Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sick day pt 2

My kid was up most of last night sick. She woke up early today sick as well. You guys know what's coming. You smelled it through your monitors. I didn't get out at all today. I didn't meet anyone. For shame.

I can offer naught but this piece of awesome solace. I call it, awesolace.

Tomorrow I have two appointments with individuals who could shape my future. They're both involved in my career path, and both could have immeasurable influence on my life. I come to you today with empty hands. Tomorrow, I will be at your doorstep with reports on 2 people, the likes of whom have never been posted about in the short life of my tiny blog. I ask that you wait, wait, my children. Patiently wait. For tomorrow, I bring the goods*. Mwa ha.

*'goods' may be replaced with 'bads', if these meetings go south. Offer not available in Montana, Delaware, and some counties in Ohio. Void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. Check local listings for showtimes.

Day 16 bit

I couldn't post last night because my daughter got sick. She rates higher than this blog on good days. On days when she feels pitiful and needs my attention, this thing doesn't stand a chance. I did meet someone, so I was only half a slacker.

To say that I look kinda like the guy I met yesterday is to say that the Pope is kinda Catholic. A barista at the coffee shop we met at thought we were brothers. Not only do we look similar, but we were wearing nearly identical clothes. Uncanny doesn't cut it. we were in a dimension not of sight or sound. Oh, did I mention we're both drummers? This meeting brought new meaning to the phrase, know thyself.

My doppleganger's name is Jason. (Or maybe I'm HIS doppleganger!!! duh, duh, DAAAAAAAAHHHHH!) Jason's a music therapist and drum circle facilitator. I walked over to meet him while he was doodling out cycles of chords based on Chinese scale structures. He explained what he was working on, and about 80% shot right over my head. This guy's a serious musician. He was the first drummer I'd talked to in a while, so I was pretty excited. We talked for nearly 2 hours. I can't relay everything we talked about, but I will say that he challenged me to strive to be better at what I do. Specifically as a drummer, but generally as well. Jason is a stellar drummer, but he doesn't stop with that. He applies that skill to many aspects of his life. He shows the same drive to be a better musician as he does to be a better therapist and businessman. He can do that because they all overlap. In this way he avoids putting something on the back burner to atrophy or be forgotten. Jason manages to keep these varying aspects of his life intertwined instead of entangled. He's an impressive guy.

As a Christ follower I'm taught to be pure. This purity refers to having a single focus that drives my life. Often times I become sidetracked and allow things to block my view of God. To speak musically, I allow discord in the song of my life by putting notes where they don't belong. Jason helped demonstrate how I could remove unnecessary notes and place those that harmonize in their appropriate place, thus creating a more thick and beautiful song. I'm still considering exactly how this works in my life. I'll let you all know what I come up with.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day 15

I attended some friends' house warming party today. What it ended up being was a family reunion with some 20-25 people I'd never met before. I come from a large, close knit family, and as I alluded to in the previous post, I don't live near them. That being said, I felt right at home with this group of people I knew nothing about. I met a few people, but the person I want to focus on in this post is the matriarch. Well, who I perceived to be in charge, anyway. I was truly blessed to have met and spent time with this venerable lady.

Jeanne, or Grandma Jeanne as she introduced herself, is the kindest and most interesting person I've yet written about for this blog. For the sake of anonymity I'll not write about her life story, however I got a good portion of it during the short amount of time that we talked. One story I want to focus on is her recent hospital stay. She was attacked by a dog near her house. She told me a number of the injuries she sustained. I'm no doctor, but it sounded like she nearly died. She spent days in shock trauma recovering. She lost hearing in one ear. I'm sure she's still in pain. However, after telling me this intense and violent story, what she ended with touched me deeper than anything else. She said, "You know what? My children and grandchildren came together to help me, and that made it all worth while." I couldn't help myself. I gave her a huge hug. I don't think she even knew my name yet, and I gave her this big bear hug. I had no choice! Anyone who puts their family on that level of priority deserves recognition, or more accurately, an embrace from a complete stranger.

