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Decisions…

March 27, 2009

Decisions…

They are a part of life. And, usually, not a fun one.

When they are cut and dried, like would you rather have a Cherry Slurpee or a shot of Castor Oil, they are easy. But those decisions are few and far between.

If you have followed me, blog or Twitter-wise, then you know how much I love living downtown Chicago. Well, my lease on the condo is up on March 31 and I had to make a choice… 3 hours of commute to the office or move out of downtown into the ‘burbs.

For once in my life, I made a practical decision… move to the ‘burbs.

I will miss my 40th floor balcony above the House of Blues. I will miss the city noise and shuffle. And, honestly, I will miss the commute.

The act of moving is always a pain in the ass. But leaving downtown Chicago hurts in more ways than I thought it would.

I hate making decisions…

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Little boy…

March 11, 2009

 

I saw an old friend of mine this morning. Actually an old friend of the family.

He was at the bus stop I go to every morning. I didn’t even have a clue he lived around here, let alone rode the same bus I did.

“What are you doing here?” I ask. He replies, ”This is my bus today. … My God… I haven’t seen you in ages! You’ve all growed up!”

“Yeah it’s been what… like 20 years?” I question.

“ Oh, at least that much, if not longer little boy” he smirks at me, knowing he touched a nerve. He called me ‘little boy’ the whole time we knew each other. “Why are you taking this bus?” He asks with a quizzical look on his face. A face that is much older than I remember.

“This is the bus that takes me to the train station”

“So, little boy, you need to go to the train station?” Chuckling I replied, “Well, yes, that’s where I need to go.”

“Little Boy… this bus will take you where you ‘want’ to go…. Not always necessarily where you ‘need’ to go. Keep that in mind.”

The bus stops and I get in. Pay my fare and look for a seat. I try to find one so we can sit together but when I turn, I realize he didn’t get on with me. I ask the driver, “What happened to the old man? Did he not get on?”

“Sorry, Sir, but you were alone.”

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Silence is Golden…

March 8, 2009

Do you ever feel the need to write? I mean, it’s like all these words start to clog up your head and you just have to spit them out onto paper? Kind of like that feeling you get when your sinus’ are plugged then something happens and your head clears and you realize you can think clearly again? This has been in my head for a couple days now. Hope you enjoy it:

Silence is Golden.

I’ve heard that saying many times. But is it? I’ve also saw a bumper sticker that said “Honk if you hate Noise Pollution”

My point is this: Silence is a perspective thing. To the harried mother who has dealt all day long with kids being kids and household chores and phone calls, a minute of silence would be golden. But to the person born with no hearing, to hear those same kids for one tiny minute would be just as golden.

What kind of silence do you crave? And to what extreme?

I live in a big city where the sirens yell and the trains gong and the thunder rolls louder than normal. But I hear little of it. Well, I guess I hear it all but listen to little of it.

Maybe that’s what I mean. I served on a Navy Submarine for 5 years. My bunk was right below a loud-speaker that gave reports constantly. I would sleep through all of them until it announced an emergency then I was up and at’em immediately.

What do you listen to? When your child is telling you about their day, do you listen? Or are you multi-tasking? When your love is explaining how they feel are you hearing them or are you thinking of a sassy comeback? When your client is clarifying their wants and needs are you taking notes or thinking about how to close them?

I’m struggling with a question I’ve had for days… How do you listen to silence?

Where is the happy medium in one’s life between interaction and silence? Are we limited by our environment or should we seek out more noise? Or more silence?

I learned a long time ago that God gave us two ears and only one mouth so listening should be twice as important as talking. Does that mean being silent is better? Ever know a person who is uncomfortable with silence? In the car they read road signs to you just to hear something.

I have no idea what I’m trying to say. After reading this maybe you can tell me what the hell any of this means.

Funny enough, I just realized that the words listen and silent… they have the same letters… No wonder I can’t figure it out.

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The King and the Pawn…

March 7, 2009

(This is my most favorite thing I have ever written)

 

He was just a pawn.

 

Nobody cared whether he lived or died. Nothing but a warrior, a protector, fodder for the advancing column of the enemy.

 

Life was tough when you are nothing but a pawn. Sometimes you felt like the whole world was against you. The enemy looked at you as an impediment to reaching your king. Your king looked at you as a way to slow the enemy down while he strategized, made plans to destroy the other kings pawns.

 

If only he could be a king…

 

 

The King surveyed the battlefield.

 

So many times he had to decide who lived and who died. What sane man ever wanted to make decisions such as that? And for what? A few more squares of land, another victory to boast about?

