I once heard an expression that struck me at the moment I first heard it…and still does: ‘At least when the well goes dry, you know how deep it is‘. Isn’ that just about it in a nutshell.
Tonight finds me typing with a personal mix list in the headphones…brandy at my left. Life is good. It is also the end of a week that’s been heavily populated with double shifts. Don’t get me wrong, my check is going to be nice, but this level of onslaught of a high-volume, process-rich workplace wasn’t by choice or prior arrangement. It has drained me of nearly every reserve. But sometimes ugly or not, I did it. I was done. I actually caught myself telling myself on the drive home to be careful. The last thing I needed was to finally get through such a grinder of work I am coming to enjoy and hit a construction barrel four blocks from ‘touchdown’. But despite the sheer volume of it, I now find myself smiling as I drive home on the dawn of having a day off.
While I’m exhausted, now I’m home, sitting here writing instead of going to sleep, again. But hey, that’s no big deal. I know myself well enough to know how deep down I will descend into sleep once I know the house is locked up and the coffee maker is all set to go off in the morning. It sucks to be responsible. I look at some of the young bloods at work who openly speak of being in awe of the size of their first ‘real’ paychecks and I’m led to tears. They have no idea what’s coming at them. It’s all about perspective.
Having been the catchers mitt for that sparkling little thunder bolt of Insight, let me replay my little gestalt moment by asking you to join me in the car on my way to work.
I’m lucky. Work is only 10-15 minutes away. True, like anywhere in Chicagoland, there are any number of ways to get there, but only one makes the most sense to me. It’s the fewest turns, straightest path and fewest stop lights. But that’s just it, there is one stop light that has a left-turn arrow I never get. I always have to stop. I will admit to you in the group that making that intersection when the arrow is green has become an obsessive competition. I will not be beaten by a light! I will figure out how to make success happen. I will not be impeded. I’ve experimented with various speeds and lanes from the preceding two traffic lights before it. While I don’t know when the whole competition component took root, I know it’s been at least 4-months since I first noticed my absolute zero-rate of success with Mr. Turn Left signal. Fine…my city is watching for me on the intersection cams and all of which exists for the sole purpose of stopping me there…at that light – every time. You can not go.
The other day I needed to make some stops on the way in, so I left early and hit the store and the gas station…normal stuff. I was feeling pretty good at how quickly my list was shrinking leaving me with plenty of time to make it 10-minutes early (which is what I do). Snapping out of my relaxed smugness, my next stray observation was how cool to be coming through ‘that intersection’ from the south instead of the west…’ Wait a minute. Say that again. ‘coming through‘ the intersection (OMG). I can’t believe it. I made the intersection on green!!!!
I felt like a min-lotto winner ~ but just as suddenly, the question: How? What was different?
I knew my normal way to work was the most logical. I knew where I had to be and at what time. Then one day, circumstance had me change my travel path and bam! I was sailing through a stupid traffic light that had flexed its will over me for months.
That day at work, I decided to relax and not worry about the specifics of how I was going to get there. I rolled with things…I made some of it up as as I went along. And you know what? It taught me all kinds of new respect for limits. I witnessed how I felt and performed the longer the week went on. Knowing the end was near must have put me on a hair-trigger to the point where people knew to leave me alone…and yet, they kept coming.
And I kept relaxing in all kinds of different ways as I went about the task of taming the last of my day on the last day of my work week.
And none of it got manageable until I was able to relax, change things up a bit and not be so worried about not checking off all the boxes on my ever lengthening to-do lists.
Does this make sense to you? I don’t think it really matters whether it’s organizing the flow of paperwork across my desk or moving the toaster to the other side of the sink. Change is good. Take a chance. Jazz something this week.
(December 6, 1920 – December 5, 2012)
“Brubeck died of heart failure on December 5, 2012, in Norwalk, Connecticut, one day before his 92nd birthday. He was on his way to a cardiology appointment, accompanied by his son Darius. A birthday party had been planned for him with family and famous guests. It has been recast as a memorial tribute.
The Los Angeles Times noted that he “was one of Jazz’s first pop stars,” even though he was not always happy with his fame, uncomfortable, for example, that Time Magazine had featured him on the cover before it did so for Duke Ellington, saying, “It just bothered me”.  The New York Times noted he had continued to play well into his old age, performing in 2011 and in 2010 only a month after getting a pacemaker, with Times music writer Nate Chinen commenting that Brubeck had replaced “the old hammer-and-anvil attack with something almost airy” and that his playing at the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City was “the picture of judicious clarity”.
Writing in the UK’s The Daily Telegraph, music journalist Ivan Hewett said: “Brubeck didn’t have the réclame of some jazz musicians who lead tragic lives. He didn’t do drugs or drink. What he had was endless curiosity combined with stubbornness”, adding “His work list is astonishing, including oratorios, musicals and concertos, as well as hundreds of jazz compositions. This quiet man of jazz was truly a marvel.” In UK’s The Guardian, John Forhdam said, “Brubeck’s real achievement was to blend European compositional ideas, very demanding rhythmic structures, jazz song-forms and improvisation in expressive and accessible ways. His son Chris was to tell the Guardian, “when I hear Chorale, it reminds me of the very best Aaron Copland, something like Appalachian Spring. There’s a sort of American honesty to it.”.” Robert Christgau dubbed Brubeck the “jazz hero of the rock and roll generation”.”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Brubeck
Let me close with a click-on-the-pic to the video version of a personal favorite from the play list…
Photo Credit, Illustration and Attributions: 8-amazing-3d-sidewalk-art-well: http://amazingblogin.blogspot.com/2011/12/amazing-3d-sidewalk-art.html; Applause: http://tagadavao.wordpress.com/2008/07/31/too-many-applause-spoiled-the-speech/; Vintage Suburban Traffic: http://rogerwilkerson.tumblr.com/post/25852880893/traffic-1961-los-angeles; Relaxing Frog: http://www.forumgarden.com/forums/welcome-my-day/50044-couple-minutes-relax-work.html; Relaxing: http://www.forumgarden.com/forums/welcome-my-day/50044-couple-minutes-relax-work.html; Dave Brubeck on Time Cover: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Brubeck
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