Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day 113

I recently made it back outside. The days and nights since my daughter was born have run together. The past week may have been one day, I'm not sure. Some interesting math occurs when you have a second child. I reckoned that we had added a child to our family with Charis. In actuality, we've experienced exponential growth. Those of you with multiple children know what I mean. I'm busier than I've ever been in my life. I've also never been happier.

I've met a few folks since my last post. First was Matt. I sold him a couple of my old video games. Matt and I have something in common; we're both crazy fans of Mega Man. Our commonality ends at the interest, though. Matt is a true fanatic. He's got a massive collection of memorabilia as well as signatures from the creator. I'm kind of a fan of Matt, now.

I met Judy while doing some Christmas shopping. We talked about the size of our children, oddly enough. Both of my kids have been fairly average sized. Judy, however, shot the spectrum. Her first child was born premature at 4 lbs. which is light by anyone's standards. Her second was a whopping 11 pounder. To put that into perspective, Charis will likely be 3 months old before she weighs that much. That's what you call an over-achiever.

I met Don when we went to the Christmas tree farm. He helped me tie our tree to the car. Don asked me how difficult it was to raise two kids. He was curious because he'd just found out that he was going to be the father of twins. If, for some reason I'd been curious as to the creation of children, I'd not have been curious after this conversation. Don informed me. In gross detail. I'll let you fill in the details. He didn't give me that luxury. That was a short, strange, awkward conversation. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day 100. My favorite post so far.

(Post originally intended for 11/22)
I won't be posting for the next few days because I'm in the hospital. Everything's fine and everyone's healthy. I just wanted to give you guys the heads up. This setting will also explain why the majority of the people I met today were medical personnel. So here we go.

I met Janice. She worked the main nursing station and was wearing Dora the Explorer scrubs. As this is my least favorite of my daughter's favorite shows it took a great force of will to think kindly about her. That being said, she was a very nice lady. She told me about how she always wanted a daughter, but only had sons. "Finally," she said, "one of my sons gave me a granddaughter. Now I finally have a reason to spend all my money." if this granddaughter got half the treatment that Janice reported, she's very nearly royalty.

Next I met Chary, another nurse who just moved to a new department of the hospital. She was the type of person that talks to people as though she's known them for years. At least, that's the impression I got. I thought we'd get along like a house on fire until I realized something; she had a Dora lanyard around her neck. What the WHAT!?! I don't understand why that little Latina was shadowing me today, but she was. I'm happy to say that the lanyard was her final appearance at the hospital... for now.

I met Nicole by complimenting her fantastic, metallic,  patent leather shoes. These things were fabulous. She works in Labor and Delivery, and talked about how hilarious it was when women showed up to give birth looking like a prom queen. She talked about one girl who was dressed to the nines with freshly done hair and makeup. "By the time her baby was born she looked like the incredible Hulk." I laughed my face off when she told me that.

Finally, I met a little girl. A very, very precious baby girl. Her name is Charis. She looks just like her mom. I know this, because Charis is my new daughter. She was born today. Up until now I wondered how I could possibly love anyone as much as I love my 3 year old. I'm not wondering anymore. The love was there just waiting to come out. She's perfect. Absolutely beautiful. I know this is a pretty cheesy post for me, but I don't mind. I began writing this blog to write about people who have changed the way I look at the world. Charis has done exactly that. I'm sure I'll have more to say about her as this blog continues. Thank you to everyone who was praying for us today, and for all the well wishes from friends and family. I love you all. Thank you for being a part of this amazing day.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Yes. Math.

So, I've done a bit of figuring, and it would appear that I've met and blogged about 68 people in the 99 days since I began this blog. I've set the goal back a bit due to my recent hiatus. However, I think there's a way to salvage some semblance of my original intention of meeting 365 people in one year. First, I'll write about a few people I've met while I was on my blogging break. Secondly, I'm going to retire the Bisiwig for the time being. This means that when I meet multiple people, I'll blog about each. This means that the posts for at least the next few weeks will be a bit longer than usual. Sorry, guys. I know, I know. I'll try to keep it as short and interesting as possible. So, let's get to it, shall we?

Among the people I met while on break was Allison. She lives close to our church and has visited there a few times. I felt miserable because I'd forgotten meeting her back in the Spring. So, when she visited a few weeks ago, I introduced myself only to hear the worst thing you can hear upon meeting someone; "Hi, yeah. I've already met you." Doh! What's interesting is that the week after I did this, she'd forgotten my name as well. I figure we're even.

I also met Evelyn and Francis. They were shopping together with, "volunteer," badges on. I asked what they volunteered for, and they informed me that they host Bible studies at retirement homes and have for years. The trick is, these volunteers were AT LEAST 80 years old apiece. This put them as older than most of the people they volunteered for. I'm not making assumptions, here. They told me so. That's hilarious and inspiring, which I think is a great combination. An ultra combo, for my Killer Instinct people out there.

The combo breaker, I suppose, is that this post is getting long. I've got more people to write about, but I'll save them for another day. Thanks to everyone who stuck it out through the drought. I'll have more for you soon.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Numbering system... fail

I'm still unsure as to how I should be numbering these posts since I've messed up my days. I'll figure something out, though. Don't you worry.

I met Sam today. He told me he had two kids, so I asked if he had any advice for me, as I am soon to be a father of two. I do that a lot these days. His response surprised me. He said, "I don't really have any advice. I'm not sure I did a good job." Then he quit talking. Not just about his kids. He shut up altogether. He just sat there looking depressed. His honesty shocked me, especially since he was clearly so shaken by whatever he revealed to me.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

....glub, glub...


...That was supposed to be the sound of a person emerging from water, gasping for air. I realize now that wasn't as implied as I'd originally planned. Oh well, I think the point's been made in the explanation.

In case it hasn't, I'm trying to describe the hectic, fast-paced, rigorous and non-stop past month I've had. I can only say that I'm sorry for those of you who still bother to check this blog. You are the reason I came back.

I'll spare you the details and just tell you that I should be a lot less busy in the coming weeks, and my wife is due to have a baby during that time. This blogless time hasn't been worthless, either. I've still been meeting people and have come up with a new method of introducing myself to people. I compliment them first. I call it the complimeet method. "Sir, that hat is fantastic," is actually the one I use most. Men who wear hats, especially ones with full brims, really like to be recognized for their bravery and taste. Fact.

