gurustu's muse the daily thoughts of an every day guru
Daily Guru Thoughts
Wednesday, July 27, 2005 Crossing the line... There are lines everywhere we turn... some are meant to be ignored, others crossed; and some that can make your life worse if you dare them.
I had my drivers test today (gee, that sounds so high school, doesn't it?). In case you're just tuning in, my high school days are way behind that line back there, so you'll need to see my last entry for why I had to do this thing today.
Turns out I just barely passed the test... because I'm a criminal. Gasp! Oh the horror... but it's true... your Gurustu is a lawbreaker.
I almost reached 30 in a 25 mile an hour zone! The shame. Considering the speed of sound that everyone else breaks in my neighborhood, whodathunk it was 25 mph? I know it's that in School Zones, but this neighborhood? That's not a line down the middle of the road, that's a racing stripe... but ok... I smiled and assured the DMV Tester that I wasn't going to drive so reckless when I'm alone.
I also made the mistake of stopping ON the line at a stop sign, instead of behind. Yes, I'm a rebel, I know. Checking for pedestrians isn't enough... someone could run out of the bushes at any time and there I'd be in their space.
I took my reprimand in silence and just waited for them to hand me my paperwork. It's now in the record that I have bad vision in one eye (which I had 90% of my life, without incident). That's going to make it difficult for me every five years... and make me regret my decision to "just go down to the DMV" to take care of it. I regret my decision to not renew online... and I find it interesting to reflect back on my thoughts about cheating on the eye test. I stayed honest, but I can see how faced with the difficulties these workers are, why some people would simply not want to bother.
It's amazing how one person's attitude and ideas can have such a profound effect. Had they rejected my driver's license, they would have devastated my livelihood... not only getting to work, but getting anywhere in this town. Let's just say I'm glad that "just barely" still means I'm on the right side of that line.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005 If it's not one thing... A million little things will go wrong each day... it's up to you to either add them up into one big thing or just let them go.
It's been a very busy week of gobbledygook... nothing major, just every little thing just decided this week to go in a different direction than I planned. And like dominoes, the goobledygook gobbled up my other gook, until it too got gobbledy.
It should end with "pick up an audio cable after returning the rental car and taking the drivers test." If that goes well, then I can put it all behind me.
Pick up an audio cable That's to fix the problem at work that has been keeping me busy fixing the sound on my projects at work. The static cancelled an overdue project today because the hiss was just too much. I know, I know "check the cable" is in the manual... but do you know how many cables I have to deal with? A good quality cable should solve it, and prevent my other plans of buying a whole new sound system (which is a nice idea but a bit unethical).
Return the rental car I had to pick it up because my car is in the shop. Transmission is going like a bucking bronco. I just don't want anything to jeopardize my drivers test tomorrow. All I need is for them to deny me my license.
"Driving test?? What the---" Yeah I know. I am a bit old to be taking a driving test. Of course I have my license. 25 years with no accidents. Then why, you ask? Because I made the mistake of thinking it was a good idea to just go down to the DMV since I have to change my address anyway. I demonstrated that I have poor vision in my right eye and the next thing I know I'm in the middle of a long drawn out process of getting a form filled out by my doctor... they wanted to make me take a WRITTEN test... (yes a written test for a bad eye... the person at the written test desk thought it was silly too)... but still they demand that I take a driving test.
Now if I had only renewed via the internet like they suggested in their postcard... or even mailed something in... or cheated on the eye test... but no... now someone whom I hope is having a good day is going to decide if I can drive after 25 years of driving with the same eye I came in with.
I've remained very calm through all this... after all, my saying is to let it go... but there's so many other things I'd rather be doing.
Hope your day is bigger than the little annoyances!
Wednesday, July 20, 2005 Chop Wood, Carry Water "Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water." ~ Zen Proverb
I did both of them today (the wood/water thing). There was a pile of ripped up base board in the middle of my condo that needed to be snuck out past Mrs. Nosy Neighbor (and her little dog too!).
