Strangers Again

4 May 2016

Dear J—

Well, it’s like this: now that we’re running gallery consists in the morning, there’s only one ground-level set of seats that provides the opposed seating conducive to conversations in the morning, and there’s strange people sitting here. Well, not strange strange, just unfamiliar, though I suppose you should expect something like that if you’re going to increase ridership; why not, right, the more the merrier and all that. Except when it’s not, right? Yeah, right. I just have to say to you G.O.Y.B.S. Get Over Your Bad Self. Strangers are just people we haven’t met yet, though perhaps the whole concept of stranger danger is clouding my thinking as well.

We proceed through stations and stops while hoping that the days pass not too quickly. This is part of the process that brings us to a finished product. Are we ready to unleash that on the unsuspecting world after all? All together now: it’s a small, fast-paced world after all …

It starts with being brave and sucking it up; we can get through this, too, can’t we?

Mike

May Way

2 May 2016

Dear J—

Well, our May calendar has come together in just about the most haphazard way possible; between client requests and other commitments, most of the time is spoken for already and I hope that I’ll have enough time to be committing to reasonable requests between now and then. 

As they say, life’s more fraught less for the thoughtless. 

I finished A Tale of Two Castles (Levine) this morning and trying to keep that straight in your muzzy head just after you’ve awoken is enough to overcome any lingering effects of sleep: I’m awake and ready to tackle things, even if I’m not actually tackling them at the moment. There are a lot of things I feel I should be doing and not nearly enough time to get it all done, though I’ll have to be able to do so. If I’m going to be the primary instructor for three days, which is longer than the entire class we gave in Jackson last year … Um, yeah.

Mike

P.S. Does this mean we’re full-circle and now that we’re proposing me as an instructor, am I where we were years ago?

Slowly Leaky

29 April 2016

Dear J—

We’re a month out from having to give the training of our lives and my bike has developed a slow leak and we have some conflicts that I can foresee starting up. Yes. Joy. I have comments and writings to respond to; I have gadgets and gizmos galore (I do!) and none of these will help me make it through unless you count … Aargh. Time marches on while I dither.

A reminder: there is some sharp piece of metal piercing my front tire approximately 180 degrees away from the stem. It’s time, I think, for a new tire and tube, as usual; with increased distance comes increased responsibility, right? At least increased maintenance. It was a bit of a rude shock to find out that the tire had completely deflated overnight but how slow the leak is has yet to be seen, as I will be trying to minimize the distance I ride on that flattened thing today. 

It’s a reminder of time’s arrow – steady as a metronome and moving in one direction only. Get your projects organized and get going, c’mon c’mon.

Mike

Ban Hammer

27 April 2016

Dear J—

You think about something that really doesn’t affect you like Tom Brady’s four-game suspension because it’s a distraction from the work at hand: is it fair or right or even correct to say that he got what was coming to him because cheaters never win even if it wasn’t cheating? Me personally, I see fault on both sides but mostly I see entities with too much money acting like children: you will respect my authority; no, not unless it’s earned; authority! 

On othe other hand you could frame it as a labor issue, and like always, labor gets the short end of the stick in an argument about management and employee. Here I’m decidedly in favor of labor instead, and not just from a disinterested outsider’s perspective. I’ve seen the way that management can drag its feet and come reluctantly to the table, grudgingly parceling out basic rights as if they were gold nuggets and audibly groaning with each concession wrung out. There are many reasons to recuse yourself from the debate, after all; find one that fits and drive on, driver.

Mike

Best Forward

26 April 2016

Dear J—

There are lots of things to be worried about, I suppose: did I do the taxes right this year, what are we going to say in Orlando (sorry, Kissimmee), when is the PO coming for the training course we’re supposed to be holding in just over a month, what if the boy grows up to be unkind, how well did they bolt together that bridge we just went over, who gets to take a nap in the afternoons and who gets to be backwards and distant?

There are lots of things to worry about and not enough hours in the day to control all of them; you do the best you can with the ones you’ve got and move on, best foot forward and narrowly able to escape until the next one moves on. When does the senior consultant in our group retire? Then all the work devolves to me and I will tell you now that I’m not nearly as familiar with it as I need to be; I could spend my days reading up on that stuff but then, panicked, I bolter and start nervously, aggressively surfing the various websites that I can instead. Mature, right?

