Thursday, November 29, 2007

Action and reaction

Today, a total random incident which provoked a serious thought: In the course of my normal work environment interaction, I responded to a coworker with what is often my satirical dry wit at my place of employment. Her reaction was less enthusiastic. Then, later in the day, I reacted in a calm, pleasant, positive manner, and got a distinctly different reaction.

This led to another thought: how am I interacting with everyone around me? How am I interacting with the Ravishing Mrs. TB? Is it as an adult, or do I still act and react according to a behaviour or maturity level that used to work for me, and I still believe it does?

The question is not an idle one. If much of an individual's response to me is how I present myself to them, and I am presenting myself to them in a way that gets the responses that I have always gotten, and therefore associate with "Okay", is it real or am I just continuing to play music off an 8 Track in an MP3 world and thinking the sound quality is great?

In speaking with Bogha frois about this issue tonight, I hypothesized that it was a question of behaviour and maturity, that one could change one's maturity and have a modified for of behavior, or not change behaviour and maturity. Bogha frois disagreed, presenting a couple of example where if the maturity level did not change, the behavior did not change, but instead got transmuted into age appropriate situations - boys who love toy cars have real, large, expensive toy cars; girls who loved to gossip about others in their social circle of friends becoming women (homemakers or professionals) who loved to gossip about others.

I think the jury is still out for me on this, as I can see both sides: there are forms of behavior I have changed as my situation has changed and I have matured, but are still recognizable echoes of myself (but are they good), and there are behaviors that have stuck with me all these years, as they have transformed with my life and situations (oddly enough, mostly bad habits).

If I interact with the Ravishing Mrs. TB as I interacted with her as a girlfriend and newlywed, I am not likely to get the same response as if I examined my level of maturity and changed my behavior to act accordingly. One example is that while I think that the help that I give around the house is a demonstration of my love, or being "hopelessly romantic" in hopes of getting my way, a more practical method might be to do the things that it is evident need to be done, but that she has not been able to do - the things I selfishly don't like to do, like paint, or trim bushes, or put laundry away. This represents a maturity level - moving out of my self-centeredness - and resulting in a change in my behaviour.

I'll continue to think about it. Odd how a single incident can prompt such a string of thoughts.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Quiet Space

An evening where I felt quiet. Not for any reason that I can divine - often times these are brought on by depression or sadness, but neither of these things am I consciously aware of.

But you come home and you have quiet space - not feeling the need to communicate, not feeling the need to participate, just feeling the need to be solitary inside - "as an oyster", as Dickens said of Scrooge.

Perhaps it is an unconscious thing, a realization underneath that something has occurred which is great import, but is not recognized as such by your mind (if it happened today, I've no idea what it was). Oftentimes my own mind will run off on tangents, places I have no idea where it is going, because it sees a thought or connection it needs to complete to make sense.

I'm not sure - all I know is that tonight, there is quiet space within me, that vaguely ominous feeling that something occurred and I missed it.

And, unfortunately, the silence doesn't speak of its own accord....

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Da Derga

I was going to write about something today, but now I'll write about something else.

It will surprise those who know me over the last 5-10 years that prior to then, I had a very different life. Some of it you know, in part: college professor, teacher, retail worker extraodinaire, water and coffee exporter, dreamer. The part you probably don't know is that at one time, I had a musical career.

Da Derga, the fabulous harp/vocal/bodhran group of Toirdhealbheach Beucail and Cleasiche fionnadh, which existed form 1994 -1995. We did music from all six of the Celtic Countries (Yes, as a side note, I play the harp - but not as well as I used to, probably part of the problem). We did shows, we sang in both English and in Celtic tongues (Toirdhealbheach Beucail is actually Old Gaelic for "Booming, Thundering, Roaring X" [X, of course, being my real name], in the sense of a roaring or booming cannon, which if you know me, know this is true: I'm loud!). I played the harp, and Cleasiche fionnadh sang and played the bodhran.

Why do I puzzle this now? Because it was something I loved to do. I practiced every day, I walked around muttering obscure languages, I actually got paid for playing!