Jeanne taught me to look at the positive results of a situation. She didn't tell me that any of the injuries she suffered were good, but the part she focused on was the good that came from them. She also showed me that I should reemphasize the importance of loving my family. There are few things in life as important as one's family. It's too easy for me to forget that, especially being so far away from mine. Thanks, Grandma Jeanne. I hope I get to talk to you again, soon.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Twofer. But also, threefer.

Since I was remiss in my self-made, arbitrary duties yesterday, I've decided to double my efforts. Literally. I met two people named Jason, today. Now you get to read about it.

The first Jason was a blue-collared guy who liked sports. You'd have to know me to get the full force of this, but that's not me. I sometimes pretend to like sports to converse with people, but that's the full breadth of my fanaticism. We did have some common ground in that we were both fathers. We talked about our kids outsmarting us. It was a good, if short conversation.

Jason 2 was introduced to me by a friend. The impetus was our shared home state, Tennessee. My friend assumed that that shared statehood would give us loads to talk about. That happens a lot. This time, however, it panned out. Jason was really nice. We had a long and apocalyptic discussion about the music industry. It was fun and informative. As a bonus, I could speak in my native drawl without being presumed stupid, poorly educated, and/or toothless. Normally I speak with a 'neutral' accent, meaning I emulate whoever I'm speaking to. I guess you could say I did that with Jason 2, too. Oh well.

Lucky number 13

On a Friday, too. Dangit. Yeah, i didn't meet anyone yesterday, so I'll have to do what i did for day 5 and write about a previous meeting. Sorry, guys. I'll apologize to both of you personally later.

Last week I met Mike. Mike had a seriously killer mustache. It was one of those Civil War age sideburns-to-mustache connectors that had about a 6 month growth. That mustache demanded respect, and I happily obliged. Anyway, Mike is a physics teacher and musician. Being a musician drummer myself we had a good deal to talk about. He told me that he has his students study the physics of sound and build their own instruments. That is amazing! I'd have loved that in school! I'm still so impressed by the physical component of sound waves. Impressed and completely uninformed. Mike was an encouragement to look deeper into the science of my music. I think one could follow that trail too deeply and lose track of the art of music. (I the end of that line of thought is what happened with Schoenberg and other atonal composers.) However a better understanding of why your instrument sounds how it sounds can lead to a more thorough form of play.

I think I tried to make up for missing my post yesterday by chasing rabbits today. Maybe if I confuse the readers they won't realize how bad I am at this project. So... did it work?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 12

Today I met Noel at the playground with my daughter. That's where I meet most people while I'm a full-time dad. Watching my daughter run around and, with no inhibitions, play with every child she comes in contact with, brings this whole project into perspective. Why is it that kids can socialize so freely while their parents wander around, head-long like social infants.

Noel is a self-proclaimed green-freak. Her family is looking to move soon. They're either looking to buy a house or build a recycled one. I'd never heard of recycled houses, so my peanut brain starts imagining putting a house in with your newspapers and bottles for pick-up day. (is anyone else noticing the unnecessary number of hyphens in this post?) It was encouraging to hear her talk about steps they've taken to be gentler to creation. I could definitely do more, and she encouraged me to step-up my efforts (one more, just for laughs). 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 11

Today I met Mary. She introduced herself at the farmers market. She heard me asking for the price of some peaches for my daughter I couldn't afford. She gave me one. Out of the blue. She accepted some payment for it after I pressed the issue, but not its full worth. She tried to walk away afterward, but I stopped her and looked her in the eyes and said, "thank you so much for your kindness." I know it wasn't much, but her heart was truly generous. I hope I can be more actively giving to strangers. Thank you, Mary. You made my day.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

x_10th day_x

Back when that xBandNamex thing was all the rage I wanted to name a band something like xpetuniax, or xbendystrawx. Just something that ripped the hardcore-ness from those bookend 'x's. I've always been edgy like that.

Today I met Chris. I barely counted this meeting, but it was the only one I had all day. Don't get me wrong, Chris was a fine guy, just not very talkative. Basically all I got from him was that the highway patrol was really bad on such-and-such road so I should watch my speed. Like I said, I hardly count this one.