Mike

Inbox Clutterer

25 April 2016

Dear J—

Every so often we go over to my parents house so I can help them with something: this last time it was trying to resuscitate their printer (couldn’t figure out how, although when I first got there I coudln’t even get it to turn on, so this is better I guess) and revising their taxes (I think they’re linked somehow in some kind of cloud storage – when I had amended their taxes from home, I found my changes were already running on their computer. Spooky.) but in the end our endurance is limited by what the kids will take and handle, and at the moment, that’s only a few hours. Plus we’re heading back there in a couple of weeks so we’ll see what’s cropped up then.

When I have to send stuff to myself instead of bringing a flash drive (which I should) I end up mailing myself from their inbox and with 9999+ unread in their inbox, I wonder how they know what’s important. Yet I also know how difficult it can be to sit down and sort through the scads of emails that come each day, even if most of them can be filed, just like real mail, straight into the recycling.

I finally got my inbox down to zero unread. Now to take action on the few that are left.

Mike

Cool Rain

22 April 2016

Dear J—

I dithered over whether to take my jacket this morning – I have an old Gore-Tex jacket which is fine at keeping me dry in one sense (the rain barrier works very well, thank you) but not so great in another (it’s not as breathable as it’s been advertised to be, so I always end up a bit sweaty). I made several false starts to the train station, finally turning around after the fourth U-turn and grabbing it, which I was immediately thankful for as the sky didn’t exactly open up, but things did become significantly wetter from that point forward. 

Hopefully it’s a metaphor for the day: reluctantly but inevitably coming to the correct decision.

Mike

Branching Trees

21 April 2016

Dear J—

I sat at a table yesterday for lunch at work; between the four of us, there were ten kids – ten! – which seems somewhat excessive, but there you go, at times you can’t really explain how or why or what’s going on . Well, how they go there is no mystery, I suppose; it’s just that this is how you start getting the family trees with a lot of branches and here’s how you’re related to your cousin through some more distant branch.

I’m not sure what we’re planning to do for the future. It feels like the company is positioning itself as a haven for PhD types, which is all well and good until you talk to some of these people without practical experience and … I dunno; from the perspective of someone on the other side of school (18 years out now) I can understand and sympathize with the people who rejected me for not having any practical knowledge, and I realize that I’ve learned from every job I’ve held; yes, even Worldcom. The experiences shape us at least as much as genetics and your cousin wouldn’t be who they are without the differences, remember that.

Mike

Monday Retro

19 April 2016

Dear J—

At times I wonder what good it is to be Monday night, one day down and four to go, and if the weekend was particularly busy, then if it’s meant for relaxation or what. I’m old enough that I can’t be staying up to all odd hours of the night now and expect to be turning around in time for the morning commute, not without paying for it at some point or another. It’s not right, and it shortchanged my family, whose regard I hold the highest.
I understand when work just asks and asks and asks without surcease; that’s what happens and that’s what they do. I’m less tolerant of it when it comes to family and there’s no good reason why; why demand from one should be okay but from the other is intolerable. Let’s do this. Okay or no? Depends on who’s asking, I guess, and really, it shouldn’t. You give generously of your own time at work, and why you can’t take that and make it work at home is a mystery, isn’t it?

Mike

Allergy Erps

18 April 2016

Dear J—

I’m not sure if it’s the dinner or the allergies but I’ve spent the last day or two with a leaky nose and a weird empty hollow in my stomach. It doesn’t matter if I’m riding more than before if that only means I’m eating more too, though. Maybe it’s better to be a little hungry. Yeah. Tell yourself that, keep saying it.

There are still many things to be done at work, none of which are necessarily needed for work but still, it’s one of those pro forms things you do to put in the time. Now they want us to go visit Korea which I would be delighted to do but for … Well, but for everything else in my life that’s happening. There’s a lot of not-cool things I guess. Let’s go to the … Oh, not cool. Time spent traveling for me means time that theVet can’t work and that can be significant.

The warmer weather has brought a lot of dust and pollen, I guess – I regularly see particles detaching themselves from the trees and heading straight into my eye, or small bugs to be swallowed to boost the protein in my diet, I suppose, as if the steady drip of mucus wasn’t enough. No. It’s too much to complain about; with allergy pills it’s okay and I can survive these things with reasonable grace.

Mike


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