I don't have anyone specific to write about tonight. I know, I know. Why even bother writing? The answer is, I wanted to apologize; I'm sorry. I also want to let you know that I'm deciding how I should fix this mess I've created by my absence. I've thrown my goal of meeting a new person a day from day 1 to day 365. I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do instead. I'll let you know what I come up with.

Thanks for your patience, guys.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Day 70. A kick in the teeth.

I know I've left 4 days out. I've been poor at blogging again, which would usually mean that this post would be an apologetic run-through of previous meetings. That will have to wait. I need to talk about the meeting I had today. It really left my head spinning.

I met Kathleen, or Kathy. She said either was fine. That was the first of many indications that Kathy is a lady who sets other people before her own preferences. We started talking about her job as a nurse. Then about Justin Beiber (yeh... I'm not sure how that happened). Suddenly, she starts tearing my heart out telling me about an ongoing family tragedy. I don't want to get into the details, but her sister is in a terrible situation, and Kathy is trying to help her maneuver it. I didn't just hear about the current situation. She told me about the history leading up to it as well. I just thought my heart had been torn out before. I didn't know what to say. I felt split by my desire to hear more, and a desperate urge to get lost in some mindless distraction. All the while, even though she wasn't saying it, I kept getting clues that she's highly involved in trying to fix the situation.

I've been in a daze since we talked. I'm just at a loss. In an earlier post I mentioned how judgmental I am. Kathy helped me see that I'm also guilty of viewing people as 1 dimensional. Some of my posts display that tendency. If I hadn't sat and talked with her for as long as I did, this post would've been: "Hur hur! Hey, guys! Today I met Kathy. She's a phlebotomist. Isn't that a hilarious sounding word!?" As it stands, I'm left pondering this impossibly difficult situation. As soon as I meet someone, my initial thought is that they are whoever they sound like in the 5 minutes or so that I talk to them. The truth is that many people are hurting much more than I'm willing to admit. Sometimes that becomes evident to me. It should always be on my mind, though.

Sorry if this post was confusing. I'm still trying to work through this funk.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day 66

Today I met Travis. He's a local baker. He showed me a tattoo he had done when he was young. It was an illustration of a really corny joke. He said it gave him something to remind himself not to take life too seriously. That's about it. See you guys tomorrow.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 65

I got home from grocery shopping today and saw this giant dog running loose. Giant probably isn't the right word. What I mean is, he wasn't oversized. I just have a rule about dogs; the smaller the better. Henry was his name. That's what his tag said, anyway. It also had a phone # attached with the word "reward" below it. "WOOHOO!" I thought. Alls I gots to do is dial these digits and collect me some green. I'm sorry to report that I am no richer than before I found the dog, although I did meet someone. Not a total loss, then.

Gloria picked up the phone. "Hi. I found your dog. What neighborhood are you in and I'll bring him back... Oh, that's my neighborhood. What street are you on... That's my street. What number?... Oh. Right in front of my house, then." Again, my attempt to be Action Man and save a dog falls flat on its stupid face. Gloria's really nice. She has two kids. Since my wife is pregnant with our second, I asked what advice she could give me. We had a pleasant conversation. It was really embarrassing that I hadn't met the family living across the street from me. I guess I can chalk that up to my lack of socializing.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Days 59-64

Wow. 6 days and no posts. Please forgive my absence. I've been catching up on school work this week and I'm trying to give up caffeine. Neither went incredibly well. Either way, it led to a whirlwind week. I can't remember who I met on what day, but I do have 6 people to write about. I'm really sad that I waited this long to write about each of them. They all had something cool to offer this blog, and I procrastinated them all away. I'll write about what I can remember. Alright. Here goes.

I met Tracey and Peggy. Tracey lives in Vancouver and was visiting Peggy, who just moved to the states. I could tell Peggy really missed Vancouver. She kept insisting that where she lives now is nice, but she spoke with a great fondness for her old home. Something she said that has stayed with me is that she really misses the sunrises in Vancouver. I also met Jaimie, a middle school math teacher. I had a great amount of respect for her, mostly because I don't get along with middle schoolers. At all. It was raining the day I met her. She commented about how cute my daughter's galoshes were. Cadence then informed her that she was going puddle hunting. Jaimie looked sad and said, "I wish that were all I had to do today." I don't think she was complaining. She looked like she was remembering a Christmas gift she lost a long time ago. I also met Holly, a barista. We actually didn't talk that long, and I can't remember what we talked about. Brad's another guy I met. He's a high school wrestling coach and life skills teacher. We had a great conversation about the jobs his students worked after graduation. Lastly, but not leastly I met Joe and his son, Dan. They live in my neighborhood. I walked past them as they were restoring a '66 Mustang. Seeing them work on it took me back to restoring my first car with my dad. It really took me back.

That felt like a clip show. Anyway, there it is. This week should be more post-friendly. We shall see, my patient readers, we shall see...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Day 58

I met Craig today. He told me about a friend of his that converted a poop scooping business into a mulch and fertilizer business. That's about it. Those of you who follow me on Facebook will know why. Goodnight, and God bless.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Day 56 & 7

I meant to blog last night, but fell asleep while my wife finished an episode of DEA. She's watching another episode tonight. I apologize if this post begins to trail off. I'm afraid I have more bad news. I didn't meet anyone today. It was one of those days when I "met" a number of people, but couldn't really converse with them, or I'd converse with them a while and not get their name. It was a bunch of misses. No hits. Evidently Roy Halladay was pitching. (See guys, I DO know something about sports! I mean, it took a guy being mentioned on every major news outlet in the US, but it still counts.) Anyways, I did meet someone yesterday. It wasn't a massive conversation, but I at least owe you a story.

