no way to stop on the Hudson Parkway, down through lower Manhattan, crossing Canal through Chinatown, crossing the Manhattan Bridge and up Flatbush.

 And that final 20 miles in rush hour takes an hour and a half.

 It ain’t poetry which is probably why Whitman never wrote about it.

4 thoughts on “Keeping retirement weird. Holding it from New Jersey to Brooklyn.

  1. My dad taught me to have a wide-mouthed jar in the car. When we drove back from the SOS in DC in 2011 we got stuck at the Holland Tunnel and drove into the gas station on the jersey side where there was quite a bathroom line. We spent about 15 minutes hopping on one foot. Have a great week Fred.

  2. We just had our traditional family get together the 1st week of Aug. We rent a house and a pontoon boat in WI for a week and the 16 of us just enjoy each other to bits. Sharing a week in summer with all the family in one house—nothing better!

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