I was able to break it up fairly easily, and stuffing it into thick plastic bags, you'd think I was just cleaning up after a party. I waved to her, carrying my bottle of water for the plants outside. She had already slipped a note under my door stating that "it's each owner's responsibility to see that the plants outside your unit is watered every other day" (welcome to condo living, thank-you-very-much). I figured that would appease her and she'd go back into her place for the rest of the evening.
I wasn't so lucky.
She wanted to make small talk about her new air purifier while I carefully slid the plastic bag behind me. A shard of base was cutting through the bag and approaching areas I'd rather not discuss with her or anyone here, for that matter... but I assured her that the next time I was over at the store, I'd check it out for myself.
Good dog... pat pat...
Well, aaaaanyway... gotta clean up some more... yeah, lots of work to do. Ha Ha...
Stop sniffing the bag please...
How I made it to the elevator unscathed I'll never know. How I managed to bring six more bags just like it to the trash is a miracle... or maybe she was enjoying her pure air so much she fell asleep.
Oh yeah, the lesson from all this is not so much how to get past the nosy neighbors or make friends with dogs (though both admirable lessons to be sure) but rather to enjoy the everyday tasks of one's life.
Sure, Life is full of "events" ... signing for a new home was a big one... moving into it will be another... but when it comes down to it, most of our lives are little moments... filled with little pieces of wood and splintered conversations.
The whole point is to enjoy each and every moment... before you throw them away.
Sunday, July 17, 2005 Easier... It gets easier, the more you do it...
The past several days have been about expanding my horizons. On the work front, I've been working with some new software... that's not only getting easier the more I work with it... it's getting better.
And speaking of... I've really been going beyond my zone with my new home. Let's just say that my collars are bleached and my hands are as soft as my heart. Give me a pencil and I can draw circles around just about anyone... but give me a hammer and I just run around in circles.
These past couple of days I have been removing molding and shelves and adding a few more cuts and bruises that I'll have to explain to the Cubicle Curious on Monday morning.
It's very exciting to see everything come together. Hitting my thumb is something a lot out of my comfort zone (as it would be for most people I'd suspect) but I'm really learning a lot (like "keep your thumb away from the hammer").
It just goes to show you that just beyond the learning curve lies even bigger adventures.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005 Everyday is 'someday' 'Some Day' slips away until there are only Yesterdays left behind. Make today that special 'some day.'
A friend of mine passed this along to me... and so I pass it along to you...
A friend of mine opened his wife's underwear drawer and picked up a silk paper wrapped package:
"This, - he said - isn't any ordinary package."
He unwrapped the box and stared at both the silk paper and the box.
"She got this the first time we went to New York, 8 or 9 years ago. She has never put it on, was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is it. He got near the bed and placed the gift box next to the other clothing he was taking to the funeral house, his wife had just died. He turned to me and said:
"Never save something for a special occasion. Every day in your life is a special occasion".
I still think those words changed my life.
Now I read more and clean less.
I sit on the porch without worrying about anything.
I spend more time with my family, and less at work.
I understood that life should be a source of experience to be lived up to, not survived through. I no longer keep anything. I use crystal glasses every day. I'll wear new clothes to go to the supermarket, if i feel like it.
I don't save my special perfume for special occasions; I use it whenever I want to. The words "Someday..." and "One Day.." are fading away from my dictionary. If it's worth seeing, listening or doing, I want to see, listen or do it now. I don't know what my friend's wife would have done if she knew she wouldn't be there the next morning, this nobody can tell. I think she might have called her relatives and closest friends. She might call old friends to make peace over past quarrels. I'd like to think she would go out for Chinese, her favorite food. It's these small things that I would regret not doing, if I knew my time had come.
I would regret it, because I would no longer see the friends I would meet, letters.. that I wanted to write
"One of these days".
I would regret and feel sad, because I didn't say to my brother and sisters, son and daughters, not times enough at least, how much
I love them.
Now, I try not to delay, postpone or keep anything that could bring laughter and joy into our lives. And, on each morning, I say to myself that this could be a special day.
Monday, July 11, 2005 Celebrate Life... The greatest birthday gift is having a birthday...
