Tag Archives: solitary alignment

Pendulum Swings

photo (5)We are all walking on a wire.

There is an overarching sense that we are safe and secure, our affairs are in order, and those we care about are sliding through life unscathed. We tend to the duties of the day, accepting that sunsets follow rush hours and cars quietly return to driveways. We view health as something in stasis, and radical deviations from these anticipated paths sit just outside our realm of belief.

Locked in the microcosm of immediate thoughts, results, and gratifications, we blindly throw darts and hope for bullseyes.

But, as Mr. Newton noted, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Now, if we bowed under the weight of this awareness on a daily basis, we’d be fast-tracked to insanity. We can’t sit in the car thinking about what happens when the driver in the opposite lane spills hot coffee on his lap. It would make life impossible to live. We would be reduced to gun shy shut-ins, compulsively petting cats and studying DEFCON levels.

But, that doesn’t mean we should strap on the blindfold, secured with a Palomar, and start stumbling into walls. As with everything, a careful balance needs to be found. It’s part acceptance and part defiance, and these two opposing forces don’t normally play nicely in the sandbox.

The world is not built on level roads. Aim for greatness, but keep an eye on the edge. Even when there’s room to fly, winds will inevitably change. Build a safety net before you leap, or someone will have to catch you when you fall.

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Giving Doubt and Taking Back the Benefit

phoneThe regular ridicule I’ve gotten in my life for keeping records, taking notes, and tracking telephone interactions is all just extra paint on the big colorful canvas I call an organized existence. Jab me about my checklists and poke fun about my calendars, but the self-satisfaction I’ve gotten the last few months from flawless follow-ups to customer service representatives makes all that fun-making fade into the distance.

It’s easy to call it compulsive. Marking down the dates a letter is received or when an initial phone call is placed might seem excessive or unnecessary. But, it’s pretty effortless and it saves a mountain of frustration in the end.

My “key theory” falls into the same category. How often do people run around the house at the last minute, searching for their elusive keys, with each tick of the clock exacerbating their tardiness? If they were kept in a designated key area, there would be no reason to alert the bloodhounds to join you in the hunt or create false scenarios about bad traffic and road closures when you walk past disapproving scowls, stumbling into the morning meeting 20 minutes after donut distribution.

Preparation and order rewards those who allow them in their lives. To be reliable and informed—as opposed to a scatterbrained flake—is something to be praised, not punished.

So, back to my telephone tag/faulty case number/taciturn supervisor juggling routine. The universe happened to unload multiple situations requiring boundless patience for bottomless hold times and the kind of diligent record-keeping rarely seen outside of IRS offices. If I were Johnny Casual, I would take those people at their word, thank them for all their helpful information, and wait for those guaranteed returned phone calls and speedy case resolutions.

But, we live in a world where almost no one does what they’re supposed to do—or even makes an attempt at punctuality. These are simply the realities of our modern society, as we make the sluggish transition from humans to computers. We are wrought with growing pains and this spreading plague of unrestrained apathy isn’t making things any easier. I can’t even begin to talk about the post office. I don’t have the strength.

The best we can do is take a stand. We can strive to be as efficient and organized as a machine, thus elevating ourselves above the sluggish drones and into a space where the air is fresh and the flickering fluorescent lights aren’t melting our brains.

But, I have to admit, rattling off the names of each supervisor, the dates I called, each digit of my assigned case numbers, and the particulars of the discussions not only ironed the wrinkles of what should have been unbearable transactions, it felt damn good.

You can retain your unintelligible reminders, unwieldy paper trails, and shoebox receipt shenanigans. I’ll be here with my alphabetized file folders and a bold, almost laughable level of record-keeping confidence.