Riding MetroNorth. In reflection.

team

Stack ‘em up and rumble. Dawn till dusk. Conference calls. One on one calls. Meetings. Emails + Texts: 175 and counting (the day isn’t over). Swinging a gas powered weed wacker. The day: A half-high-five. Many routine ground balls. No major drops. Grade? Falling forward.

I’m on the 7:15 pm MetroNorth railroad heading home.  The overhead air conditioning vent is heaven; a cool shower drying sweat from the sweltering cross-town walk.  I close my eyes. And drift back to the day’s highlight. A working lunch. I’m 7 minutes late. I apologize and sit. The team waited for me before digging into lunch.

We’re 10 minutes in.  The racing, charging, driving of the prior four hours burns off.  My heart rate slows. I’m not tapping my foot. I’m not pushing the pace. Not glancing at my watch. Not thinking ahead to the next meeting. I’m watching. And listening.  I’m actually present. [Read more...]

5:15 am. And not inspired.

Wednesday mornings are reserved for my selections of fellow bloggers’ inspiring posts of the week.  Not today. I’ve been traveling.  By air.  And I have some short stories to tell.  Sarah’s blog post title nails the theme of this post: Holy Sh*t! Airplane Manners People.  Here are the top 9 situations that I encountered in the past month:

  1. Female passenger carries on an oversize bag.  She is “caught” at the gate and asked to check bag.  She then holds up the check-in line and commences to yank stuff out of her bag in order for it to fit in the sizing container.  She is red faced and berating the check-in attendant. (Human? Animal? or Android?)
  2. Passenger is boarding.  Coffee in one hand.  Carry-on luggage in other.  Another bag over shoulder.  He dumps the entire cup of coffee on seat (not his seat) – – and keeps walking to the back of the plane to find his seat.  Makes no attempt to clean it up or advise flight attendant. (Yo Mamma share with you the old proverb? Do unto others…)
  3. Man clipping his fingernails at 35000 feet. (There are no words…) [Read more...]

Volume has risen. The imbecilic din encroaching everywhere…

birds, courtesy, respect, shut up, be quiet, decency

This article by Tim Kreider, Quiet Ones, struck a cord with me.  A few excerpts:

…it seems significant that we don’t want things to be quiet, ever, anymore. Stores and restaurants have their ubiquitous Muzak or satellite radio; bars have anywhere between 1 and 17 TVs blaring…ads and 30-second news cycles play on screens in cabs, elevators and restrooms. Even some libraries, whose professional shushers were once celebrated in cartoon and sitcom, now have music and special segregated areas designated for “quiet study,” which is what a library used to be.

…People are louder, too. They complain at length and in detail about their divorces or gallbladders a foot away from you in restaurants. A dreaded Amtrak type is the passenger who commences prattling on her cellphone the instant she sits down and doesn’t hang up until she gets to her stop, unable to bear an undistracted instant in her own company. People practice rap lyrics on the bus or the subway, barking doggerel along with their iPods as though they were alone in the shower. Respecting shared public space is becoming as quaintly archaic as tipping your hat to a lady, now that the concept of public space is as nearly extinct as hats, and ladies. [Read more...]

Just a few more seconds…that’s all I need.

He arrived late Thursday night.

He looked taller. He looked like he had filled out. It had been less than 60 days. An illusion.

We couldn’t make it to Family Weekend in September. I could sense disappointment. His roommates’ parents showed. They graciously invited him to dinner.

It was a short 4-day week at school this weekend. A trip home before Thanksgiving wasn’t in the budget. Many of his new mates on the floor had planned to head home as they lived within a few hours drive. He didn’t want to make the call. He didn’t have to say it. And he didn’t. He wanted (needed) to come home, even if it was a brief weekend stay. And he could catch up with his sister who was home on break.

Dad and Son engaged in their customary near-monosyllabic dialogue. [Read more...]

Mirror Mirror on the Wall…

I’ve been watching the debates and the bad actors in government.  I’ve concluded that I’m a master compromiser when compared to this crowd.  Then the mirror swings around and hits me on the forehead.  See the chart below.  Here’s Michael Brown’s 4-box on Compromise.   I have no idea what “TKI” and “MBTI” stand for.  Check out his full post on the theory behind it – I’ll let you hash that out with Michael and his high brow intellectual friends.  I just wanted (needed) to get to the bottom line – how do I score?  (Yes, it is always about the score.  Yes, it is.)  See the arrow pointing to my position.  (And no one was looking when I nudged the star over to the right with some elbow grease.  Hey, at least I’m not in the bottom right, right?.  Poets/Artists, save your breath.  I’m immune to the beatings on my lack of sensitivity on this topic.) 

imageI

Then coincidently (by now you know there are no coincidences on my ride), I trip into the answer…

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He’s Gone.

The countdown started on Monday.  My first day back from vacation.  Rachel is off to school.  And three days from an empty nest with Eric packing up for his freshman year.  (The short week felt like repeated bouts of getting up quickly from reading on the bed.  Disorientation.  Stabilization.  Disorientation.  Stabilization.  Grab an arm rail pal.  Get a grip.  You can’t slow down the clock.)

The Chariot was packed and ready to depart for the 11-hour journey. (No, the King doesn’t pack. The scope of his competency is narrow and deep…and some would argue not that deep.  Best for him to stay well out of the way of logistics.)

It was impossible to see out of the side windows.  Every square inch of trunk and 1/2 of the back seat was stuffed to the roof top.  Changing lanes was a roll of the dice.  Normal humans would invest in a car-top carrier, rent a van, or borrow something larger…not this Cat.  The $500 expense on top of the college tuition was the tipping point.  So, we jammed it all in and off we went.

The King was sitting in a cubby hole behind the driver’s seat.  (Oh, what delicious irony.  My first memory of Eric was driving him home from the hospital a few days after his birth.  I was driving at far less than the speed limit and slipping glances back to see that he was okay.) 

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The Last Supper.

image I was running the rough math in my head. They have been subjected to over 100,000 “course corrections” during their lifetimes.

Wash your hands. Tie your laces. Look people in the eye. Use a firm handshake. Wipe your face. Keep your voice down. Sit up. Comb your hair. Brush your teeth. Pick up your things. Put on clean clothes. Don’t yell. Get along with your Brother. Get along with your Sister. Say please. Say thank you. Say you are sorry. ENOUGH TV.  Read. Get to sleep. Go to the bathroom before we leave the house. Enough candy. Do your homework.  Plus 1000 others.  And, certainly not all of them delivered with finesse or a light touch. When you are molding a sculpture, some rough chops are necessary. And per the King’s rules, as long as the game is played within the fences and by the house rules, all is good.

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