 

Life was tough when you were the King. Sometimes you felt like the whole world was against you. The enemy looked at you as an icon to be destroyed. Your very own troops looked at you as someone who cared so little for them that you would greedily send them to their death for ownership of those squares.

 

If only he could be a pawn…

 

“Great game” the man said with a smile.

 

“You too, Dad”

 

The man picked up the last two pieces, a king and a pawn, and placed them in the box…

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What happens when you sleep?…

March 5, 2009

 

The mirror wasn’t nice to me this morning.

I got out of bed and as I walked into the bathroom I saw this guy in the mirror with hair that would have made one of those London punkers proud. I stood there for a moment studying my hair, just trying to figure out how in the world it could have gotten into the shape it was in. Do I sleep standing on my head? If that chunk of hair is pointing to the left, then there is no physical way that chunk can be pointing to Mecca!

My hair isn’t long. I learned when I was in the military that I like to keep it rather short. So it’s not like it has a whole lot of chances to misbehave. But some mornings it’s like my hair had a wild wild Spring Break Party while I slept, and, apparently, it forgot to invite me.

Sometimes I think my hair just likes to rebel. It just likes to prove how important it is to me. I would shave it all off if I thought my head could pull it off….

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Learning a Tough Lesson…

March 1, 2009

***I got in trouble at school today, Dad. (My 15 year old is usually pretty blunt when he’s telling on himself)

What? What did you do? (Sigh)

Well, we had a substitute teacher. He is from the Middle East somewhere and stereotypically sounds like the guy on the Simpsons when he talks. You know who I mean? (His usage of the word ‘stereotypically’ surprised me)

Yes, I know who you mean. (Yeah, I watch the Simpsons. Shut up.)

He’s really old and has this long beard that is all white… (he went on & on at this point explaining how he knows the teacher. My 15 yr old can take 3 hours to tell you about a 2 hour movie)

OK, Ok… but how did you get in trouble?

Well, there were some kids in the back of the class that were causing trouble. (He’s funny because when it’s his classmates he doesn’t like he calls them ‘kids’)

How were they causing trouble?

Every time he would turn around they would make comments like, “ Hope he doesn’t blow up the school” and make sounds and just basically making fun of him. The first time, he turned around and told them to respect their elders. The second time he told them he would send them to the office. But I was getting mad.

Why were you getting mad?

Because they were being stupid. These kids don’t understand that even though he’s not from here he is still a person. (Could I have been more proud of that statement!!)

Wait so how did you get in trouble??

Well, the third time it happened, I was so mad I stood up and yelled at these stupid kids, “I’ll send you to the office in a body-bag if you don’t stop it right now!!” (ooo… um… wow…)

Dude… that wasn’t right to say.

I know, Dad, but I was really mad. Then one of the kids told on me and I had to explain all this to the principal and of course I looked like the bad guy.

What lesson did you learn?

That stupid people do stupid things and if you try to stop them you get in trouble. ***

We had a lot more discussion after that but when I hung up the phone I was as proud of my son as I could be and sad that he’s starting to learn some of life’s harsh lessons.

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Pushing People Around…

February 24, 2009

Just sitting here chilling out after a pretty good day at work. Hearing sirens outside and normal city sounds and thinking about how much I have changed.

You have to first of all know that I’m a country boy. Grew up in a very small Midwestern town. Put it this way, I have actually been cow-tipping before. Enough said?

Now I ride two different Public Transportation buses and a train to get to work.

When it first became apparent that I was probably going to end up living in downtown Chicago, I fought it tooth and nail (when people say that saying do they mean nail as in fingernail or nail as in one more in my coffin?). There was not one single good reason I could think of to live here.

But now it’s sort of like The Metra trains. If you haven’t seen them they just run back and forth all day. They don’t turn the train around, they just reverse direction, so the engine is always pushing people into the city and then dragging them back out. That’s how I feel, now that I’ve been pushed here, someone is probably going to have to drag me out.

There is a raw, gritty energy to the city. Other cities have it too, but in Chicago, it’s just that different. Walking down the street whether it’s Wacker at rush hour or Clark late at night, if you try hard enough you can almost hear the city’s heartbeat. Sure, you’ll also hear the cabbies honking and the Doorman’s whistles and someone will eventually ask you for change. But none of it makes you feel threatened or worried.

People won’t go out of their way to talk to you necessarily, but if you need directions or want to know where that bus goes, all you have to do is ask someone. If they live here, they’ll help you. It’s cool that way.

I’m so glad I was pushed here.