Rendered Fat Content


Claude Monet: Stack of Wheat (1890/91)

"Wrong-footed, I sprint for the finish line."

After a week of reporting solid progress, my SetTheory efforts finally hit their wall (again.) The first principle of all forward momentum mentions this wall as a certainty, an inevitability, not a possible encounter but an unavoidable one. This wall generally appears early in an effort, as the usual notional initiation notices that its context differs from what was earlier imagined and planned upon. The experience always feel deflating, as if some cruel mistake had been made against the proceedings. Most efforts manage to recover, albeit almost always on different terms than originally imagined. The possible takes over from the original imaginal intentions and the effort resumes, and often in a different direction. Initial notions of end results almost always amount to fantasies. The quality of leadership usually devolves into the acceptance of some closer semblance of reality over the originally motivating fantasy. The Wall reigns eternal, though. One can choose to go over, around, or through it, but ignoring it never works for long.

Ignoring it almost always seems the preferable alternative when it first appears.
I tend to first treat it as if it were a mirage, not real, an illusion. This response initiates what's known as a Late Status Quo Period, where the quality of my experience slowly degrades until I can no longer ignore the intrusion. For a few days, though, I regain my Old Status Quo, preserving my original vision, and think myself clever and more powerful for my response. Of course, I've already undermined any possibility of preserving my reassuring past merely by recognizing the complication on my horizon. Once seen, these walls cannot be unseen except by willful blindness, which ultimately also undermines progress by failing to fully acknowledge whatever it so steadfastly refuses to focus upon. Walls unacknowledged just grow more insidiously powerful.

Eventually, me and my petulant twelve year old traveling companion, the one dedicated to undermining whatever I might be doing, might slow forward progress to consider the difference encountered. The resolution will then seem an impossible intrusion, as if it were an expectation that we'd have to reinvent the universe to continue moving forward. Often, some study's indicated. We'll have to finally read the freaking manual I've so assiduously avoided up until then. The manual will have been written in that dialect favored by technical writers who specialize in explaining technology so that only smug technical writers who specialize in explaining technology to themselves could ever understand. That will have been why the technical manual passed muster and was released with the product. The engineers and designers couldn't explain their creation to even the technical writers, and there was nobody else around to review the material and sign off in approval, certainly not any actual user. One's generally well-advised to avoid reading the manual at all cost, at least until The Wall intrudes and forces one's hand, dammit.

I test drove my audio interface on my Friday PureSchmaltz Zoom Chat and learned that it would not work as I'd imagined. I'd earlier learned from a colleague about Zoom's raft of special switches which might help preserve the quality of live performances, but invoking those left my audience receiving only one channel of sound. Giving the audience both channels left me with only one. I found no resolution and so convened while listening to the proceedings through only my left ear. This could have been the result of a loose headphone connection or faulty switch setting. Further, I'd tried to broadcast a small performance, a part of a tune captured as video, and found the result ghastly. Sound inadequate, video worse. I suddenly saw the array of switches set before me, and realized that I had no idea what any of them were actually for or how to properly set them so that I might succeed in what I'd imagined I would be doing.

Late project Walls tend to be the most unsettling. They appear after considerable investment in the suddenly unworkable alternative. They elicit feelings of simply starting over again, except that bouncy feeling usually accompanying new beginnings was worn down to an unrecognizable nubbin by then. The naivety necessary to broker a new beginning could not be mustered then for all the tea in China and then some. An unplanned mourning period settles over the effort, which will never be what was originally intended, but must evolve into something different, which, of course, my wounded optimist can only perceive as worse. Such An Inconvenient Time reeks of importance and cannot be successfully avoided, however well-intended my attempts. I am screwed and deeply feel it. Whether this ultimately works depends upon what I choose to do in response. I'm cracking manuals and seeking help. Wrong-footed, I sprint for the finish line.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

blog comments powered by Disqus

Made in RapidWeaver