I met Joann yesterday. She came and met me while I was at a coffeehouse with my family. She heard me say my daughter's name, Cadence. She wanted to know why we named her that, and we told her it's because I'm a drummer. The word, "cadence" is a musical term among other things. While it means other things, my daughter's name refers to rhythm. Joann liked it because her husband is a music teacher, and they'd been trying to think of a girl's name. She said they would definitely use Cadence as their girl's name. I think that's pretty awesome. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Day 55

Busy day. Enough time to meet Karen. Not a lot of time to talk about her, though. She's lived in this area for her entire life, which struck me as odd. It shouldn't have, but very few people I meet have grown up where they currently live. That just doesn't seem to be the norm amongst my acquaintances. That's all I can say for now. Maybe tomorrow will lend itself to be a more bloggy type of day.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Day 54

I met a lot of people today at the playground. There was a mommy collective today, which meant a lot of stay-at-home moms had an organized playdate. There were no stay-at-home dads. We're much stealthier, I guess. Anyway, I got to meet multiple people, so here it comes. My most favorite, completely insane, absolutely made-up piece of technology I own: yon Bisiwig. Do your thing. Round and round and round it goes, and where it stops...

Kim is one of the folks I met. She's got 3 kids. I can't comprehend that kind of busy-ness, but she seemed to be handling it fine. This was aided, I'm sure, by her third child being strapped to her and asleep. My wife is pregnant with our second, so I asked for advice about having multiple kids. I never got the advice, though, because at that moment my kid was doing something ridiculous and I had to go rescue her. We got to talk some more, but our conversation was interrupted multiple times by one of our kids acting like a maniac. I found out her husband is a Christian musician. I might get a chance to play drums with him soon. All in all a good meeting. I hope this makes up for the lame duck week I've been having.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

52 and 53

As promised, I met two people today. I met both at my doctors appointment. I met my doctor, Jerry first. Now, I've tried to avoid people who are paid to interact with the public. I kind of feel like I'm cheating if I meet someone who's job is to meet me. However, as I mentioned in my about section, I have a high regard for shaking hands as it breaks a contact barrier between people. I had a physical done, so trust me when I tell you, the contact barrier was broken. I met my Dr today.

Second I met Flora. She was in the office the same time I was. We chatted about kids. She didn't have any of her own, but had tons of nieces and nephews. She said she'd only want kids if they could stay between 2 and 3 years old. Her reasoning was that once kids grew up they become disobedient and wild. I told her I had bad news for her. My 3 year old is already disobedient and wild, and she's been that way for a while. Don't get me wrong, she's amazing. She's a good girl a lot of the time. She's also a nutjob. Still, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I've heard it said that you never really know who you are until you've taken a life. If that's true, then the person I met today was myself. Well... kinda. I killed a mouse that got stuck in an adhesive trap. That felt pretty awful.

More awful news. I didn't actually meet anyone today. My mom was pretty disappointed when I told her. "Go take a walk and meet someone," she said. The trick is she told me that at 9 pm, and I didn't feel like being mistaken for a stalker. I gave it a good effort, I just couldn't make it happen today. I've got a busy day tomorrow, but I'll pick up two meetings to make up for it. Trust me, guys. I don't want my mom to get on my case again.

Kidding, mom! I love you!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 51

Holy crap, I was in a funk today. It started with the story of Jim, a man I met at the grocery store. He was in a wheelchair and had a killer handlebar mustache. I told him I'd considered wearing that kind of 'stache and asked him how the upkeep was. He told me it wasn't bad, which is bad news for my wife. She's not keen on awesome facial hair. He told me his son wears the same kind of mustache. He then told me that he and his son were bikers. At least, his son is a biker. Jim can't ride anymore. He was diagnosed with emphysema and had to sell his bike a few months back. He told me how sad he was when he heard bikes driving by his house and how much he missed that freedom. This story's sad, but the look on his face was what killed me. He kept eye contact with me until he talked about his nostalgia. At that moment he looked into the distance like someone would look at a friend going off to war. The loss in his face was awful to see. Jim's a big guy. He had Harley gear on. I mentioned the mustache, right? However, in that moment he could've been a 90 lb middle schooler losing his first girlfriend. I'm not describing this well. Just trust me that recalling his expression is touching me even now. I'm not exactly sure why this story made me so sad. I really don't. I need to meet someone with a happy story tomorrow. Maybe that'll pick me up.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Day 50

Today I met Judy. She and her husband are church planters in our city. We didn't talk for a long time, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to look over the last 50 days of this project and do another assessment. I hope my readers will forgive another digression from the real purpose of this blog. Please bear with me.

I've been looking through old posts and I'm seeing some patterns. Not just my inconsistent spelling and grammar, or my incessant use of the word, "arbitrary." The pattern I'm seeing is that I'm judgmental. I judge someone, meet them, my judgement is dismantled, and I comment on how I need to be less judgmental. This has happened a few times for as short as this blog is. Even with that evidence I have trouble believing the statement, "I'm judgmental." It's true, though. I'm formulating an action plan to change this part of me. That is one of the real purposes of this blog, I suppose. What good is this type of journaling if it doesn't lead to some sort of positive change.

Something else happened while I was looking back through this project. I became nostalgic. A lot of the people I've met have really touched me, and that would have been lost without this blog. Grandma Jeanne, my twin, Jason, and Mike the sniper stand out, but there are a lot of names that brought back fond, if brief memories. This project has been difficult at times, but I'm so glad I'm doing it. There are a lot more meetings to go, and the weight of that is very real. However, it seems lighter seeing some of the beneficial results.

Finally, I really want to thank my readers for encouraging me to continue. Your comments on and off the site have helped me more than you can know. I would not have made it this far without you. I hope you'll continue to take this walk with me. 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Day 49. Of things much greater than this.

I went shopping with my family this morning to try and meet someone. I felt determined, driven even, to break my losing streak and bring you people a good post. We went to the first store, and... nothing. No problem. Shake it off, buddy. You the man! You can do this! We made our second stop. Nothing. What the... wait. I know I put on my deodorant today. What's going on here? We start walking to the final store on our errand list, and I'm just depressed. "What's wrong with me?" I asked my wife. "I know I used to be good at this. Why can't I meet anyone?!?" Then I met Cathy. This meeting would simultaneously shut my impatient, prideful mouth, and bring this entire project into stark perspective. How, you ask? Because Cathy is a 4 year breast cancer survivor.

