I sometimes find myself in the most interesting discussions.
This one came about when a Friend asked how a couple of interview / tests had gone in the past week.
I sometimes find myself in the most interesting discussions.
This one came about when a Friend asked how a couple of interview / tests had gone in the past week.
It was my birthday last week.
This one is a strange one.
I am the same age my father was, when he died. It messes with your head, I’m a young guy.
When I look in the mirror, at first glance I see myself in my early 30’s
When I look deeper, I see grey around the edges. The beginnings of that awful “Chicken Neck” thing that happens in some of my family. Some blotchiness in my skin, a bit of sun damage and crows feet. My beard and goatee aren’t nearly as youthful as they once were. I take a moment in the steamy mirror to contemplate the changes and decide either due to reality or my ability to delude myself that I’m still not “OLD”.
The grey at my temples doesn’t look bad, the sprinkling of grey throughout my hair is still easily hidden with a shorter hair cut and even the slight recession in my hairline isn’t a disaster.
Then I flash on Dad lying in the hospital bed. With a little imagination I can strip away the ravages of disease and I see a guy that looks remarkably like me. It’s strange and disconcerting to think that If Dad was alive today he’d be in his 70’s and probably still spry and active. He’d certainly be able to hold his own in a political discussion.
What would my Dad think of things as they are today? Would he be pissed, or would he have just given up; realizing that the battles he’d be trying to fight have already been lost?
Oddly, and something that spooks me deeply is that my life has mirrored my father’s in many ways.
Dad made his own way, he started businesses and generally was successful. He had a nice home, nice cars and a successful business when I was a child. He decided to “Check Out” of the ratrace in his mid 30’s and moved to Tennessee. He built a beautiful home, (or so I’ve been told) I never saw it completed. The house burned and Dad was back to square one.
Unfortunately, for dad, time passed and he’d missed a large transition from discrete electronic components to IC packages. This meant that he had a lot of catching up to do if he wanted to return to office dictation equipment sales and repair. I don’t know if he was ever successful in making that transition, we lost touch with each other for a while.
The next I heard he was in Florida again this time putting together an custom office furniture business where he built all the furniture. I lost touch again then heard from him when he told me he was in Sarasota building and selling houses. Again I gather that he was pretty successful, he must have been in his late 40’s by then.
Next I heard, he was in South Carolina. He was living with his Mom and starting another business. This time in cabinetry, That’s where his time ran out.
Resilience is one word I think of when I think of my father. He did all he did with a high school education, Navy training, determination and raw smarts.
In the late 70s I got into computers. By the mid 80s I had been kicked in the teeth, done a bankruptcy, and was clawing my way back up the heap. For the most part I was successful, I was working in an industry that didn’t care what school you went to. All they cared about was your ability to fix shit, make shit, sell shit, or support the shit that had already been made, or sold.
I did quite well for a long time and never thought about going back to college. After all experience trumps book learning any day of the week right?
Well, it did… back in the old days. By the mid ‘90s those of us in the industry were beginning to notice that H1B1 visas were taking positions that we would have recommended our friends for. Often we didn’t even know there were openings in the department we were working in.
Jobs got harder to get.
California entered a slow death spiral that continues to this day. Suddenly your college pedigree was the most important thing regardless of how much experience you had.
Then the layoffs happened.
Like my Dad at this age, I’m trying to find and create a new place in the world for myself. College? A new career? A complete change, or only a partial change? Do I want to return to the tech rat race, or would I prefer to do something more interesting?
I don’t know. What I do know is that I’m running out of time.
I’d expected to retire from the last tech company I was working for, maybe I was retired…
Must’ve missed the memo.
Lately, it seems that nothing I’ve tried has worked out as expected, perhaps “as needed” is a better description.
I’m not the only person in this situation. I’m still hearing about friends that are bailing, either out of their careers, or California.
I’m starting to get over the weirdness of this birthday,
I’m at a place in my life I’ve been before… It’s the “fuck it all, cinch up my bootstraps, and start kicking some ass” point.
I thought perhaps I didn’t have the strength to do it all over again. I’m tired, I’d grown sick of the bullshit in corporate America, but it’s all I know. I’ve wanted to just give up, to allow myself to just be swept aside, to accept that my fate was not my own and be a victim.
Then I think of Dad, he didn’t have the time to reboot his life.
I think he’d understand what I’m feeling now, then I suspect he’d say “Now that you’ve gotten that off your chest, GET OFF YOUR ASS!”
OK Dad, this one’s for you…
And not in a good way!
I’m a bit ADD. I know, I know, that’s become an overused cliché catchall that everyone and their brother uses to excuse anything from a hangover to a stroke.
