vàjé du

At work I have a sturdy plastic bright pink folder that is growing by the day. It is my “Work in Progress” folder. It is relegated to various things in varying stages of readiness or completion. Well, I am by no means getting any closer to getting caught up on this folder. In fact, it continues to grow in girth. It’s BMI is most definitely out of the healthy range. So, I find myself doing what I tend to do when I begin to embark on the overwhelmed phase; I look for other work to do. I spend time dusting my office area. Then, I search the second floor for a broom to sweep my office floor. Next, I empty out the three hole punch. Now, back to find the broom (should have emptied the three hole punch before sweeping the floor). Next, I tested a few pens in the coffee mug they make their home in. The attractive and substantial looking and feeling pens are all dead. I know this to be true already, as I often search through three or four of these useless pens before I find a viable one. Today I take the plunge, and purge the dead pens – right into the garbage they go! Now, I peak into a few desk drawers, looking for yet another diversion. And, what, there, do I see? Could it be? Another “Work in Progress” folder. This one, thankfully, has a minimal BMI. This one was abandoned a while ago, like a sinking ship. I have the sinking feeling, too, of vájé dō; that none of this has happened before. Where has this folder come from?

I don’t even open it, not today. I am looking for a diversion, not actual work. I have plenty of that. I am haunted, though, by this. I now remember this first “Work in Progress” folder. But, what was happening when I abandon the first folder, just put it away and didn’t look back? I guess I started a whole new folder. Interesting. This cleaning my office diversion has taken a turn for the worst. For me, diversions and high stress go hand in hand.

I recall a time of insurmountable stress in my life. It was my last graduate course, and I was charged with my final writing assignment, if you could call it that. More like an unpublished book. Well, this overwhelmed state of mind completely took me over , and I began looking for diversions. I cleaned my apartment from top to bottom. Then, it came to me – I just had to make homemade pierogies, completely from scratch. What better way to honor my Polish heritage? So, this being before the Internet and Google, I did what any young person might do, I called my Dad on the phone – yes the phone plugged into the wall. He was curious about my sudden desire to try this out. But, he cooperated in my diversion, thankfully. Two hours later, with flour on my clothes and homemade pierogies in tow, I brought samples to my sister, my dad and step-mom. My fiancé watched in confusion and horror, as he contemplated all the hard work I had done up to that point in my graduate program going down the drain.

As always, the diversion gave me enough of a break to get back on track with what I really needed to do. So, I dove back into my final paper with a renewed energy and vigor. And, today, here in my office, I slowly peel back the cover of the abandoned folder. Then, I will chip away at the plumper current folder, until my next self-imposed diversion. This feeling of vàjé dō stays with me, that none of this has ever happened before , until, of course, I find evidence to the contrary.

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Root Canal

Sound bites of Barry Manalow and Kenny Rogers escape between the drilling. Haven’t heard that one in a while. I travel back in time to the 80’s when my mother obsessively played her Kenny Rogers records again and again and again. Ruby, I say, get the hell out of there!!

I am dragged back to reality by the saliva removal equipment getting stuck to the side of my mouth. I can surely expect a large canker sore there by week’s end. What a lovely door prize, a memoire.

In the end I needed to return a few more times to keep digging the roots out. Apparently many of the routes to the roots had calcified. For some of the root channels he was only able to clear 30%. Perhaps I should only be charged 30%.

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Subtle Hint

Oh, my husband, he is subtle. His most recent message came in the form of a collection of used brown paper lunch bags, maybe about 25 to 30 of them in all. After their mysterious delivery, they stayed, neatly folded and gathered together, by the kitchen door for about a week. I had a sense of just what they might be. But, I asked him anyway just to be sure. Yes, each bag represented a lunch purchased at work. That information hit me hard, hit me right in the pocketbook! At $8 to $10 per lunch, those bags represented $200 to $300 worth of lunches. Ouch. Oh, he can say he brought the bags home for the family to reuse in various ways. But, I know the subtle message he is passing along here. Moving forward, packed lunches it is. And, I have plenty of bags to pack them in!

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The Greater Than Sign

” We are close in age” she said.

“I’m 52” he said.

“So, I’m older than you” she answered.

Silence. Continued silence.

I think we all expected her to share a number, her number. Instead, she chose to use the greater than sign. Yes, greater than is all we need to know for this discussion. We won’t be graphing anything on any number lines, so specific numbers are not needed.

