Posts Tagged ‘respect’

Two World Blend

16 May 2011

Dear J-

As much as I may complain about the length of some weekend days — this before we wised up and started bringing the double stroller along to give our backs and arms a break — having to go from the 1000MPH pace of a Sunday to the deliberate pace of a Monday is always a question of slamming on the brakes and hoping for the best. In a way it’s relaxing with no small beasts clinging in protest to furniture against bedtime or some chore but it’s a lonely sort of consolation. The aggravation may be high at times but so is the reward. Frustration makes me short and there’s no real reason she keeps asking me to be happy but I know it can’t be good, this image she’s already built up.

We have to bring a little bit of each world into the other; given that I can’t drag the kids to work the next best thing would be bringing some of the patience I show at work back into my life at home. The face I show at work shouldn’t have to come off as soon as I leave the site. Why should there be two people? Do I need the escape hatch to make up for biting my tongue at work? Or is it a lack of respect bred by the comfort of home? Try to reconcile the career you keep with the person you know you can be and pretend that there’s someone else watching you at all times. That’s what it comes down to: if you wouldn’t act that way in front of your mom — or someone else you respect — what makes this situation different?

Drop the pretense. Who you are is who you show and who you reflect in the eyes of those you love. The need for approval should extend to those who already like me — it doesn’t need to be a matter of winning it all the time (or perhaps I should imagine I need to do better, to win the respect). Find your way out.

Mike

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Fifty Miles

22 March 2011

Dear J-

You know how they talk about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes to gain an understanding of what they do? It’s the second day of acting like an adult — acting supervisor — and I’m ready to hand over the reins to the next warm body that walks through the door. It may just be the now-expectedly depressing visits to the doctor (every few months he calls me in and, peering over the top of his glasses, sighs and explains how my high cholesterol is dooming me to a life of coronary disease) or the feeling that I can’t even stand still for five minutes without needing to move on to the next crisis.

I’m pretty sure I’d become a pretty bad boss in time. I have a terrible time giving up any work, especially if I can see how to do it. I’d be the one hovering over your shoulder nervously, ready to step in and take over at the slightest sign of going awry. Perhaps that’s why I like the very idea of photography, as a faithful record of things you see but are generally unable to control. The really hard thing is letting go and letting things happen on their own. It’s true no one does it quite the same as you would but there’s no saying that you’re more right or wrong. Letting go is terrifying and exhilarating when you can’t get it all done, but you’re also not expected to, either. The longer I insist on grasping beyond my reach the less time I can actually hold on.

When I go to my doctor he dictates the pace and direction of the visit. Last time I went theVet berated me for forgetting to ask about my itchy ear, which was uncharacteristically moist all week. This time I managed to squeeze in a few words about my eyes and ears (allergies are bringing me low) after the long lecture on cholesterol and changing my life but those got a cursory examination compared to the thesis-level discussion of my various low density solids. Giving up power is one thing but the natural order of doctor-patient is a one-way street, and it’s abundantly clear to me that a little give on his part would make me a better patient, better able to listen to his advice.

Mike

Idle Hobby

30 May 2010

Dear J-

Marian Hossa is playing for the Stanley Cup for the third straight season; whether or not the third time’s a charm for him has yet to be seen, but he’s off to a decent start for a guy who’s played the maximum number of games three years running — no one’s questioning his legs. The only questions may be about his mercenary nature — it’s his third team in three years. If you’re also a Survivor fan, you know about the self-proclaimed greatest player ever, Russell. He calls himself that because he’s gotten to the final pool, where a jury of his peers selects the winner, two seasons in a row. To get there he scrambles and stabs and generally plays a scorched-earth game that leaves no room for sympathetic peers who’d vote for him — indeed, he was shut out of the votes this last go-round.

There’s no denying that Russell is a canny player who can outplay his peers in straight-up competition, but doing it in a way that leaves people smiling, not scowling — that’s the real trick. It’s not easy to compete at the highest level, but there’s a skillful way to do it versus blundering your way through like a rhino. It’s impossible for me to say if Marian Hossa’s teammates feel the same way — such is the nature of free agency and modern sports that you can’t exactly fault a professional athlete for seeking what works best for their professional career — but I can certainly see how they might feel betrayed if he keeps moving on year after year in his quest to finally hoist a Cup. If karma is any indication (or at least precedent) then I’d say the Flyers have a Cinderella date with destiny this year.

It’s funny that we’d even try to impose the same values we carry in life on games — television reality shows or athletic contests. There’s a whole different set of rules that govern there, and we can’t hope to understand it in a vacuum; on the other hand, trying to understand those things doesn’t make much sense, does it? Devoting an iota of time to trying to comprehend the essentially absurd is a foolish reaction, isn’t it? We all honestly have better things to do, but we also can’t be doing those things all the time — it’s why there’s going to be an audience who wants to know Marian Hossa’s motivations, who understand the significance of Ceti Alpha V, folks who care whether you shoot at f/1.4 or not.

Mike