It’s 9 pm. the alarm clock sounds. It is time for the Working Boomer to suit up and show up for night shift duty in security. At 10:30 pm the work night begins. It’s dark. The 5 senses; sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste are on high alert.
I walk. The weather is cold. My face burns from the wind. The school building from the outside looks secure. I check the doors. One is unlocked. I go into the school. I proceed with caution. Everything appears secure. I listen for unusual sounds. The building is clean. I smell wax. The floors have a new shine. I open a door to a closet. In it are mops and cleaning supplies. The hallways are decorated with student projects. I read. One sign says, “Check your ATTITUDE.” Another sign lists ways to SUCCEED. There is a picture of Mother Teresa smiling. I smile. I continue my check. All is clear.
I drive down a long road to my next school. My headlights are on high beams. I slow down. A deer crosses the road in front of me. Raccoon ducks back into the grass at the side of the road. A possum lies on the road. It has been hit by a vehicle. I arrive at the next school. Morris the cat is hanging out at the dumpster. Mr. Rabbit sits in his hole. I smell the smoke from fireplaces in the nearby neighborhood houses. The lights in the houses are turned off. People are asleep. I continue my walk. That building has been checked.
I return to my patrol car. I hear a helicopter overhead. It must be taking someone to a nearby trauma emergency room. I drive down the road. There sits a police officer watching everything closely. Bright lights come on behind me. A siren sounds. I pull over to let the fire truck pass. I wonder where the fire is. I start to get a little sleepy. I stop at the nearest 7-Eleven. I smell the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. I pour a cup and take a sip. It’s hot but I become more alert. I pay and leave.
I drive to the next school. It’s 1:00 am. A vehicle is parked in a dark area at the back of the school. I shine my spotlight. I see 2 people inside. I contact another security officer by Nextel telephone. I let him know that I would be getting out of my car to investigate. I approach the car on foot cautiously. I grip my flashlight. The car windows are steamed over. I feel the heat from the car engine. I look inside. Two people are in the vehicle straightening their clothing. I ask for IDs. They are over 17 years of age. I ask more questions. I explain the rules of tress passing on the property. I look around. I see nothing damaged in the area. I ask them to leave. They cooperate peacefully and drive away.
It is getting later. The dark night air is much colder. I turn up the heat in my vehicle. Dave Ramsey is on station 97.1 talk radio station. He is explaining how to become debt free and be a millionaire. I listen. My mind wanders. I think about my birthday coming up this month when I will be 62 years old which is early retirement age. I think about the thousand dollars I could draw from social security which is not enough to live on. I think about the good health care benefits that I have on my job knowing if I retired at 62 there would be no health care for me. I change the radio station to the oldies station to listen to some good music from my early years of living.
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I drive to the next building. The paper man pulls in. He sets the papers at the school door and leaves. He is another working boomer out in the night. Then the milkman and bread trucks pull onto the school grows. Their delivery is made. A semi-truck pulls in. It’s dark. He turns his truck around. He missed his turn to the warehouse down the road where he was to pick up a load to take to a grocery store. I wonder if he is alert. I think about his family. How long has it been since he has been home? How long has it been since he has had a home-cooked meal? I look across the road at the County Police Dept. and jail. I hear noises. A person is becoming verbal with the officer as he is being taken to jail.
I drive to the school bus lot. It is all secure. It is 4 am and drivers are starting to show up for their day of work. A few minutes later I look again. The school buses are now running. The buses are being pre-tripped. The bus lights are on. The lights shine brightly in the dark.
I drive to the high school and park. I roll my car window down. I hear water rushing in the sewer drain by my vehicle. I think to myself, “Why is there water running in the drain?” It has not rained for weeks. I get out of my car to check. The water is clear. A pipe must be broken. I do a check. I leave a message for a day maintenance person regarding my observation. My telephone rings. The alarm company is on the other end. They tell me there is an alarm going off at one of my other schools. I respond to that school. I investigate. There is no intruder. A motion sensor just detected something that fell off the wall. I am not afraid. I can not allow fear to overtake me. This is my job!
I report back to the main high school. The stars are twinkling but I see that the sun is about to creep out. My night shift duty is about over. I wipe my face with a cold cloth. I need to look alert. I put eye drops into my eyes to cover the red. The custodians arrive. The school building comes alive with lights turned on. It is 5:30 pm. Cars are pulling up to the entrance of the school. Parents are dropping off their children prior to going to their day job. I watch as the teen ages enter the building. I smile. They are our future.
It is 6:30 am and my shift is over. I put on my sunglasses to drive home. The light hurts my eyes. The road now is full of traffic. The day people are up and rushing off to their jobs. Everyone is in a hurry. My nighttime peace is no longer on the roads. I arrive home. I enter my apartment. I take off my heavy work boots and massage my feet. I prepare for my bedtime rest. I have seen the world through rose-colored glasses. I have seen the world with real glasses. I think of a quote by Winston Churchill: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” I SMILE. My night was a success. I maintained courage. I say a prayer. I thank God for the opportunity and strength that He has given me. I ask Him to give that same strength to others as they begin their work day.
Is is now time for Working Boomer to rest but not RETIRE. I smile again. Life is just as it is suppose to be just for day. My night was a SUCCESS. Now it is time to rest..
Robert FowlerContributing Writer
Robert Fowler is a retired blogger who lives with his wife, Mary Ann at Village at Deaton Creek, a Del Webb Community in North Georgia. Robert was previously the President of Retirement Media Inc. He has visited numerous 55+ Active Adult Communities over the years, sharing his experiences along the way with readers. View more posts