She was wearing a Susan G. Komen "Walk for the Cure," t-shirt. I asked her about it because my Grandma Joy died from breast cancer. My Grandma was one of the strongest, most beautiful people I've ever known, and anyone who's working to cure the disease that took her from us is worth paying attention to. She told me about her fight with cancer. It was caught early and hadn't spread, and she still needed surgery and chemotherapy to beat it. That was four years ago. Tomorrow she and her mother are walking to raise money for breast cancer research. I really can't express how emotional I felt. I was getting weepy just listening to her. I told her about my Grandma, and Cathy said she would put her name on the shirt she was going to wear during the walk. That's when I really started to fall apart.

This post is for you, Grandma Joy. You're deserving of much, much more. I love you, and I can't wait to see you again.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Day Whatawaste. I mean, 48.

I talked to a lot of people today. I met none of them. Seriously, I spoke with nearly a dozen people today, and I couldn't get any kind of conversation going with any of them. I felt like the new kid at school during prom. I'd just wander up to people and be like, "H-h-hey. I mean, hello. I mean, whassap? So, uh... d'you wanna, er... y'know... wanna, uh... dance or sumthin?" I just couldn't connect with anyone. Maybe I was trying too hard. Maybe I forgot my deodorant this morning. Whatever it was, it wasn't good. I haven't been that socially awkward in years. I really need to make up for two very dismal days. Any ideas? I could really use some help here, guys.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day 47

Not much going on today, I'm afraid. I met Sarah, a high school teacher. We really didn't talk very long. Just long enough to find out that she's working half the day at a high school and the other half at a middle school down the street. That's got to be a mental twister. I can't imagine the mental energy it would take to shift my teaching paradigm from high schoolers to middle schoolers in the same day. That's all for today, guys. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 46

I met two guys today, but the story's the same for both. Brendan and Brad are their names. I didn't learn much else about them. However, I've not received a heartier response from anyone I've met since I began this project.

I pulled into my neighborhood at the same time as one of my neighbors. He was pulling a baby grande piano on a trailer. Brendan and Brad were in the truck with him. We parked and I walked over to see if they needed some help. His house has a fair number of stairs to get to the front door, so I figured 3 guys would have difficulty moving it in. I was wrong. 4 guys had difficulty moving it in. 3 might have been impossible. This thing weighed a ton! We were all grunting and spitting and carrying on until we finally got it in the house. While I was leaving, Brendan and Brad nearly hugged me with gratitude. These guys, who even now all I know about is that they've got some piano moving experience, expressed a palpable sense of warmth and acceptance toward me. I wondered if I ought to write about them since our interaction was limited. I decided to because I was reminded of a lesson I've learned many times before but don't often practice. Meeting a person's needs is the fastest way to their heart. Granted, no one literally needs a piano moved (unless it's resting on top of them), but there was a momentary need for assistance. I'm convinced that meeting that need gave me a deeper connection to Brendan and Brad than if I'd simply spoken with them.

This is another time when I'm strongly reminded of the example of Jesus. He met people's needs. Everything from providing wine for a wedding celebration to reviving the dead. As a Christian I believe that he met my greatest need on the cross. He saw what people needed and helped them where they were. The absolute least I can do is lift a piano.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 45

I met a group of people today. You know what that means! Time to break out the Bisiwig! *spins Bisiwig* Alright, c'mon, no whammies, no whammies! Daddy needs a new line of reversible outerwear! ...Hmmm. John, eh? Ok, Bisiwig. You know best.

I met John tonight at his drum lesson. I was subbing for his normal teacher. Some of my readers may be troubled to hear that I, a self-professed drummer in fugue, was teaching someone about an instrument that I'm not actively playing. Your concerns are understandable. However, may I remind you of what happens to those who can't do? They teach. That in mind I was perfect for the job! Moving on. John had been taking lessons for a few years with the same teacher. Needless to say, he was a little uncomfortable with someone new. I was surprised at how embarrassed he was when he messed up a beat. I was surprised because John is up in years. I just assume that anyone over 50 is immune to embarrassment. He calmed down after I reminded him that I couldn't help him improve unless he made mistakes. The rest of the lesson went pretty smoothly. Afterwards, I found out that he's a computer programmer. Even though his work gets in the way of his drumming, he still makes time to play as much as he can. I want to have that attitude. In an earlier post I whined about not playing drums as much as I like. I should play when I can and be content with that. My life is far too good to allow nonsense like that to get me down.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The ultimate answer to life the universe and everything. Plus 2.

I went though most of today inside my house. I had to catch up from a week being ill. I ended up going out to eat tonight without meeting anyone all day. I didn't want to meet anyone at dinner, though. I just wanted to sit down in my own happy bubble and not be bothered by anyone on the outside. That's when I remembered why I started this blog in the first place; to engage people when I don't feel like engaging. To force myself to be social, and in so doing, to care about those around me more than myself. I can't give up. I needed to fight this urge to isolate myself. I decided to do something drastic. I looked around the restaurant for the person I would normally be least likely to approach. I spotted a guy with a shaved head, handlebar mustache and tattoos eating by himself. He had to be 6' 8" and pushing 3 bills. I made a bee line and hoped for the best.

Mike is his name. He told me about his tattoos. Many of them described his military career. He was a sniper in Vietnam. A what in where, you ask? That's right, a sniper. In Vietnam. I'm kind of happy he didn't go into gross detail about his time there. I'd probably have trouble sleeping tonight. Or for the rest of the week for that matter. He wasn't too talkative, so I left him alone pretty quickly. I figured I'd already interrupted his evening enough. Then the strangest thing happened. 5 minutes later he came back and approached me. I thought he was mad, at first. Then he started laughing and telling me more about himself. We talked and laughed like we were friends. It didn't go on all night, or anything. We only talked for a total of maybe 3 minutes. But in those 3 minutes, I made a connection. I connected with a guy who, to me, looked as likely to break your arm as talk to you. I'll have to look back at previous posts, but I know I've said this before. I need to stop judging books by their covers. I really hope I see Mike again. I'd love to hear more about his life. His story has got to be amazing.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Days 42 and 43... smeg.