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Time for Time

Time is either running away from me or standing still. The clock in my truck keeps on eking ahead a minute and a minute and a minute. Now it’s fully 12 minutes fast. It keeps me on my toes cognitively, as me reading the time is never just one step. I have to look at the time, subtract 10, and then subtract two from that. We recently “fell back” for daylight savings time, so my vehicle clock is no longer one hour and 12 minutes off, just the 12 minutes.

The coffee maker at the house, now I’ve set that ahead by 10 minutes. That’s to put a jolt for anyone who looks at it as they’re getting ready for the morning. Yes, as time goes on, the jolt affect isn’t as strong. But like the clock in my truck, it serves as a cognitive exercise. The coffee maker clock time variance is a man made construct. I have no explanation for the movement of the truck clock, minute by minute.

Now, the conference table in my office, it’s a free for all. I have a collection of four clocks on this table. One is 7 minutes ahead, one was one minute ahead. The other two, they are 100% correct twice a day, one at 2:30 and the other at 12:30. Of these two stopped clocks, one was brought on board in this stopped fashion. I liked it’s style and shape, and did not mind that it was a wind up clock without the key for the back provided . That didn’t stop me from taking it from the Goodwill and depositing it in my office. Now the round silver clock atop a large silver spring. That one was working when I got it. But , perhaps the battery wiggles lose after it’s been bobbling around , which is quite often, as each time the table gets even slightly moved even by leaning on it to write, this clock wobbles and moves. I stopped making sure the battery was tight several months ago.

I had added an interesting “backwards clock” to the mix some months back, but I just couldn’t figure it out. I never did figure out if it was working properly before I took it back to the store. Were the hands supposed to move backwards? The numbers were in reverse order, so I felt the hands should move that way, too. It seemed as though sometimes the hands moved forward and sometimes backward. I never figured out the “formula” for interpreting the real time, and returned it to the store in frustration.

The folks I meet with regularly in my office have grown accustomed to asking me which clock is right . Heck, I often speak out loud, “hey Siri, what time is it?” , awaiting my I-phone’s patient and accurate response.

My computer and desk phone also provide me with the time, albeit a four minute difference between the two , and thankfully the date, too! And they don’t stop or gradually move ahead. Guess that’s always a good back up.

So, as the time speeds up or just plain stops, I will continue to work hard to focus on and stay in the here and now.

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Emissions Testing Time!!

The six different chairs form a loose semi circle. It is an unusual group of folks. A woman in a blue jump suit, short on the bottom and low on the top. Flip flops, of course, with bright red toe nails. “Flop, flop, flop” her feet say as she leaves- she has been summoned to the front counter.

Next a man in athletic pants, black with three white stripes down the outside of each leg. The material looks like the kind that makes that swishing sound when you walk.

Next, the man in the rocking chair. Grey scruffy beard, dark brown moccasins with black socks, tan baseball style cap, and orange metal water container. Oh, wait, Mr. Athletic has put his feet up on top of the coffee table. Nice. His legs are probably sore from all the exercise. Let him rest.

Next, the gentleman with a wrinkly blue button down short sleeve shirt tucked into dark blue dockers. Blue sneakers seal the deal.

Three folks watch the Price is Right closely, while Mr. Athletic scrolls on his phone. Hold up. Mr. Athletic is up, well at least part way. His feet are off the table. Seems like the magazines he was resting his feet on have gotten his attention. Now he flips through a Sports Illustrated.

The weather gets all of our attention. Severe thunderstorm warning for the entire state . Yikes. It does look ominous outside.

Wait. Now what? The 1992 Toyota Camry is all set. He’s the man with the orange metal water holder. He’s been told this is his last year, no more emissions tests. What? Aren’t the older vehicles more at risk for pollution? I guess if the car has lasted 15 years, no further emissions testing is the reward.

New arrival. Man with white hair and matching white mustache and purple shirt and tan khaki shorts. Tan moccasins. What’s up with the moccasins? Laughter rises from him at the news reports of the most recent Trump news.

” Honda CRV , who is with that?”

My time has come . I leave my spot in the semi-circle. Until next time, folks.

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Forget-me-not

Today I saw a something that caused me to pause. A boy, 14, maybe 15 years old. He was getting something out of the passenger side of the car he and his mother were in. He then went back to the front of the grocery store where a veteran was collecting money and put money in the jar. He then looked into the eyes of the veteran, thanked him for his service and shook his hand.

On my way out I put my money into the jar. I then looked into the eyes of the veteran, and thanked him for his service as I shook his hand.

A wonderful sight to see; a 15-year-old young man with such respect . A 15 year old young man serving as a role model. Two very different generations separated by time, but not so separated by the values of respect and honor.

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