Today was a day to reflect upon my own life, since it's the anniversary of my arrival on this planet sometime in the last century.
It was a usually busy day at work, broken up with some very tastefully quiet and enjoyable meals and idle chat about whether or not I plan to write about you guys in this blog (yes, I'm writing about YOU and you know who you are... I'm just not mentioning your name).
I get very introspective this time of year, and very grateful to still be around. Last year, I had a truly wonderful moment walking in Central Park with my sister-in-law. I really thought she'd be around to see this one.
Thursday, July 07, 2005 In my backyard... Whichever way you're facing, the world is your backyard. Take care of it.
It was interesting today to observe the water cooler discussions. The news of the bombings in London was met with "tsk tsk" and "the world is getting worse" and then the topic switched to family dogs and can-you-believe-they-put-that-crappy-show-on-tv? Maybe that's because we don't want to be reminded of September 11th; maybe because it wasn't giant office buildings toppling... or maybe because it just wasn't happening in our own backyard.
It isn't so much that the world is getting worse; it's just that we hear about it more. If we had CNN thousands of years ago, we're be hearing about Terrorists known as Attila and Genghis, instead of Osama and Saddam. I know we WANT to have peace, and we want to believe that we're civilized and beyond all that... but are we really? It seems that we've only grown in our sophistication and sterilization of the process.
Violence is messy... and it's everywhere we turn.
That doesn't mean we have to live with it. We don't have to go out for their eyes. We don't have to believe that violence is the only solution to violence. The members of Al Qaeda feel that way... the people who justify occupation in foreign lands feel that way.
World Peace isn't obtained by hurting others. So many people believe the world would be better without THEM (Insert anyone-who-isn't-you). If everyone had their way, the meek would be the only ones left.
The way to peace is from within. We must not just want peace, or think that THEY have to start peace first. We must start from within ourselves; to react to the world around us in a peaceful way... from our disagreements with our neighbors next door... or thousands of miles away. We mustn't react with a return thirst for blood, but rather for justice. Is non-violent justice possible? We can try.
But standing at the water cooler, we can stop a moment... pause before we change the subject... and wish peace for all the people of the world; whatever side of the fence they're on. They're our neighbors, and we have to live with them.
Friday, July 01, 2005 Golden... A golden reputation is worth more than its weight in gold.
Today my boss came over to me beaming with accolades over a project I just finished for the President of our company. It was a nice change from a few months ago, where her perception made the workplace a much darker place to be. It got me thinking about how important one's reputation really is.
Of course, what we contribute to the world is more important than what people think about it; but what other people think does have a profound effect on our lives. My boss thought bad things at a time that affected my raise (or lack there of), my bonus (that never was) and a few gifts (that went to other people). I couldn't help but wonder what a difference today would have made, if it only happened six months ago.
I also thought about how reputations are formed. In the last few days, I have been seeing contractors to get estimates on updating my new condo. Some people have come in with samples and documents and took copious notes; others just came in and looked around... some never showed at all. I thought "don't these people realize that I will be making a decision based on my impression of them?" It's just not about the price (after all, the cheapest rates often end up costing you the most in the end)... it's about professionalism (I do want the job done right), and about relationships (you'll be with me for at least a month). A bad rep for any of these people will cost them the job. So doesn't it make sense to make sure you make a good impression?
In the acting world, there's a saying: "you're only as good as your last picture"... that's because your reputation precedes you into the negotiations. It could mean millions of dollars, all depending on your reputation.
How about Tom Cruise right now? Do you still have that "ooh-I-wanna-see-him" thrill you did pre-Oprah? Has the whole TomKat/Scientology thing got you rolling your eyes and thinking twice about seeing War of the Worlds? On just that little level of see-it-/don't-see-it... you're affecting the box office for Tom and Steven Spielberg. Pretty powerful stuff, this reputation, eh?
A reputation is something you have to pay for, but you can never buy.
Remember that when you're building yours.
So how is your reputation? Share your stories of when a good rep helped or a bad rep hurt...