OrdinaryTimes 1.35-Circling

circling
In lieu of any instruction manual, I’ve been watching how I approach accomplishing. I have not been wearing a lab coat or keeping copious notes, but I’m getting the impression that I almost never do anything the easy way. I’d thought there might be a straight-forward path between there and done. If there is one, it usually eludes me. I circle around, turn back, sneak behind, then sidle in sideways on almost every objective from concocting supper to writing a song. I have found no strait and narrow.

I should be pleased. Heck, I really should be delighted with this discovery. My fifth grade teacher insisted I could move right in: choose a subject, outline the steps, then follow those steps to achievement, closure. But my fifth grade teacher, God rest her weary soul, might have forgotten about learning. In choosing a subject, I should rightfully reject several. In outlining the steps, I could decide that I didn’t know enough to outline the steps yet and go feral, sniffing along some uncharted path. Even then, the best I could ever pull off was a half-way indecent backing into a result. I never once found a front door.

I’ve been trying to get a haircut for a week. Last Thursday, I made it to the barber shop only to find the barber, Natale, on vacation until the third. On the third, I made it within a few blocks before the streets shut down to some flashing light emergency and I turned around to head home. This morning, three people were in line ahead of me, with one in the chair, and I didn’t want to spend the hours waiting for my turn. I’ll go back sometime later.

Completions seem almost magical convergences of intent and possibility, littered with a lot of near misses, also known as near hits. I’m learning that this is the way of the world. I don’t think I know anyone who just walks to the front door first try and steps through the threshold. Even if this were possible, it wouldn’t make decent theater.

I’m not alone in having been poisoned by a fifth grade teacher. Her heart was in the right place, but Lord knows where her head was. In project work, which passes as my profession, the experts still pose impossibilities worthy of any misguided fifth grade teacher, encouraging people to plan the steps, then follow them. Nobody ever manages to pull off this clever trick. But, you see, we don’t have a reliable circling algorithm to model this circling discovery ‘process,’ which hardly qualifies as a process in the first place. We would not believe these formulas if we had ‘em. If we didn’t know better, we’d have to conclude that we’re poking sticks in the dark. We really should know better than knowing better, we’re poking sticks in the dark.

I suppose these fairy tale objectives and outlines and step-following serves the perfectly decent purpose of reassuring us as we stumble forward—or backward—or sideways into our future. It takes most of us a long, long time to realize that the maps we learned how to construct in fifth grade were just supposed to distract us while we discovered the real path to the real objective. I might even achieve a haircut tomorrow, if the stars align just so.<p>

©2013 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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