Today threw me a bit. It was my first day back as a stay-at-home dad. I'd forgotten how little socializing this job allows. Now that I think about it, I started my downward spiral about the time I started watching my daughter full time a couple of years back. I wouldn't trade that time with my daughter for the world, but I recognize this as a big reason for my public hermit-ocity (refer to "About" section for description). I think the rest of this project may be a lot more difficult from this day forward. At least I only have the vast majority of the project left. Aye-ya. I'm gonna have to rethink my strategy, here. I'll let you know of any changes. Thanks for hanging in there, patient readers. I'll have to buy you two lunch sometime.

Monday, August 23, 2010

No number pun tonight. Just day 9.

I got my wish. I was approached by someone else. I didn't have to provide any of my own precious energy. This meeting just fell right in my lap. James approached me as I was walking into CVS. He was asking for money.

He said he just needed to get bus money to go home. He told me he'd been panhandling for an hour with no help. I told him he'd probably have a better time getting money if he wasn't standing within walking distance of a liquor store. He didn't comment. I wish I could have helped him with whatever he needed. He didn't want anything but cash, though.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pieces of 8

Today while I was walking around looking for someone to meet, I realized that I was looking for people to talk to who were similar to me. It bugged me that, if I continued like that, I wouldn't meet anyone new who'd help me change and grow. I also didn't want to single anyone out based on them not looking like me. I figured that would be just as fruitless and arbitrary. Right in the middle of this worthless inner dialogue I heard someone coughing behind me.

Eldie was nearly choking when I asked what was wrong. She suffers from acid reflux, but can't afford the meds that would help her. We didn't talk a ton, but at the end she asked me to pray for her. I was caught off guard. I hadn't mentioned my faith at all. My face must have showed my surprise, because she replied, "you are a Christian, right? That's why you talked to me, isn't it?" I told her I was, and that I'd pray for her. I was surprised, not only because she assumed I was a Christian, but also because she had a good opinion of us. That's not a common response for me.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Day seven. Met Steven.

I didn't want to approach anyone today. I just wanted to draw some attention so I could lazily draw somebody in to meet me instead. I wore, what I thought, was certain bait for an observant... observer. My "off duty ninja" shirt, and my skull and crossbones hat. "Surely, some nerd's gonna rail me for my paradoxical outfit," I thought. I was wrong. Nothing. Not even a second look. What a disappointment. I did manage to meet someone. I just had to do it the old fashioned way. Maybe tomorrow I'll wear a penguin suit and eat white apples through multi-colored windows. That's sure to get someone's attention.

Steve helped me get some 16' strips of quarter round out of Home Depot, today. They were remarkably bendy and brittle, which made them impossible to carry by myself. Not only did I meet Steve, but I also immediately imposed. I think this project is more intrusive than I originally considered. Steve was shopping out supplies for rebuilding his roof. Some friends from his church were helping him build. He was really helpful. Right in the middle of his own  responsibilities, too. He wasn't just being kind. He was sacrificial. I hope I can follow his example of putting my desires aside for the sake of a stranger.

Friday, August 20, 2010

6 is actually my lucky number.

It's true! Ever since I was a boy, I always considered 6 to be my lucky number. This preference had nothing to do with gambling, and everything to do with the endless friend surveys I used to fill out asking my favorite everything. Favorite letter, favorite food, favorite color. Come to think of it, these were the precursors to the nonsense Facebook surveys I'm occasionally asked to fill out. That's probably why I avoid them like a test tube full of plague.

Today I met Stacey. She seemed a bit nervous, actually. I couldn't put my finger on it at the time, but she just seemed a bit on-edge. That may, of course, have had something to do with a complete stranger introducing themselves to her. To be fair, I did have my daughter with me. She's 2 and obnoxiously cute. She tends to put people at ease. Not this time, though, or at least so it would seem. Stacey ended up giving her a plastic toy before we parted ways. Two things I learned from Stacey are, 1) strangers may be estranged for a reason, and I should give them space if they so desire it, and 2) plastic toys are great, so long as they don't talk. If they do talk, it's best if they don't have a two phrase vocabulary and a long-lasting battery. This little guy might be meeting Mister Blender before too much longer.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 4... and 5.

