How is it that a tourist can see the same building which local people pass by every day, as something of an attraction worthy of encapsulating and embalming for posterity’s sake, with a click of the camera? What is it about the eye of the traveler which is different from the staid repetitiveness of the citizen occupying for decades, centuries, and eons long forgotten, which challenges the uniqueness of stability and contrasts it as against the unwanted forces of change?
Like tectonic shifts, mass migrations armed with Smartphones and caravans of conscious interests move about like little mini-quakes barely discernible; Europeans fly to the New World; the Americans travel to Asia, Europe and beyond; then, at the end of it all, excepting those ex-patriots who are hounded for their untaxed outlays, everyone marches home to the warmth of intimacy and familiarity, where security of the known overrides the curiosity of the unseen.
Parables abound about the unwary one who enters into the strangeness of the foreign land; most reveal the welcoming hand of courtesy, hospitality and the receptiveness of presumed brevity. Modernity defies such intercourse of comforting eyes; a seemingly abandoned piece of luggage no longer results in a frantic search for its owner, but a call to armed inspection and mechanical robots with detonation devices and close circuit monitoring to sniff out the contents of deadly emissions.
If doors can no longer welcome the weary traveler, what hope is there in mankind? It was but for the door seen uniquely, the fountain forgotten of its historical eminence, the cornerstone marked for the brief encounter with revolution, and the lost etchings down voiceless corridors where the figure of foreign accents once dominated but where now the laughter of innocence peeks down dusty pathways of trodden sights that matter to each of us.
Where is that uniqueness of a traveler’s eye, when dangers thought to lurk in airports everywhere and bus stops no longer congregate with greetings to strangers and small tidbits of conversational reminiscences dot the quietude of breaths icily frozen in the morning mist of a cold winter’s day? We have lost that capacity to welcome, that narrative of embracing, and instead have replaced it with the cynicism of modernity.
For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who is contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management because of an ongoing medical condition, the feelings felt must be likened to that modern-day traveler who re-enters his own neighborhood, and finds the suspicion and decay insinuated by strange lands to have infiltrated and invaded one’s own place of abode. For, it is the difference displayed by the medical condition which results in the treatment by coworkers, supervisors and the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, to suddenly treat the neighbor next door as a suspicious traveler hitherto unknown or unfamiliar.
When that peculiar feeling grows in ponderous weights no longer tolerable, it is time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset; for, in the end, a traveler’s perspective is no different than the Federal or Postal employee who must exit from one’s own career because the comfort of a once-familiar workplace has become a cauldron of fear and angst.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire