See it?

The best place to hide something is in plain sight. The more obvious it is, the less likely anyone is to notice it. Let’s look at a good example of this effect and see if you see it. Ready?

Ever worked in a team, been part of a group? If so, you probably walked in feeling pretty good about yourself. Now don’t misconstrue that bit. Yes, maybe they were fools, maybe it was a waste of time and maybe it was doomed to fail but you probably still thought yourself decent enough. Then it all starts. A few “specialists” get added, opinions sought, work groups split off, oh dear. Before long all motivation has left. As the group and its distractions grow the output drops. Soon enough you are left with the belief that a quiet room and a couple of motivated people would have gotten this done in far less time and would have had far better results. Sound familiar? It really isn’t rocket science and it’s blatantly obvious to good leadership but I digress.

It seems that as people are added to a situation output drops. Individuals no longer feel the spotlight. Their voice ceases to be as special, their ideas begin an incremental loss of value, their feeling of import diminishes and their engagement/output put tapers. What was once a committed team player is now just a somewhat depressed person hoping the game will end sooner rather than later. Again, none of this is a newsflash to an experienced leader or anyone who has seen government blaze through any given action. The solution at such moments is simple and yet we see it as bold. Give people responsibility then listen to them, see them and watch them amaze you. Oversight is still needed, leadership still needs to exist, praise is still needed and communication is still important. All that has really changed is engagement, output and overall feel of the environment. Still no newsflash so where does this leave us?

Well, I do believe we were looking at things hidden in plain sight weren’t we? Hmmmmm……, what is a good example of all that blathering above?

“Oh, oh, me, me, I know the answer!”

“Yes C?”

“How about the seemingly inexplicable bond that exist in a certain type of relationship and the happiness that many find in it?”

“Oh my, that is right there in plain sight where no one would notice it. That failure to see it might lead some to muck up important details though. Why don’t you explain more clearly for the class….”

Ok, here’s the deal.

It’s still human interaction. True, a certain bent may bring it on but…. it’s still a relationship. It’s easy for any relationship to get lost. First you’re in love, awwww! Then you have jobs, a house, kids, pets, car maintenance, redecorating the kitchen, a PTA meeting, ball practice, a picnic next weekend, grrrr…! What happened, we just wanted to be in love and now we are two ships at night in different oceans! “I feel lost, unseen, unimportant, ignored…..” Then comes the brief magic found in “the way”. Wonderful! Hey, wait, why doesn’t it work after a month? Others are happy after 20 years, why not us?

It’s still a relationship silly. You have to see and be seen lest you end up with a regular relationship that simply has an added layer of clutter.

When she kneels by the bed she feels vividly aware of his attention. When she cleans the counter that he will check as he drops off his phone the task has great importance. When dressing, rules and his preferences guide her as she checks the mirror again. Her thoughts, actions and well being now seem to all have importance and she is mindful of them. No longer hidden in plain sight she has power, responsibilities and importance, value. Him?

He now feels her wait for his word. That hated, hideous top is out of the wardrobe because his opinion matters. He doesn’t see a meltdown as quickly, rather he is heard out. He feels respected and yet he knows it is up to him to lead and lead wisely, he feels the weight of his engagement in their life. No longer hidden in plain sight, he has power, responsibilities and importance, value. The relationship?

Oh, it suddenly matters. It is above all else. For that reason all else goes much better. Suddenly a team of two has this. They blow your mind as a couple. The trick is to hold discipline and maintain for the twenty years. Like any other tasks, perseverance is key but maybe the kinkery is less a key to the success than one might have believed. Maybe it is the focus and responsibility to outcome each feels?

Hmmmm, a fundamental truth on relationships hidden in plain sight amongst day to day interactions out and about, who would believe it.

Class adjourned.

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Respectfully yours?

Just another day. Hopefully today will see a better job done than yesterday as, in hindsight, I should have realized my exhaustion and let that story wait until it could be done well. Oh well…., still figured it wouldn’t hurt to stop in with a message and a (partial) recap of the day. First the message.

Another friend passed this week. Now this gentleman was well into his years and had made his peace. His passing wasn’t a surprise but rather it was a waiting game. Still, that’s two good folks in eight days so…., I reckon the message is obvious. There appears to be a chance that knowing me can cause death. Now it’s a bit early to be sure of it but you might want to unfollow me and then go wash your hands just to be on the safe side. Just saying…….

His family sent me the obituary to check over. Had to laugh as I read it. I realized that I couldn’t recall having ever heard his Christian (first) name! All these years and yet there had never been a reason to need it or know it. Given his uncommon surname, no one ever uttered his Christian name. An odd and neat thing at the same time. He was a member of a way that is disappearing daily. Very, very few of them left. Those were “my” people and I miss them. I miss people who hold themselves (and those around them) to a standard of decency and respect. They saw intrinsic value in themselves AND others. Earlier today saw an encounter that brought this disconnect into plain relief.