Hear me out. I’ve been like this my whole life, and for me, this is completely normal. I’ve adapted to being this way because I’ve never know any other way to be. There are times when the ADD presents challenges, loud noises, crowds, bright flashing lights, can really mess with my calm and freak me out. Most of these challenges are manageable. If I feel myself being overwhelmed I’ll find a quiet spot to collect myself and then I’m good to go.
One of the biggest challenges ADD presents me with is listening to someone talk. If they have something to say and they keep on track I’m fine. If, however, they meander and pause the main thread of their story to fill in useless details or give me background that they should have given at the beginning of the story, then I’m likely to stop listening. In the worst case, the person doesn’t notice my eyes glazing over and they keep yammering.
This is usually when the ADD becomes a real problem. I respond first with annoyance, then hostility, then outright anger. The poor fool telling me, whatever they were telling me has no idea what they’ve done wrong or why I’m pissed off.
Believe it or not, I feel guilty when I lose control and get angry because of the way someone is telling their story. It’s not fair to the other person. As far as they’re concerned they are telling a nice coherent little tale.
To an ADD person it’s annoying tedium. I can explain, I think using the following example.
The church made, because of the rummage sale, the church made, the donations to the rummage sale this year because, because of estate donations allowed the church to make, One estate donated a teak modern dining set that was worth about 5000 dollars it went at silent auction for 2000, it was one of those Danish modern designs, I don’t know who bought it. The usual amount that the church makes on a rummage sale is $15,000 or so. This year the church made, oh there was a lot of very nice estate jewelry some of it brought in a lot higher than expected prices. This year the church made $30,000 although the final total isn’t in yet.
The story could have been summed up simply.
The church doubled it’s usual rummage sale income this year due to a number of estate donations.
Then if I was interested I could have asked what the total dollar amount was.
There’s another level though that’s worse for the ADD person. It’s that for every one of those pauses we pause a stream of thought and start another one. Pretty soon your 2 minute anecdote has us nearing the maximum capacity of our brain power.
Think of it like trying to compute orbital mechanics of the entire solar system and keeping all the variables in your head.
This is, I think part of the reason we ADD folk don’t like watching the late night news, it’s the constant teasers. If the 10 o’clock news really wants to piss of the ADD crowd; tease us for an hour and then never get to the story!
“Stay tuned to find out why your penis is at risk”
The way my brain works is probably best described as a corral of skittish horses. I have tons of thoughts running all the time and it requires an effort of will to harness those thoughts, put blinders on them, and then hitch them up to the wagon of a project I’m trying to do.
A conversation like the story above tends to have an effect on my thoughts, that’s similar to what you get if a rattle snake suddenly appears in a corral full of skittish horses. After the chaos and dust clears, you’ve got horses spread to the four corners of the corral and none of them are going to do any work for the rest of the day.
I live with a person that tells stories like the example above. That pisses me off by itself. (Come to think of it, my stepdad tries to lecture on science and technical stuff the same way; no wonder I dreaded asking him questions when I was in school!)
What really pisses me off is when I catch myself telling stories the same way.
My ability to write today is gone. I’m going to go outside and run the weed whacker. I will avoid holding a fluffy pillow firmly over someone’s face.
This is to replace the samsung Galaxy Tablet she’d been struggling with.
All the lady wanted to do was print some of her emails occasionally. And with the addition of a new printer AND 12.99 piece of software she could more or less, from the Galaxy.
I say “More or Less,” as long as she remembered how to access the software and waited long enough for the software to wake up the printer. Then remembered not to send the item to be printed several times because of the time it took for the Samsung OS to be overridden by the $12 piece of software.
Part of the software’s function is to allow the Galaxy to see that the printer was in fact ready, and had been available the whole time.
I’m unimpressed with the Samsung tablets just due to the experience I had with hers.
Android is an open OS and it’s a smart system. What Samsung did to the Android OS as they implemented it in the Galaxy Tablet is a crime.
I can’t see purposely limiting basic functionality in the hopes that you’ll force customers to buy your printers. Yes! I call printing basic functionality.
Arguably Apple engages in a similar closed system with FaceTime, AirDrop, and a number of other features. I recall that Apple took it in the shorts with the first generation iPad because it wouldn’t print.
I wish FaceTime could interface with Skype so that I didn’t have to have two pieces of software that did the same thing on my systems. I wish AirDrop and Bluetooth file sharing worked across devices regardless of the OS.
I’m a big believer in choosing a machine because I like its specs, looks, and comfort rather than what OS it runs.
Seamless connectivity is one of those things I believe in.
I ought to be able to make a video call from my iPhone to a friends android.
