20130521 – Sitting and Running
Well, here I am, sitting in the customers’ waiting area while my truck, car, SUV, or whatever I’m supposed to call it, let’s call it my “vehicle”, is being serviced. Replacing a power door lock actuator and mounting an old tire on a new rim apparently involves two visits; one to diagnose the problem and order parts, and the second to have the replacement parts installed. I wonder if parts departments actually have parts in stock anymore. One Saturday morning and one weekday morning shot. Oh, well, just some ripples on the pond my friends.
On a side note, the customer waiting area here is nicely arranged, with a conversation “pit” headed by a flat screen TV on a tall and wide credenza and centered on a large elongated coffee table surrounded by about ten decent sized easy chairs, close enough for conversation but separated just enough to permit the occupant his privacy if so desired. Just around the corner is a grouping of bar-height tables and stools, alongside which can be found coffee and the popcorn machine, overflowing with fresh movie-theater popcorn at 8:30 in the morning, how cool is that (well for a popcorn lover anyway)! Behind the TV against the wall are two cubicles for customers who absolutely insist on being productive while waiting for their vehicles. This morning I find myself in one of those cubicles rather than my much preferred breakfast venue where I could be chatting with friends as well as Ernesto, Linda, and the crew.
In the meantime I can always blog a little, and dive into a new (previously owned?) book on Behaviour Analysis in Training, © 1977; formerly housed at the University Library, Golden Gate University, San Francisco, and apparently withdrawn for non-use, having been checked out once each in 1978, 1980, and 1982. Wha-a-a-t, you might ask? Yeah, sounds awfully textbookish, doesn’t it? And why am I misspelling behavior? Well it is kind of a textbook because I’m learning the secrets of valid statistical analysis for some specialized data analysis and reporting I’ll be doing for a consulting partner. Guess things haven’t changed too much in a third of a century in this arena. And the consulting partner happens to be a native of the UK, as is the acquaintance of his who wrote the book, which explains the Queen’s English spelling and grammar. I hope he doesn’t expect me to reset my Spell Checker for writing reports in a non-American English dialect.
I always enjoy learning new(?) things so I expect this to be an interesting adventure, despite that it involves post graduate studies in behavior analysis, training, and statistics. It’s only one book. The neat thing is I get to apply that knowledge immediately in my work, that’s the practical side of learning as you go. College often is hard for people; it was for me, because the application of knowledge is frequently delayed for months or years.
Unfortunately the TV in the background is distracting; Moore, Oklahoma. Heartbreaking stories, heartwarming stories, such devastation in such a short time. I don’t mind admitting I’m a man who isn’t afraid to let some emotion out; I’m just glad I’m in a cubical facing a wall so the other customers don’t see my red eyes. Most often it’s been firefighters and police officers on the front lines, demonstrating true heroism in the face of extreme danger and adversity. Yesterday it was teachers sheltering students with their bodies; like it was at Sandy Hook. Ordinary people, called to extraordinary courage in the face of inconceivable horror. What would you do, how would you respond?
Back to learning, I hope I never stop. On my deathbed, in the waning moments of my life, I want to be learning. When I graduated from MSU I must admit I was happy to be done with 16 years of school, and to be getting on with my life. That was forty years ago. It took five years after that for me to be ready for more formal education and three years more to complete my Masters degree. But since then I’ve taken continuing education classes in my chosen profession almost every year of my life. And when I wasn’t studying for my profession I was teaching myself things like home construction, electrical work, plumbing, pond design, construction and maintenance, computer programming and assembly, website programming and maintenance, starting new businesses, managing finances, and just trying to keep up with changes in information technology. And these days my learning is taking on a new perspective.
Living in the sandwich kind of forces you into learning about many different subjects; things like Medicare, health insurance, diseases of mind and body, estate planning, powers of attorney, wills and trusts. I’m learning to deal with the many challenges of aging, and of caring for aging parents. At the same time I’m learning more about what’s going on with the younger crowd, how to understand their language, how to open up more in my own communication, and how to be friends with my kids. Sometimes I find the communication uncomfortable and sometimes just plain fun, but rarely boring. Hmmm, the soup of life, or maybe soup and a sandwich? Now I’m thinking about Panera; yeah, I missed breakfast.
Sitting, distracted, but learning; always learning…
And now service guy Joe is telling me my vehicle is ready. He looked for me a few minutes ago but didn’t see my hat (I took it off) and assumed I was out getting breakfast. I guess he gave me a little extra time to get this post done. The hat seems to have become my trademark…
So I’m off and running: pharmacy, Comcast, appliance store, zoo (donating some used towels for animal care), and all before 11:45. Not a bad morning. Since I feel like I finally earned a meal, and I’m close to another favorite dining haunt, it’s time for a stop at Mr. Burger, a place I’ve frequented off and on for more than thirty years. The people are always nice, breakfast is big and served anytime (and of course as you already know, my favorite meal of the day), and it feels like home in a way. It’s a good spot for a little centering and contemplation, and to wrap up this post.
Sorry my friends that I can’t offer much in the way of words of wisdom for the day. Then again, life in the sandwich isn’t always about big ideas; sometimes, and I know I’m repeating myself, it’s just about putting one foot in front of the other.
Off and running again; oops, can’t forget the hat…