I met with a well dressed, well educated lady in a business setting. She walked up and started talking without seeing if I was free at the moment. The air about her made it clear that she understood how very important she was AND that her matter took priority. Hmmm…., really. After a few sentences her tone softened. She was appearing to reconsider her position and think another tack was needed so she tried to soften things up. Pointing to herself she said “Hi, I’m Elizabeth and you are….” as she pointed to me.

Now I could have asked about the pointing because there were only two of us there and I assumed she wasn’t introducing an invisible friend but I let that bit go and simply said “I’m Mr. C”. “Oh” she replied “what’s your name”? “Mr. C”. “So that’s your name?” “Yes ma’am.” Well, from there I helped a very confused, contrite lady with her conundrum and then she departed. A few hours later, she was back. This time she brought a gentleman. She introduced him by his first name then feigned not remembering mine. Poor girl.

I played this game with him but he didn’t bat an eye. His humble manner carried the game and all was well when they headed away a couple of minutes later. Glancing, I almost chuckled. You see, I clearly saw the little girl watching how I handled that second encounter. She thought she was invisible but I watched as she listened intently, fascinated and curious. She wondered about my bearing. Was I sexist? Stuck up? Arrogant? Rude? Yet I was polite both times, hmmmm… She would be back very soon. And so she was.

When she approached again, I had to admire the intellectual honesty she opened with and the humble nature of her questions. I appreciated that she listened respectfully as I explained manners, names, introductions and self-worth. Her questions were polite and worthwhile. It was sweet to see the little girl realize that she could trade on WHO she is as opposed to WHAT she is. She straightened herself up and began to beam with pride for having had the courage to speak. She went from unsure and afraid to bold and proud. She suddenly saw HER value and not the value of her ridiculous title. Someone had shown her how to show HER self-respect and see that value in others.

What a tall lady that woman is even before she added the heels. Watching her turn around with a sure grin and stride away, it was hard not to notice how she had grown taller still. It was also not hard to see the little girl suddenly and simultaneously skipping while thinking deep, important thunks. Now, next time I’ll teach her how to walk in heels then, maybe later, how to match up an outfit. Nah, I think I’ll let those lessons slide. Instead, I’ll keep missing a day when everyone carried themselves that tall, knowing that they were valuable because of how they valued themselves, no t-shirts, name tags or titles required.

Now don’t forget to wash your hands. Can’t be too careful with these things you know.

“Stup-aid”

Well now, I see that WP is still a herky-jerky pile of happiness. Hope you have been well lately. Thought I would drop in and share an idea for something both useful and new. Feel free to work out the functional bit and market it once you get it perfectly functional. So….

Did a moments reading as I just ate. The writer confirmed (yet again) that she is a very special child indeed. The op-ed did not bother me because of the opinion. Rather the opposite as I read such things for the purpose of helping educate myself on the opinions of others. Might not always agree with the speaker but I am interested in hearing them out. Some though…..

Her opinion was very hard for me to agree with but it gets to be her opinion and (remember) I read it by choice. That said, what a stupid path she took to reach what she felt to be a decision and a column. Remember Ignorant, Dumb and Stupid? Well her path left my head hurting. Really, she got rich turning in pieces like this? Hmmmmm….., there has to be a solution. Then it hit me, Eureka!

Remember when Mommy used to put a Band-Aid on your boo-boos? Ok, now imagine a tan beanie hat with adhesive around the lower half inch on the inside and a (insert technical details here) on the inside in the center. Upon witnessing some such action or words you would peel the protective layer off the adhesive and slap this on the stupid person’s skull, kiss their forehead and say “there, that should help” or something similar. The (undeveloped) bit in the center would fix the stupid. It is a Band-Aid for stupid, the Stup-Aid!

There, just invent the center bit and the world will improve and you will be ruch!

Today

Well, to be fair, we won’t start with today but we will get to it. We start with earlier in the week and a commitment made. Today I’ll attempt to deliver what I then promised for “tomorrow”. Let’s see if life interrupts my narrative or if I reach an end before today rolls to another tomorrow. Now, my thought is an extension on a previously held lesson that I want to share with her but you may find it useful as well.

As a young man I held a job in town. Most afternoons I left school and headed there. Each time I arrived about a half hour early. Visit awhile then clock in, no big deal. One bright fall morning the principal came to class and wanted to see me. Odd because, for once, I couldn’t think of anything done wrong that day. Nope, not me, my grandmother. She had passed that morning. Pulled my siblings from class and headed for her house with a heavy heart.

That she passed wasn’t the issue. The doctor said that if she started smoking again she’d be dead in six months and she had been smoking again for awhile so…. No, the issue was with me after all. I drove past her front door headed to work early on a regular basis. I had never stopped in. And I was too late to rectify the wrong, to apply the important lesson I had learned that day. Pity really. But, going forward, I could and I did. I learned to take a moment to enjoy my trip to that day. Elderly neighbor mowing, stop and say hi. Remember a funny moment, call and remind the other. Never again wait “until there’s time”. A very useful lesson that has served me well up to today.