I'd love to say that I didn't write yesterday because of some super-legitimate, understandably understandable reason. I can't. I sat down to write last night and got stuck in a self-imposed Red Dwarf marathon. I'm not sad about the Red Dwarf, but I'm sorry I left you guys hanging. I did meet someone yesterday and today, so I'll just report on them both here.

Yesterday I met Phyllis. She volunteers for a homeless day shelter. I was surprised to hear where the shelter's located, because it's in a very wealthy county. I'm not stupid enough to consider that there can't be homeless people amongst wealth. What I've witnessed in regards to homeless care, though, is that it normally only happens as a result of a massive occurrence of homelessness. I couldn't imagine that situation in such a wealthy county. I was wrong. She told me that in June they helped 250 different people at the shelter, and that number has grown since. I was floored. I'm still a bit shocked. I know that 250 isn't a huge number relatively speaking, but I'm not considering relative terms. I'm thinking about more than 250 people who have nowhere to sleep tonight. I don't even know how to process that. Once I find a way to process that information, I'll need to exponentially raise the number to consider how many people are homeless just in my state... my God. How do we even begin.

Ok. Ok. I need a pick me up. How about a 9 year old talking about his favorite football team? Sound good? Great. Let's go, Matteo. You're up.

Matteo came to our church today with his mom. I said he's 9, but as he informed me, he's practically 10. He's basically an old fart. He told me about his school and his teacher and his friends. He likes the Ravens which is cool... None of which is distracting me from the conversation I had with Phyllis. Maybe that's a good thing, though. Maybe I should stop typing and think about this for a bit. I'll let you know what I come up with.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 41

I've done it again! A day of meeting multiple people. Thus necessitating the use of the selection wheel henceforth known as BSW360gsI*, or Bisiwig for short. Let's take a look at the instructions here... light, spin wheel, and get away. Alright, here goes nothing *lights, spins wheel, gets away*... BANG! And the result is... Ah yes. This is a good one.

I met Carolina today. We were waiting in line at Sonic, a newly established franchise in my area. For the majority of my adult life I've lived within walking distance of a Sonic. Five years ago I move to a new state, and their's not a Sonic for miles. Finally, a month ago, one opened in my backyard. It's so popular that there's still a 30 minute wait just to order food. Carolina grew up near a Sonic, too. We talked about how excited we were to have a piece of our homes near where we currently live. We talked about how much we'd missed cherry limeades and made fun of people who ordered, "extra larges," instead of, "route 44s." We talked for ages based solely on our shared history with a restaurant. A chain restaurant. It was a remarkable conversation. At the end of it I felt like I'd met with an old friend instead of a complete stranger.

Typing all this made me thirsty. I'm going to drink some more of my cold, delicious cherry limeade. See you guys at the drive-in.

*Thanks to brocolote for the name suggestion in day 35's comment section. I miss you, Broccabrocca. Yours is a nonsense I can't resist.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 40

Today I met Connie at the grocery store. She was laughing at my daughter. To be fair, so was I. She was talking gibberish and then asking if whatever she'd just requested was permissible. She does this occasionally. It normally goes something like this, "Skampatowa feega nosdo rejama michta nobba doo, OK Daddy?" This reminded Connie of her granddaughter. We talked a bit about children and family and getting old. What was remarkable wasn't what we talked about, but where we were talking. This whole conversation took place outside my van as I was getting my little girl in her car seat. Connie was in the car next to us with the window down. Maybe I'm easily overwhelmed, but I was surprised she would talk to a complete stranger from her car. To me, that puts her in a pretty vulnerable position inasmuch as a car offers security. Yet here she was, chatting with me instead of resting in her comfortable, secure, quiet vehicle.

I love it when people open up. I know that leaving oneself vulnerable is a dangerous habit, but to a degree, its what all Christians are called to do. I'm not saying that we should be doormats, or that we should trust every person we meet.  All I mean is that Jesus told us to love people, even our enemies. That takes a lot more vulnerability than many of us are comfortable with. He also told us to be wise in our interactions. I think that's a lot of what I'm learning through this project; what it looks like to be loving and wise. I kind of suck at it right now. I tend to be overly vulnerable in the name of love, or overly cut off under the guise of wisdom. We'll see if I can strike a better balance in the coming months.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day Thirty Ni... Ni... NaaaaaaaCHOOOOO

Sick AGAIN! Worse than two days ago. Made myself go out and fraternize, though. Met Sandy at the farmer's market. We talked about silos and cows. I was a little dizzy while we were talking, so we might have talked about something else, too. I'm not sure. Anyway, the lesson I learned today was to listen to my body. When it's screaming at me to take it easy or else it's going to make life very uncomfortable, I should take note and meet its demands. Ugh. Twice times, ugh ugh. I'm going to take a many pill types and sleep much. Til tomorrow, my patient, patient readers.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 38 (37 implied)

I want to be vulnerable on this blog. That includes admitting when I've been stupid.

Today I met Nickolai and Ofelia. I saw them pulled over with a broken down, smoking van. I stopped to see if I could help. That's where I went wrong; assuming I could fix their vehicle. The van's fan belt had broken, so I took them to get a new one. We then tried for two hours to replace the belt with no luck. At this point we realized that we had been given the wrong belt. We got the right belt and replaced it in 5 minutes. HOORAY! Wait, wait. Let's make sure the van starts. It does! HOORAY! Wait, why is it smoking? What's that crazy squeaking noise? We shut the van off just before the new fan belt snapped. As it turns out, there was more wrong with the engine than the belt. Much more. So, I stopped to "help" these people, ate up 2+ hours of their day, all so they could buy a useless belt and still have to be towed to a garage. If I hadn't stopped and tried to be Action Man they'd have just called for a tow and maybe gotten their van fixed today. As it happens, they'll probably be stuck here until at least tomorrow. Brilliant. Good work. I really am at my best when I'm making assumptions.

