If you’re tuning in on Thursday night, you’d be forgiven for expecting to see this week’s top three list of grievances. In the interest of credit where it’s due, or at least a demonstration that I’m not always in a foul and surly mood, I really have nothing to say on that topic tonight.
It’s been a surprisingly non-annoying week.
I’m just going to assume that’s because it’s a short work week leading into a three-day holiday weekend… to be followed by another short week and long weekend combination. Turns out my mood directly correlates to the ratio of work versus free time. Who would have guessed, right?
I’m going to take it as a (surely temporary) win. I have very little doubt that about the time I hit “publish” on this post, the universe will chuckle, and send flocks of stupid to cross my path. Something about needing everything to be in balance, or whatever.
If anyone needs me, I’ll be over here enjoying a bit of peace and general satisfaction before it goes inevitably sideways.
So, something cool just happened. Well, I guess it’s something cool if you enjoy blogging, facts and figures, and establishing order out of chaos.
A few minutes ago I hit “post” on the last of the archive material I was bringing over from my long-defunct and anonymous alternate blog site. For the first time ever every single post I’ve made now resides on WordPress right here at http://www.jeffreytharp.com. That’s 2,774 posts stretching back all the way through 2006 and the early days when MySpace was considered a legitimate blog hosting alternative.
I’m not even going to guess at the word count or the number of hours that have poured into this little endeavor of mine. Both of those factoids would fall into the “interesting but irrelevant” category for the moment. Instead, I think I’ll just fix a bit of a drink, sit back, and be pleased that I’ve done a thing.
1. Of your peers. The laws of the United States are designed to make it at least marginally difficult to arbitrarily throw people in prison. We’re entitled to have our case tried not just before a judge, but also a jury of our peers. This week I kept my part of the civic compact by serving as a member of the county’s jury pool. I got a chance this week to see a cross section of the group whop could be called upon to serve as “peers” should I ever find myself accused. That’s the moment my faith in the judicial system was rattled. A few of our number seemed to have at least a partial clue about what was going on, but many more looked vaguely confused and distressed by the whole process. A few more were sleeping and I’m fairly sure at least one was a tweaker who showed up just to get his $20. I’ve never had copious amounts of faith in “the people” as a group… but after seeing them in person, I think I’ll be taking my chances with a judge.
2. Shock and alarm. Most of my day-to-day work is routine. Read this. Assess that. File a report on some other thing. Given the right knowledge base and a bit of critical thinking it’s not all that hard to do – and even when I get something badly wrong the collateral damage is fairly limited. There are, from time to time, some projects that I work on that could end in profound leadership embarrassment in the face of the community, our business partners, and our own workforce if they aren’t run exactly right. I can promise you that when I’ve been beating the drum that things are trending off track for months now I won’t be a bit embarrassed when they come sliding fully off the rails. I have an ass-covering paper trail that will mostly protect me when someone in the wheelhouse finally has their moment of shock and alarm.
3. Writing. I haven’t stopped writing, but at last count I have six works in progress sitting on my desktop and I’m not in love with any of them. They feel like an exercise in writing something just to keep writing. Wherever the muse resides it’s currently not near my desk and that’s something of a shame because I really want to be good at this craft. If I can’t be good, I’d at least like to be good enough… but every time I double click on one of those files and try to find the next few hundred words the struggle is very, very real. I never thought I’d miss a case of run of the mill writer’s block, but I’d talk that all day every day over ideas that are just plain bad.
There is something unquestionably satisfying about working with your hands. Given the long weekend and the distinct lack of classes at the moment, I was able to take on a bit project I’ve wanted to do for the last few months. For my first attempt at doing tile work, it turned out much better than I expected… and only involved four trips to Lowe’s in the last three days.
There really isn’t anything I feel compelled to bitch and complain about at the moment… or more specifically nothing I feel compelled to bitch and complain about with the world as an audience.
All things considered, I’m finding myself remarkably well satisfied. One fairly significant loose end I am working to tie up on the personal side of things, but work is settling into a (somewhat intense) routine and everything else is falling into place. Everything isn’t what I anticipated, but it seems to be alright.
I’ve never been good at simply being satisfied with things. Even on the best of days, there was some improvement that could be made at the margins. Some people would call that being a pessimist. I prefer to think of it as being a realist, but that’s really just a matter of personal preference.
What do you do when it seems most of the things you wanted have started falling into place? Of course I’m good basking in the glow of things accomplished… for a while… Ultimately, thought, I want to know what’s next. Where’s the next challenge? This one isn’t even behind me yet, but my attention has moved elsewhere. I have a sneaking suspicion that things are not going to unfold exactly as I had them planned out. Not necessarily better, not necessarily worse, just different. I’m not usually alright with that, but perhaps in this case I’ll make an exception.