Today I spoke with my Uber driver more than normal. Usually I try to keep my mouth shut.
It’s not that I have anything against speaking to the driver, it’s just that I get anxious about having to make small talk. I don’t have a problem speaking with other people, but I get anxious about needing to maintain chit-chat for a 30 minute ride. That’s a lot of chitting and chatting. But today was different.
This driver seemed like she needed someone to speak with. She was going through some pretty rough stuff with her children and grandchildren and I got the feeling that she just needed to tell the story to someone with a sympathetic ear. Once I sensed that, I encouraged the conversation— and for those of you who know me, you’ll realize that that’s very much unlike me. Even though the majority of my career involves speaking to others, I tend to be pretty quiet when I’m off the clock.
The driver had some tough stuff going on— her small grandchild had severe medical issues; her daughter dropped out of high school last year and she’s embarked on a career as a stripper. I imagine that those aren’t the kind of problems that are easy to share. So I listened, and I didn’t judge. And I could tell she was happy to have the opportunity to unload.
I think the driver appreciated our conversation. It made me feel good about myself to know that I might have given her an opportunity to vent.
I’m glad I decided to speak to the driver tonight.
There are items that I have on a wish list of things to do. It’s a bunch of things that I want to get to one day — like learning a language or gettin better at playing blues guitar. The thing that makes me sad, however, is that I’ve been carrying those things on that list for years and I haven’t made any progress on any of the items. Is there really any reason for me to continue to keep that list?
It appears that I won’t ever get to them. I mean, I’ve had down time here and there and I didn’t chose to dedicate that down time to pursuing those things. I’m just starting to come to the realization that I’m not going to get to do those things. And that’s painful.
I feel defeated. I’m upset with myself for not pursing those things. But I take solace in the fact that the reason I haven’t pursued those goals is because I’ve been dedicating my time to achieving other long term goals. And I’ve made significant progress in those other areas. For instance, I’m pleased with my career, and I get out to see fun shows and interesting art, But it appears that I won’t ever learn that other language nor achieve some other wish list items.
There is something calming about Mt. Fuji. I admit to not really knowing much about the icon, except that it holds a very special place in the hearts of the Japanese people. All I know for sure is that when I see it I feel a sudden sense of calm, and I need that every now and again. That’s why I subscribe to the Twitter handle @Fujidelic. Every so often, amid the noise of my Twitter feed, up pops a serene picture of Mt. Fuji. And I stop and breathe deep for just a second.
If you like Hip Hop and you’re not listening to Chance the Rapper, you need to start.
I know I should have heard about him earlier, but I’m just discovering his work. I’ve been listening to his album “Coloring Book” for a few days now. It’s got a lot of depth and the production value is incredible.
(Warning: if you don’t like explicit lyrics and the n-word, then don’t watch this video).
Cheers is one of my all time favorite TV shows. I recently bought the first season in iTunes and I’ve been watching it on the last couple of long flights. It really makes me smile.
I’m not exactly sure why that is. To a certain extent it probably brings me back to my youth. I watched the show from its inception, when it was on live. I was a teenager when it started. I guess part of me longs for those days— when you had manageable problems that came with youth. Of course, the problems didn’t seem small back then, but they pale in comparison to adult concerns. Those problems certainly don’t feel small when you’re going through them. You only get that sort of perspective when you look back on your life. Nevertheless, when I look back on things from those earlier days, I look back with longing for easier times.
One thing that I was actually surprised about is how outdated some of the social elements are. There are very few people of color on the show and none in the main cast. The way the men speak to women in the early seasons hearkens back to a different day. Then again it was a different day. I try to look past that aspect of the show and enjoy it anyway. The way I see it, it’s a reflection of the times. Thinking about it now I’m not so surprised, I just didn’t expect it when I sat down to watch.
I’ve always been attracted to the poetry of Billy Collins. Tonight I came across this video of him reading two of his poems at a Ted Talk. They’re short, and they’re about dogs….I like the second one best.
I’m thinking about wearing a dress shirt buttoned up to the collar, but I’m not sure if I can get away with it (don’t tell my wife because she’s going to tell me I look stupid) I think I can work it — dark shirt, buttoned to the collar, untucked, with a casual sport coat and jeans.
There’s something that’s both energizing and calming about watching a ballgame. I’m not sure how to describe it, but I get such a charge out of just sitting and enjoying a major league game.
Contradictory, I know.
It’s also the only thing I’ll do when I’m traveling. What I mean by that is, usually I sit and work in my room when I’m on the road. But if I have to be in the city with the baseball stadium is located downtown, I’ll catch a game.
Tonight it’s a pleasant September evening in Cleveland.
There are a variety of different sources of my anxiety. I’m hoping that if I write about them, I’ll be able to get some advice from all of you and maybe eventually work some of them out of my life. Today’s issue: down time.
Every day I struggle with what I should be doing with my down time. I am absolutely thrilled when I get some— the idea of finishing a boatload of items on my to do list actually speeds up my pulse. ME TIME? I actually get some time to myself? Woo hoo! But…what do I do with that time?
I don’t really have any hobbies. I play some guitar, but I’d call myself a novice blues guitarist at best (emphasis on the novice). I like auto racing, but I’m not the kind of guy who would watch a replay of a NASCAR or an F1 race. I’m not that committed. I thought about taking up a hobby and building an amateur race car, but do you know how much that costs? It ain’t a little. Besides, my downtime usually consists of an hour or two (or three) in the middle of a weekday, or when I’m between work events in a hotel. Plus, many of those hobby ideas feel so…superficial.
I feel like I shouldn’t be wasting my time, rather I should be making productive use of my down time. When I’m finished with whatever endeavor I pursue I should feel as though I’ve had fun, but I’ve also had a growth experience. Maybe I should be reading that book about Thomas Jefferson that’s been sitting on my dresser for the past 6 months, or learn that language I’ve always wanted to be able to speak. But those things seem like such an…effort. Of course, isn’t effort required if I’m gong to have a growth experience?
What usually ends up happening is that I spend so much time wondering about what would be the most productive use of my down time that I completely squander that very down time. Inevitably, I end up checking Facebook for 15 minutes and spend the rest of my time feeling anxious.