So, yesterday I met two people, and forgot to blog. Today I met no one, but remembered to blog. I'm going to have to call that even for now.

Yesterday morning I met Tom. Tom's a pastor, and has been for a few decades. His car had just been stolen, but he didn't care. He cared enough to call the police, and drive around his neighborhood to try and find it, but he wasn't bothered by the experience. His concern for people outweighed his concern for possessions, at least on this occasion. I earnestly hope he finds it, though.

In the afternoon I met Hayley.  Hayley's a counselor, I job I hope to have someday. She told me about the work she does and gave me some pointers about finding work in my area. She was incredibly helpful. We're going to meet again soon to discuss this further.

I know I cheated on this post a bit. Sorry. I'll try not to let it happen again. What's that? You forgive me? You think I'm awesome even if I bend my own arbitrary rules? Aww, man! You guys are the best!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

3 days down, too tired to figure out how many to go.

This post very nearly didn't happen. At 10:16 tonight I looked at my wife, and, in a moment of stark realization said, "holy crap! I haven't met one person all day!" Off I go in the social-mobile. Into the night. Into the unknown. Into the... cripes. The gas light just turned on.

I met Tim tonight. Quite a guy. I walked right in the middle of a heated debate he was having about 911 truth conspiracy theories. Just one of the risks of putting myself out there, I guess. Tim seemed really thoughtful. It says something about a person who keeps their head during a conspiracy theory debate. Tim's consideration was that people who believed things in the face of contrary facts weren't dumb, as some might say, but simply illogical. We didn't talk long, and to be fair, I more or less listened. In that short time, though, he called all religion a bunch of conspiracies. Being a Christ follower, I immediately took offense. "How dare he?" I thought. But then I thought better of it. Why on earth should I take offense about someone's opinion? I see evidence of the Judeo-Christian God everywhere, but maybe Tim doesn't. He reminded me not to take my beliefs for granted. I hope I get to talk to him again, soon. Maybe we can have a non-heated debate about God. I like those a lot better than the heated variety.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day two. The real test.

Why Is it so difficult to continue a commitment. I nearly went all day without meeting someone. That would have been the shortest project in history. Excepting, of course, for all the projects which only lasted a day. Those can't number more than a few thousand, right? I digress.

Today was busy. More than usual. Right in the midst of it, though, I met a lady named Adrian. (Am I the only one who hears Rocky Balboa shout that name every time I read it?) She told me about her new job and the difficulty she was having with it. She mentioned how tough it was learning a new set of skills, especially since the company she works for constantly changes their policies. She never stopped smiling, though. Throughout her story she kept on smiling. I never got to find out why, exactly. I had to leave before we got that far. I'm afraid that's the best I've got for today. I'll try to aim higher in the future.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

First, there was Grace

I just got in from a long road trip. We stopped at an Arby's for lunch and let my two year old run off some of the energy she'd accumulated in her car seat. She was running circles around the empty ordering area when she took a turn too fast and fell hard to the floor. She bruised her cheek and cut her lip. There was much in the way of screaming. After we got her cleaned up and calmed down a bit, a cashier came to our table. She gave my daughter a handful of kid's meal toys to cheer her up. Then she just walked away. I went and thanked her later and actually got to talk to her a bit. Her name is Grace.

Grace has a great granddaughter that she is very proud of. She was itching to be done with her shift so she could go home and see her family. Evidently they live away from Grace, so their time together is precious. When I thanked her for being so kind and generous, she looked like she was about to cry. I didn't get to talk to her for very long, but the little bit I did hit me hard. I live away from most of my family, and my daughter is the only grandchild and great grandchild. Grace reminded me how difficult that distance can be for grandparents. I'll probably never see her again, but I was privileged to get to meet her. I'm going to pray that she gets to see her family more.