Over Confident

Dear J-

I have a million reasons to be confident, it’s sure, but also several not to be. While backing into a space — hot-dogging maneuver, to be sure — I scraped my driver’s side rear view mirror on someone else’s car, and now, justifiably, I need to pay. Smart, right? And just after switching insurance to this company, too. Galling. Lesson learned, just like swiping my train pass every ride: don’t try to squeeze into that parking space if you don’t think you’ll fit. I just wish it wasn’t so expensive, all these lessons. We could use that money for other (fun?) things, or ways to kill time in more satisfactory ways. There’s a bunch of smart people getting ready to think hard and predict what I’m going to do next, which is withdraw into a shell and rock back and forth. Or not.

It’s tempting, I’m sure: give up on this business of TRYING. Well, I’m not doing anything ever again. Is that how I want it to be? I guess … not. No. I know no. I’ll paraphrase the aphorism* badly as “if you’re not in trouble, you’re not trying hard enough.” If you’re done learning then you’re done. Is that right? Oh, you bet. Accidents happen and they shouldn’t affect your sense of self-worth. Shaky confidence? Get back on the horse/bicycle/wagon and try again. There’s no shame in trying, only in the giving up. Okay. Hokey metaphors aside, I think I’m ready to tackle the day. I have hours to gather and work to check and nothing’s going to stand in my way.

I push around numbers on a spreadsheet all day and when they make enough sense, I send them on to be checked over and with enough luck, published on into some report somewhere sometime where a client will either agree or disagree and we all move on with our lives. Wow. Is that ever the wrong attitude. Point is I’m in control of so much of my waking day and when I get back, that transitional ride back home on the train should serve to steel me for the few hours of service (pick up, feed, watch the kids, get them ready for bed, provide some more waiting services — here’s a drink of water, let’s go to the bathroom one last time — and encourage the wild things down to lie still for some hours’ rest) I have before the day becomes mine again. It’s hard to separate that control at times, and maybe I should re-enumerate my blessings: family, children, wife, home, job, learning, writing, photograph, sketching, health,


* “The easiest way to not make mistakes is by not doing anything.”

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