So, we’re back at today but we skipped an important day last week. It stands out because we buried a friend. Good guy. Got to meet his kids at the funeral. Got to hear the story of each and hear their sorrow. The source of the sorrow would seem obvious but it wasn’t. This was a good guy who passed far too soon. Each child was so busy that they had planned to call or visit “tomorrow”. Sound familiar?

Each had been months since stopping by and weeks since calling. It’s easy to condemn but hold on before you mount that 18 hand horse. Have you told those you love today that you love them? Did you visit someone you have been meaning to see? Did you thank someone for their leadership? Did you thank someone for their submission? Did you use your trip today wisely? If you did, give the horse a break and rest well. If you didn’t, mount your high horse but do so in order to go rectify the mistake of your day.

Be a shame for us to both live with such an avoidable regret wouldn’t it?

Pets

I do love them, most types anyway.

Head is a mess, a small mess but still a mess. There was a post I wanted to write two nights ago but the day was too long. Yesterday there was a short funny to share but WP was not in a mood to insert the picture and without it….. Then there is today. Today I still owe a lady a thought, I still have a joke to share and this morning a point worth sharing crystallized. But, the head is bad so I attempted to sit (Good boy) and rest. As soon as I did, the need to contact the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) for work came to the fore. So I called. Yeah, Bad boy. Well, I’m not good at sitting so sue me. Anyway….

That brings us to another pet. This one of the Peeve varietal. All throughout the hold messages they have useful information for their “customers”. Let’s be very clear here as this matters. WE ARE NOT CUSTOMERS. WE ARE THE EMPLOYER. WE, by our elected representatives, CREATED THE ENTITY AND STAFFED IT. We did this in order to collect funds that we agreed to forfeit for our common good as a people. Working in a government entity is a position of service to other citizens. They are not “customers”, they are employers and should be treated with respect. To view them as “customers ” is a rather unhealthy skew of power and we, as citizens, are unwise to allow this creep to occur. We do so at the risk of forgetting our responsibility to our society. We are to serve it, not the other way around. That change denotes death within a system.

That this goes on unseen is an entirely different peeve but really, I should rest shouldn’t I?

Note to Self:

Got an unexpected call last night that resulted in going to bed late AND getting up early. A few hours of hard, fast work was followed by church. Home for 90 minutes before I’m gone again and lunch takes 15 so…, methinks I’ll leave Grumpy under the shade of a tree and check damage with some of those extra minutes.

A quick look showed that the sudden windstorm last night did no serious damage. Went to check the apple tree that is coming in to see if any fell. Surprisingly, none did! Picked one to share with the mutt as we walked back to the house. Some days those steps on the porch look mighty step, sorta makes you feel old as tired bones creak on them.

Stop at the top to rub the mutts and ponder that those I saw die so young never got to feel so old.

Irritant

This morning I tried to find an old post. WP was its usual obstinate, clunky self as it bounced randomly between screens and continually flipped from “frontend” to “backend”. Though it makes for a nice show I remember 30 years ago well enough to miss neither the look nor the font. Now I am here again with a thought and it looks like I’m writing onscreen in 1992! Ironic then that I came with a random thought regarding a random irritant. Wonder how this will present once published. Let’s see shall we?

Anywho, went out and started doing routine maintenance on Grumpy while it was still cool. Cool and humid beats hot and humid so….. Well I needed my maintenance log. Opened the center console and got it. Also pulled out the requisite paperwork to cull the old and insert the new. There! There is my irritant, right there on my registration card.

I have known Grumpy since he was 6 months old. I know the mileage to be accurate. When I went to register the title over in my name the nice lady at the Division of Motor Vehicles made an error as she wrote on the original title. She drew a line through the error and wrote the correct mileage. When she handed the title over to another worker to print, they noticed the error. They said that because there were two different numbers, there was no way of knowing actual mileage. Now, bear in mind that they were taking my word at face value anyway AND the truck was sitting a 150′ away in the parking lot! “Doesn’t matter, we can’t confirm mileage and with two numbers on the title we can’t ensure which is correct.”

Throughout the exchange the first lady openly (and properly) admitted and took responsibility for her error. “Doesn’t matter…..” is all her boss had to say. So I walked out with a shiny new title stating that Grumpy’ mileage is “Not Actual”. In layman’s terms it means that the odometer is to be considered legally inaccurate. This deals a serious blow to resale AND insurance values. Now, I have no intent of ever selling the truck. Didn’t matter, it annoyed me. So I took the step that I would advise anyone else to take, I called the main office.

The fine folks there advised that there is no solution, no compromise and no review. All actions are deemed valid and perfect if completed by one of their infallible personnel. Several more attempts were met with a similar outcome and, right about then, a bomb befell my world. Really, those words don’t determine the value of Grumpy to me nor do they lessen the truck in any way. (Really?!? WP, you piece of poo, why publish when I’m one sentence from the end? Grrr….as I were….) But sometimes I will catch sight of that thing that doesn’t matter and it still bugs me. The trick is overlooking the irritant to see the truck which doesn’t irritate at all!