Why do I write this? Because we made a decision at some point: tour or stop. Essentially, I entered the work force, moved to the South Bay, and got "A real job". Do I regret this? No, in many ways - that job, and the jobs that have resulted from it, have enabled me to travel, to support myself and my family, and given me greater income opportunities that I would have otherwise believed.

But still there is a part of me, the lyrical, musical, fantasy part, that was turned away that day - and is powerful. How do I connect that part with the reality of today?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Why didn't the chicken cross the road?

The Ravishing Mrs. TB and myself went away for the weekend to the South Bay - just us, no kids. It was remarkable - we talked about our lives, and where we wanted to go; we ate meals and didn't fight over eating or sharing crayons - in one event, we just appetizers and dessert for dinner, and lingered over our meal for two hours!; we shopped without chasing kids under the clothing racks.

We even lingered in bookstores.

At which, for the first time in almost a year, I purchased a book from a bookstore- and a book just based on my review of it in the store: The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching! by Jeffrey Gitomer.

But all vacations must end. I felt myself tensing up as we got closer to home, and Mrs. TB was doing the same. For myself, it was the dread of work coming towards me.

In reading my new book, one of the author's points is that you have to believe in yourself and your product to sell it. If I am my product, do I believe in myself? Do I present that way?

This prompted me to review my CV, and having seen a lot of CVs lately, I can tell you that mine looked like everyone else's: each job, dates, name of company, followed by the summary description of what I did (which looked like the previous one) in order to build a "history" of experience.

Blah. The darn thing looks blah. I wouldn't hire me - and I'm stuck with me.

Jobs? Not a problem, no matter my own perception and excuses. On a job website for my industry, 8 pages of jobs under a version of what I currently do.

(Start Aside)

On a side note (and worthy of discussion at a later time) is that pessimists tend to be pessimistic (in other news, Sun rises in East. News at 11). People thrive physically, spiritually, and financially in all circumstances, including potentially bad economic ones. Instead of looking at the headlight of the oncoming train and thinking "Hmmm, that looks weird", shouldn't you at least get off the track?

(End Aside)

I have set my sights too low, settled for what I could get without struggle rather than tried to see how far I can reach. There is a brave new world in my industry, and I'm stuck in the 1980's - because I choose to remain there.

Why didn't the chicken cross the road?

Because who knows what's on the other side.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Talking to your wife

I realized the other day the my conversations with the Ravishing Mrs. TB are not near to the level of my interactions with other females I interact with, primarily through my job. Why is this, I wondered? It's not as if I have any more personal relationship that that with my wife, nor that one more enduring (think about it - how many coworkers do you work with in a lifetime?)

Is it the intellectual "content" of the conversations? Perhaps - but tell me how the discussion of matters that don't matter in five years is somehow "intellectual".

A two part problem, perhaps, one caused both by the habit of not talking to each other due to schedules to the point you feel you have nothing to speak about once the basics of communication are complete.

The other is a direct failure on my own part: how much do I seek to truly cultivate the art of conversation with my wife? How much do I seek to discuss with her matters of import to me, or matters of interest to her? How much do I eek to engage directly in the issues of the date and the future? How much do I share about myself?

How come this list seems to focus on my own shortcomings?

Probably because they are so manifest...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

God getting your attention

God got my attention yesterday:

1) I got an e-mail from at work indicating that I was the holdup on a major project at work. Senior management was carbon copied on the e-mail.

I felt like being two steps away from screaming "I quit". I know why it was done - someone needed the item taken care off, and chose to go this route to get it done.

I was angry because already that day I had been doing things to support clients - getting documentation into order to support projects, catching up on old projects, etc. My reward: You're the roadblock.

I came home and spent an hour at night ensuring that everything was in order, dreading the thought as I did it "You missed X" - but it could not afford not to be done.

I get angry just writing about it.

But did it serve me well? What did I desire, what was I denied?

Respect. Acknowledgement - indeed, worship. validation. To be seen as respected - not treated as recalcitrant.

I struggled today with going in, being Christlike, not showing anger, meeting everyones' requests humbly, not asking for recognition.

I hate it. I want to be respected and desired so badly, I could cry