Nickolai and Ofelia were very nice. They were from Central America. Their English wasn't great, which made our attempts at replacing the belt hilarious at best. Up, down, around, and under are remarkably difficult concepts for cross-lingual communication. All in all, I'm glad I met them. I'm just unconvinced  that the feeling will be mutual.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Sick. Slept all day. Sleep now. Project resumes tomorrow... ugh.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

3 and 6

I met someone today, but I'll warn you in advance, it was a shallow meeting. Yvonne was at our church today. We shook hands and exchanged pleasantries. That's about the whole of it. Not much to report. So, I've decided to use this slightly dry day to do a bit of emotional inventory. Just to see what this project's effect has been thus far.

I'm better than a month into this thing and I'm already noticing some changes. There have been some surprisingly negative effects. For a couple of weeks I met people for the sole purpose of writing about them. That's pretty much the reverse of what this project is meant to do. I corrected that as soon as I recognized the problem, but that's a pretty huge momentum breaker in regards to personal social revival. I have noticed some positive response as well. For starters, even if it was to write about them, I've begun to open my eyes to people around me. Whereas before I started this project I'd walk around with my eyes on my feet, I've begun to look around when I'm outside my domicile. Even with poor motivation, that's a beneficial way to view the world.

I thank all of you who have followed me on this journey. I hope you'll continue to be there with me as I try to retrain my social instincts against the well of antisocial sentiment.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 35

Alright, my people. I've brought a new element into this whole blogging thing. I don't know what to call it yet, so I could use some suggestions. Essentially, it's a wheel. Not like Goodyear. More like roulette. I'm going to use it to help me pick a person to write about from of the multitude I met today. My neighborhood had a block party which allowed me to meet a TON of people. It was salutation project heaven.

Ok, I didn't actually construct a wheel and spin it. I more-or-less picked this person at random. That will have to suffice for now. At least until one of my smart, inventive, and fabulous readers comes up with a name for this imaginary wheel.

I met Mark today. This is, admittedly, a bit of a stretch. You see, I've "met" him before. Don't arm the angry villagers, yet. Neither of us could remember each others names. I think it's fair to say that we actually connected relationally today. Mark's a fisherman among other things. We have a lot of things in common. We're both weather nuts, for one thing. We had a long conversation about weird weather stories. He told me about a rock that had blown through his window and got stuck 2 inches deep into a piece of furniture. This didn't happen during a tornado or hurricane. This happened in the middle of a standard thunderstorm. That's a freaky consideration that a storm could toss a stone with that kind of velocity. He's also really athletic (something we don't have in common). He has a national championship ring from his division 3 college. He's a really interesting guy, and he's right here in my neighborhood. Hopefully I'll be able to keep in touch with him. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 34

Today was, if there is such a thing, the antithesis of a red letter day. I forgot I had a meeting, went to the wrong location when reminded about said meeting, and arrived too late to the correct location to be any benefit. However, I did meet someone when I went to the wrong location. His name was George. It went something like this.

George is a former Navy man. I know the dangers of painting with a broad brush, but I have an immense amount of respect and gratitude for anyone who serves our country. George was a really kind, older man. He talked about his family being a military family (all the way back to his mother having grown up with a cavalry regiment. That's officially 'holy crap' old.). We didn't talk long, but we did talk for a while on the subject of secretive jobs. George, evidently, had a secret-ish occupation. All he could tell me was he worked in, intelligence." 'Nuf said. I asked him about how he talked about his job when he was younger. Evidently the phrase, "if I told you, I'd have to kill you," is not a modern invention. It was nice to meet George. The 'wrong location' was someone's house who was clearly not home. George was being protective when he introduced himself. It was a bit reassuring to think that there are people like George looking out for us.

All in all, not a terrible day.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 33

Today I met Leslie. She's a local business owner. I've seen her a few times because her store is a floor below the bar our church meets in. She sells handmade jewelry and decor. It's not exactly my type of store, but she seems to do well. She told me that her husband lost his job days after she opened shop. I can't imagine how unbelievably scary that would be to go to one income RIGHT AFTER you finance a new business. Just thinking about that situation terrifies me. She seemed in good spirits, though. I hope that means that her business is doing well. I'll be praying for her and her family. I'll keep you all appraised as to how she does.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 32-bit

Sorry for the long posts. This one should make up for it.

I met Linda tonight. She's a 1st grade paraeducator. For those of you who don't know, paraeducators are the ones that jump out of planes onto unsuspecting student territory. My mom's a first grade teacher, so we had that in common. We talked about the wonder that younger students tend to have about school. We also mused about where that wonder goes when they hit middle and high school. There is something really amazing about young kids and how they look at education. My 2 year old can't wait for school. She has no idea what it is, but she's ready for it. I'm ready for it, too. I don't want her to grow too quickly or anything like that. I'm just excited about shopping for Trapper Keepers with her. They still make those, don't they?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Stardate 31

I'm gonna take flak from some Trekkies about that title.

Two things happened today which fell on opposite ends of the 'cool' spectrum, and both were in relation to previous posts. The wicked cool thing was that I got to play music, not once, but TWICE today. This, of course following my childish display yesterday when I whined about not playing as much anymore. The other thing was that I got called out by Kristen (who is actually Brian) in the comment section of day 29's post. She/he pointed out, and I'm still trying to figure out how this happened, that I met someone... two times. So, in the interest of actually meeting 365 different people this year, I give you yet another twofer. You people are the luckiest blog followers I know.

First, I met Heather. She played hand drums and sang backup for Rob at an open mic I went to tonight. (I met Rob, too. He'll be back later in the show.) Heather had some good chops. I told her so afterwards. She told me that she'd lost her boyfriend to a political party recently. Yes. You read that right. I think it was because I met her among her friends, but she had no problem sharing that and some other personal stories with me. A guy she met 30 seconds earlier. I really appreciated her candor. Too often I keep these types of conversations surface-level. Not with Heather, though. She encouraged me to be more honest with people. Not to give my life story to everybody I meet, mind you. Just to be more transparent about who I am and how my day has gone.

