Hating Your Job

I don’t like most of the places I’ve worked, and considering that I’ve been earning a living for over 40 years, that’s a huge, massive chunk of a mortal lifetime to be spent doing something you really dislike.
With the passing of my good friend Carolyn, who also spent a good part of her all too short life in jobs she really hated, I find that the little tolerance I had for bad situations is gone.

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Word Problem

My degree is in Mathematics, but I’ve never been good at word problems, like this one:
Suppose there are two trains on parallel tracks but heading in opposite directions.
The first train is headed East, and leaves the station at 6 PM going 40 miles per hour.
The second train is headed West, and leaves the station at 7 PM going 50 miles per hour.
If the stations are 400 miles apart, when will the trains meet?

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Wishing He Would Just Go Away

I really wonder if my neighbors share the political preferences of the 90% of Black Democrats who supposedly voted for Barack Obama.
I wonder if the obviously well-off, albeit dark-hued pundits who claim to speak for “the community” do, in fact, speak for the folks of means as modest as my own who I trade with, live near or who send their kids to the same school as my grandchildren.
If they do, then I’m inclined to want to avoid them, people I’ve considered friends and associates for years: who needs to spend time, do business or socialize with anyone who has fallen into that oh-so-familiar pattern of whineyness, petulance and race-based hostility.
I did my penance in the 60’s. I don’t want to live through times like that again.
I am one data point to support the following premise: Barack Obama and his so-called liberal advocates have done more damage to the cause of race relations in the United States than 1,000 David Dukes, George Wallaces or for that matter, Rudolph Hesses ever could.

No Stamina

I thought when I improved my health habits this year that I’d have more energy than I’d know what to do with, but that, regrettably, has not been so.
Last Monday I got back from a 4-day business trip, not to Spain or Asia, but to New Orleans. After the trip, I couldn’t seem to pump enough fluids into myself, and just going to work, taking nourishment and sleeping was more than enough activity.
This was school vacation week, so yesterday, I picked up the kids for an overnight at the local Holiday Inn. I figured we could take in a ball game and/or maybe a ride to Battleship Code, but we decided to just enjoy the pool, spend some time at a nearby playground and take our meals at the excellent in-house restaurant.
So, for the last 24 hours, I haven’t had to cook or clean, but I’m totally wiped out.
This is just not a state of affairs that I’m used to, and I’m wondering if I was healthier when I was unhealthy. If you know what I mean.

Big Easy

I don’t know how New Orleans got that nickname, but for sure, it has the most unique combinatorics of any city this traveler has ever visited.
Not that it matters, but contrary to movie and TV stereotypes, natives pronounce the name of their city “New Orleans”, not “Nawlins”; those parts of the city through which the Mississippi flows are above sea level; and violent criminals do not lurk on every corner. I walked around unaccompanied during daylight hours, and saw plenty of other people doing the same.
The downtown area seems to have recovered from Katrina. We stayed in a hotel across the street from Harrah’s, and that part of the city, the Warehouse/Arts District, is dedicated to tourism, with hotels on every block.
We got to “the Quarter”, Bourbon Street, took the free ferry across the Mississippi River and back, and in a deliberate homage to New Orleans as literary muse, I made it a point to ride on one of her famous streetcars to the Garden District.
The cuisine is fabulous, out of this world, especially for fish lovers. Every meal, including the Rotary food festival across the street from the hotel where I took supper one evening, was savory and delicious.
The city is very walkable because it’s so flat, but it was hot and humid enough even in mid-April that a half-hour stroll left me totally drenched.
I came back so exhausted that when we got to Boston, I couldn’t find my car or house keys, which it turned out had lodged in the previously undiscovered bottom liner of my overnight bag.
My sympathetic boss, who had volunteered to schlep three of us from Logan, went out of his way to drop me off at a local motel. I insisted on this because of the late hour; by the time I checked in, it was after midnight, and I figured a better plan than the one that was suggested on the way back (pound on my son’s door for a ride to my house, at which point I would gain entrance by breaking my least-favorite window) would present itself after a decent night’s sleep.
I have never quite been convinced of an afterlife, but two things happened on the trip back home, which followed my friend Carolyn’s passing, and they’ve given me pause.

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I’ve often heard it said that people gain perspective when a loved one dies, but having had that experience this past weekend, I don’t think that’s accurate.
Rather, it’s a reaction to the fact that a catastrophic event has just blasted into smithereens every ounce of your soul’s psychic energy at the rate of about 1,000 metric tons per second. You are simply unable to care about whether a waiter botched an order or someone gave you the evil eye because you have been depleted of the ability to do so.
In other words, the so-called perspective isn’t wisdom, but exhaustion.

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The Elephant in the Room

Last evening, I visited a very dear friend who was diagnosed with cancer in November 2006. At this point, not only is she confined to her home, but she’s unable to eat or from the look of it last night, unable to keep down liquids as well.
I hadn’t planned on it, but at one point, I told her how much I will miss her. It was totally spontaneous and while it certainly made sense to acknowledge that most gigantic of elephants, it feels like I’ve betrayed my friend by giving up while she is still battling to remain with us.

You’re Kidding, Right?

Michael P. Lewis was the Project Director for the notorious Big Dig, a job which made him second only to disgraced chairman Matthew Amorello in the line of responsibility for all the failures of that disastrous project.
Those failures include a 500% markup in the cost, from $3 billion to $15 billion, and the death of a Jamaica Plain woman due to shoddy workmanship.
In spite of this, the Turnpike Authority Retirement Board approved payment of an enhanced pension over 3 times the normal benefit: $72,578 versus $23,000 a year.
Adding insult to injury, Lewis is now employed as Rhode Island’s transportation secretary at $130,000 a year.

So Long

I’m finally rid of my old hosting company, a big relief.
When I started with them, they were a small local reseller, two geeky preppies with a lot of ambition and technical savvy.
A lot changed through the years; they moved out of state and stopped taking phonecalls, asking that tech support questions be emailed. No one seemed to know where they were or even what business they were in.

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