DayAfter

nextday
I say I’m getting back to normal, but I doubt anyone feels that way the DayAfter. The holiday’s past, the short vacation’s over, but who feels normal then? Besides that twinge of familiarity huffing up the hill with me, the easy oblivion that routine always brings, this does not feel normal at all. It feels almost as alien as the first day on the job. I’ve been off the merry-go-round for a few cycles and I do not feel dizzy anymore; and I do not miss the easy disorientation that passes for normal most days. This morning tastes fresh. Not even the espresso bitters its sweetness.

I might have a choice today. The break in the routine disrupted long-preconscious patterns, and I woke up on purpose today; with purpose. I felt, in the absence of the usual yoke, a real sense of destiny, of capability, of present possibility. I could not slip more deeply back into my pillow to dread this day coming. I could make it different, create a new normal, and not repeat the patterns that tired old normal seemed to insist upon Slip over here for more ...

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OralMemory

cemetery
I understand that in the Irish tradition, marriages were proposed by the hopeful groom asking his prospective bride if she would consent to being buried with his family. This strikes me as both audacious and entirely appropriate, since my own family’s history can be plotted by clusters of gravestones in only a few, very distinct locations. Whatever the vagaries of westward migration and modern rootlessness, this tradition shows every promise of surviving even this century.

In more ancient times, of course, cemeteries were largely family affairs, a corner of pastureland, perhaps atop a hill, set aside for this unwanted but necessary service. Visiting the old home place included a trek to that hilltop to remember the prior inhabitants, too. But as we began settling into and around cities, it became fashionable to set aside community park land for these purposes. Slip over here for more ...

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ExpertTeasers

expertTeasers
The Muse was reading out loud juicy bits from an Inspector General report about a project she’d been watching augur into ever deeper ‘yogurt’ for months, and I heard myself responding, as distracted husbands often will, “Amateurs! Amateurs!” Most of us have seen what happens when someone with great expertise in one area finds them self assigned to an area they have no experience with. The new context easily gets mistaken for some familiar one, and with little more than the raw power of authority driving, auguring ensues. Experienced contributors might get savaged for resisting change when they mention complications only visible to someone, unlike the designated leader, with practical experience.

These adventures almost never turn out well. Often, it seems, the clueless decision maker will amplify his own cluelessness by engaging his expertise. Some manage to transcend this downward trend, though this seems to demand an almost inhuman ability: the unlikely ability to demonstrate expertise in NOT being an expert. Slip over here for more ...

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AttentionSpanner

spanner
I anticipated that after forty-some years of uninterrupted twice-daily meditation, I might have the focusing prowess of a yogi. No dice. I’m as easily distracted as I ever was, though I might, perhaps, have improved my ability to jump back into the stream I seem so easily ejected out of. I sometimes engage in ways that evaporate time when I’m engrossed in constructing a poem or an enticing piece of prose. Sometimes just picking up the old guitar transports me.

I seem easily distracted. This declaration weighs in at the rough equivalent of ‘I seem remarkably human,’ and serves as no real distinction at all. The advertisers understand and exploit this universal human trait. The supermarket surrounds me with so much visual stimulus that I lose all awareness of what I take in. My brain devolving into a mush of subliminally suggested memes, I try hard to shop on the periphery, lest the deep, dark corridors between completely subsume by intentions and free will. Slip over here for more ...

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Confessor

confessor
The visitor seems to naturally fall into the role of confessor. Perhaps this transformation occurs because the visitor carries a certain anonymity. Unlike the town priest who will still be there tomorrow and the next day, and also unlike the trusted old friend who might know the history a bit too well, the visitor has neither history nor legacy in your space, and so serves as the perfect vessel for offloading troubling secrets.

As a consultant, I’ve grown to expect my client’s whispered confessions. I hear about a lot more than the business difficulty, that’s for sure, and this should not be surprising since the business no more lives in isolation from the rest of its principal’s existence than the principal does. Those admissions carry the patterns reinforcing all the client’s complaints as well as clues to their resolution. I often need to engage no more fully than lending an attentive ear for my client to hear themselves resolve their own trouble. Slip over here for more ...

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