Next, I met Rob. To be fair, I've played music with him before. I just never met him. I know that sounds weird, but he was in a room with some 20-odd (some, very odd *rim-shot*) other musicians. I just walked in and started playing. There weren't many introductions. Tonight, however, I actually met him. Rob's a very good musician. This meant that I talked to him like I talk to all very good musicians: I tried to sound cool. Cool and very informed. There are some bands I only mention in this context. They tend to be really on-the-fringe of some made up genre which only I've ever heard of. I mention these bands to sound cool. It rarely works outside the confines of my brain, but I try anyway. Once I dropped the name-dropping routine, we actually had a good conversation. We talked about local open mics and some ups and downs of local music. I learned something from him. This was more of a self taught lesson, but Rob helped me see that I should shut my pie hole and listen to people sometimes. I know this sounds contradictory to what I learned from Heather, but I don't think either lesson can be too generally used. I just have to work on a person-to-person basis.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The big 3-0

Happy 30th, you big, beautiful blog! You've done me proud.

I met Luke tonight. He's a stock guy at a local music shop. He's also a recording student. I was surprised to hear he was a junior because of how young he looked. Then I realized he looks EXACTLY the age of a junior in college, I'm just old. In fact, he's just about the age I was when I started playing music full time. Luke just started building his studio, and he seemed a bit nervous about it. The task of buying recording equipment is pretty daunting, mostly because of how expensive it can get. I wish him the best.

Talking to him made me miss being a musician. Maybe it was hearing the beginning of Luke's recording career. Maybe it was because we were having the conversation in a music store. I don't know. All I know is that I miss playing.

Drummer for hire. Will play for cheap.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Twenty Niner

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was prepping for my first sermon. Well, today was the day. It went better than I expected. What did I preach about, you ask? Well, Jesus. Specifically, though; relationship. Community. Knowing and existing with other people. Who was I mostly preaching to today? You guessed it: ME! That's pretty hilarious if you ask me.

At around 6 tonight I realized that I hadn't met anyone. I was feeling a bit lazy, so I decided to go to Starbucks where my brother-in-law works. He's been working there a while, so I figured he'd know one or two regulars that he could introduce me to. I was looking to avoid the awkward greeting and skip to the conversation. No such luck, as it turns out.

My brother-in-law was busy when I came in, but he pointed out a guy he knows that would be easy to talk to. I sauntered up to the guy, confident that this would be easytown, USA. I introduced myself, and a fairly awkward few minutes passed. "This isn't supposed to be happening," I thought, "This was supposed to have a no-awkward guarantee! Oh well. I'll just go with it." Jeff is his name. He was working on a math problem. Now, I don't mean math in the way that most people understand it. He had 90 pieces of paper taped together trying to solve an equation he'd started 2 years prior. Yeh. I was a bit out of my depth. I asked him what type of equation it was, and he said it was geometry and some word I'd never heard before. I'm assuming that word means ridiculously difficult to solve. There was something really amazing about the amount of time which had gone into the paper he was working on. He'd used different color inks and highlighters. It looked like a work of art. He was a really nice guy, and very interesting to talk to. I wished him luck on a solution and we parted ways. It's after this that my brother-in-law comes up to me and said that Jeff wasn't who he was pointing to earlier. He had no idea who Jeff was. Thus the awkwardness. That's what I get for trying the easy way out. Still, I'm glad I met him. It's always good to meet geniuses. They have a way of keeping one very humble.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day 28

Today was our neighborhood yard sale. Our street was crawling with people. I figured I'd have no trouble meeting people. The problem is that yard salers are too busy saleing to notice someone trying to talk to them. I was out and about for 2 hours and talked to a couple dozen people before I actually met someone.

I met Paula today. Paula and her two pint-sized dogs. We talked antiques for a bit because she had some great old stuff she was selling. Old stuff and country music CDs. She talked about her daughter that lives a long way from home. Paula talking about her daughter made me miss my family. I miss them on a good day, but this was pretty heart wrenching. Plus my sister's in Haiti for a month. Not only is she far away, but she's not exactly safe, and there's nothing I can do to protect her. If anyone reading this prays, please take time to pray for my sister and her team. I'd really appreciate it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 27

I met Margie, today. She's a business owner in the area. Her business is in an old grocery store building from the '40s. She's built it up from its old shape, but it still has this awesome, old style exterior. We mostly talked shop, so we didn't make too much of a connection. That being said, she's the only person I met all day. So, this is all I've got for ya. Quick read.

This is the problem with running an honest blog. If I was morally unsound I could just make up an interesting person to write about. Their name would be Chartreuse, the extreme sportsman. We'd probably meet in the Alps, rescuing a pack of lost miniature Doberman puppies. Just imagine how awesome that would be!

... I need to hang out in the Alps more often.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I got to meet two people today, as promised. Oh wait, did I say two people? I meant THREE PEOPLE! Boo yah! That's right, people. I deliver.

First I met Jane, one of my neighbors. She was in her backyard clipping leaves from her garden. Why was she clipping leaves from her garden? To feed her rabbits, of course. You guys should have known that. We talked about the raspberry bush that grows on her fence. What I wanted to know was if I could eat some. I didn't have the guts to ask, though. Maybe next season.

Tonight I met 2 police officers. Legitimately, I mean. They weren't shoving me in the back of their car or anything. Actually this meeting started with their car. We were going out to buy my little girl a milkshake. On our way into the restaurant she noticed the police car. I showed her the lights and the colors on the car. She thought it was pretty cool. When we got in the building I noticed where the officers were sitting. I brought my daughter over to meet them, and they talked to us for a bit. I didn't want to keep them from their dinner, so we didn't stick around too long. I was proud of my little girl. I had to prompt her, but she shook their hands, and said, "thank you for keeping me safe." She's a cool chick.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I'm trying to decide if this classifies as "ironic."

So I woke up this morning on the heels of my, "woe is me! this blogging thing is hard!" post, ready to attack. "I'm gonna meet some people like CRAZY!" I said. Well, that was the pride. Here comes the fall.

Not only did my 2 year old act her age all morning, but this afternoon into the evening I was laid out with a brain-splitting headache. Not only did I not meet someone, but I got nothing done AT ALL today. I could write about somebody I met last week. Instead I'm going to take this opportunity to brag on my wife a bit.

Like I said earlier, I got knocked flat by a headache today. That sounds pretty weak, so let me offer a bit of background. I've gotten migraines for years, so I'm used to bad hurt. This headache I got today was more than a migraine. I've never hurt like this before. This left my pregnant wife in charge of our nut job daughter for a few hours. Not only did she do that and take her out of the house so I could get some rest, but she also got me a new hat. My wife is awesome. I just thought you guys should know.

My job tomorrow is to meet two folks. I don't like doing that, but I'm serious about this project.

Day the 24th

Dan's who I met today. He's a local pastor who gave me some advice about a sermon I'm giving this week. The trick about me preaching is that I'm not a preacher. This should be interesting.

I'm less than 10% through this attempt to meet someone new everyday for a year. I've got to say, it's getting more daunting. Some days the task of finding someone to talk to feels like pulling teeth. Some days I just want to hole-up in my house and never leave. What I keep reminding myself is that those feelings are what I'm trying to eliminate. Don't get me wrong, being alone is a good thing sometimes. There are definite benefits to having some time to yourself. What I'm fighting against is spending so much time away from people that I lose touch with the needs and hopes of those around me. I'm trying to connect with people, and allow their lives to effect mine. That's why I need to keep going.

... I hope I can keep going.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Day 23

Happy Labor Day, everybody! (See, I could have said happy labor dabor, everybody, everybody, but I DIDN'T!... wait... crap)

Today, I met Joe. Joe is a unique case for me, because Joe is 3 years old. Mind you, I met his parents, too. I just wanted to write about Joe. He was a cool little kid who made me laugh. First of all, his handshake was impressive. He had a pretty solid grip for having 2" fingers. Solid eye contact, too. If I didn't know any better I'd have thought he was running for office. He was talented, too. I was talking to his folks, and he decided to show me that he could hop on one foot. IN A CIRCLE! That's some amazing coordination. We didn't talk a ton, but we did get to play ball. That was fun. I haven't tossed a ball around in ages. I need to do that more often.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The double deuce.

I've got to cut back on the h-star references. You people are gonna think I'm a one trick pony. Or a three man one-y... 3-to-1 marny?

I met Chris today. He was visiting our church. We met after the service at lunch. He was a really clean cut guy. It was a bit surprising when he asked me if I'd seen Scott Pilgrim. I haven't, by the way. I'm really sad to admit that. Chris was going on and on about how great the movie was and how it spoke directly to our generation. He talked about how tragic it was that there's not enough box office support to encourage filmmakers to make more movies in kind. I agreed with him, and told him it was sad. I wasn't referring to my disgust at the commercialization of modern cinema. I was saddened by my assumptions about Chris. I figured, because he was well dressed and had a nice coif, that we couldn't possibly have anything in common. I am an 8 year old, evidently. I don't know if I'll ever learn that I can't judge a person by their appearance. Anyway, Chris and I did have a lot in common and had a great little conversation. He seems like a good guy. I'm just glad I talked to him. I could have allowed my stupid preconceptions to rob me of a good meeting.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

If days were years, this blog could buy beers.

Happy 21st, little blog! You're growing up so fast.

I met Isabella today. I was walking around my neighborhood when her two, gigantor dogs got my attention. These things were dog/bear hybrids. Terrifying. We didn't talk long, and mostly about her dogs. As ferocious as they looked, they were incredibly well behaved. They obeyed every word Isabella said. Still, I wouldn't trust them if I met them in a dark alley.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 20XX

20XX shouldn't be confused with 200X. Or with 20X6, for that matter. Those are all different birds, people. Altogether different.

Today I met Tashinia in the electronics section of Target. She was hunting down a gift for her young niece. It might have been the Mega Man shirt I was wearing, but she asked for help picking one out a video game. Her niece has a Wii, and Tashinia wasn't sure what kind of game she'd like. I mentioned that Nintendo had just come out with smaller remotes and nunchucks if she wanted to get something her niece could use regardless of the game. They light up. The buttons are bigger, too. More evidence that the Wii is killing with pre-teens and the elderly. Anyway, as I'm mentioning this to her, I see a set for sale. She ended up buying them. I should've asked Target for some commission. She was grateful and we parted ways.

It's nice to occasionally use my nerdiness for good instead of intentionally veiled, difficult-to-comprehend references. And this post has come full circle.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Red letter (more accurately, air quality) day.

I've never seen this happen before. My area was given a code red for air quality. Translated, no children or old people outside. So what did I do today? Took my kid to a place where we met some old people.

To be fair, I didn't find out about the air quality alert until after we'd left. We went to spend the morning at an art museum. I met an older lady in the gift shop. She talked mostly to my daughter, but I did get to talk to her a bit. I didn't get her name, though, so I'm kinda following the spirit of the law rather than the letter. Needless to say, once I got word about the red alert, I ran home and locked the door. Not much to report today. We'll see what tomorrow holds.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day 18, or 17 if you wish.

The meetings today were good. They weren't the life-altering events I'd hoped they'd be, but they were good, nonetheless.

First I met with John. We had coffee at a little gourmet in an outlet mall. John is a retired counselor of 30+ years. We only met for about an hour, but that hour was incredibly enlightening. As well as a counselor, John is also a Christ follower, and a strong one at that. His insights about God were breathtaking. He challenged me to study the Bible with more intensity, and to allow my heart to soak in those words. John also suffers from Parkinson's disease. He was once a preacher and public speaker. Now he can do neither. He quoted Paul, saying his struggle was "light and temporary." "How can I be upset about anything that's light and temporary?" He asked. I began to wonder if I could face a debilitating illness with that much faith. I'd like to think that I could, but that has never been tested. Part of me hopes it never is.

Hayley was my second appointment. She's a counselor as well, but she's only been practicing for a few years. Hayley and I share a common past. We're from the same home state, we both have a psychological background, and we are now involved in biblical counseling. She was able to give me some insight into how her practice worked, what her workload was like, the type of information I need before I begin to actually counsel as a profession, and so on. The conversation began and ended with Hayley adoring my daughter. She and my wife were able to join me at this last meeting. My little girl was being a little menace. Running back and forth, climbing on people, and spilling milk. I was pretty embarrassed by her behavior. Hayley, however, thought it was precious. Her response to my girl's wildness helped me remember that she is still in a wild age. 2, to be exact. Ages don't come any wilder than that. I need to be more patient and understanding with her. I need to remember that she won't be this young forever. I should enjoy this time while it's here.