I should be able to do this WITHOUT having to turn on Skype, determine if the person I wanted to talk to is online. Text them if they’re not online, telling them I’d like to talk to them, then wait for their Skype call.
After all of that, hell it’s easier to just call ’em on the phone and burn cellular minutes.
Apple, with FaceTime has in fact made calling another Apple customer as simple as clicking on the video camera icon and the FaceTime application doesn’t have to be running at the receiving end. The new FaceTime VoIP feature is very nice too.
I video chat to my Apple enabled friends a lot more than my Skype or Google Hangout friends, precisely because of the seamless integration.
Seamless, that’s what I want and, as it turns out that’s all my retired parents and Aunt want too.
Before you write me off as another Apple fan.
I’ve worked with and owned PCs for years. I spent the last five years dealing with Blackberries and Androids. I’ve used Skype on the Android, I even thought that Google was going to make a unifying seamless application that would allow the user to call, or video chat, or use VoIP.
They do kind of, as long as you’re running their application in the background, and it hasn’t crashed, and you have a Google account.
So I know how that stuff works and how it doesn’t, especially if you’re running on limited internal memory on your device. When it works, it works pretty well.
However, the Apple solution works better.
That’s why I’m overjoyed that my Aunt has an iPad.
I’m hoping that in short order she’s going to have an iPhone too. I like the thought that she can walk into any Apple Store and get assistance. Unlike the situation where she walks into an AT&T store and is lied to or cheated, or “up-sold” to something she has no use for, but will have to pay for anyway.
I’m also jazzed that my Mom and Aunt will be chatting face to face more often.
After all, the technology was designed to bring us together, wasn’t it?
Heading home tomorrow.
I’d planned to leave yesterday or today. But Mom wanted to have a family Sunday dinner. I’m cool with that. The last time I visited FL was 7, maybe 8 years ago I doubt that I’m going to have as long a hiatus before my next visit.
You know the saying, “if you don’t use it you lose it,” that’s unfortunately whats happening with my folks. They really don’t move around a lot and as a result, it’s getting harder for them to move.
I compare my Mom to my Aunt and its night and day. Even though my Aunt is the older sister she’s in a lot better shape and part of it is that she just moves around all the time. She’s always doing something, whether that’s working in the yard or fiddling with some new recipe.
As a consequence, she’s lighter, stronger, and healthier, overall. Yeah she’s got a couple of problems with her hips but nothing like the problem Mom has.
So I’ve learned a lot while I’ve been here. First and foremost is take care of yourself. It’s all too easy these days to plop yourself down in front of the TV and do nothing. All I can say is DON’T!
Stay in motion, work out, walk, breathe the air, and live your life, don’t let things pass you by.
The consequences of doing nothing are terrible and painful for you and for your loved ones to watch.
Imagine your family not wanting to visit; not because they don’t love you, but because you’ve become so disgusting that they don’t want to visit, or expose their children to you.
That’s exactly what can happen if you don’t take care of yourself. Yes! There are boundaries even to love.
Watch what you eat. Salt is a killer! My BP has climbed steadily since I’ve been here.
Part of that climb is due to the fact that everything in this house is processed to the point that it’s just barely food, and it is loaded with salt! Part of it is that I’m used to drinking a lot of tea and water at home. Here I’ve not been thirsty and that means that I’m not flushing salt out of my system. This is BAD! Unfortunately it’s very easy to do.
I think it’s going to take at least a couple of months for me to get stuff like diet and salt intake and fluid intake back on track again.
Yes, I could go to the grocery store and buy my own food and make healthy choices. Problem is, that would be somewhat rude to my folks. So I’ve decided to just tough it out, eating what they eat when they eat it.
Tomorrow at the gas stop, before I hit the interstate, I’m loading up on water and will start flushing my system on the drive home. So what if I’m pissing at the side of the road, there’s a whole lot of open lonely roads between here and home.
I could use a massage, and some naked time! I don’t think I’ll get either until I get home. Yeah I can be naked in a hotel room but I tend to sleep, shower, and take off. It’s not like Palm Springs where I can spend a day by the pool just relaxing.
As to the massage. Well, do I take a chance on someone; I want a massage, not a quick jerk off. It’s difficult to tell the legitimate massage folks from the “I’ll rub your but for a minute and then get you off” crowd.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s room in my world for both practitioners, but I really want a massage I’ll handle my own dick thank you…
I’ll sleep on that one. I don’t have to make a decision right at this moment.
It will be good to be back on the road. I’m tired of seeing the inside of the grocery store, the home repair store, staples, and the grocery store again. I’m also kinda tired of picking up after my stepdad and him leaving a trail of paper, crumbs, paper towels, tea stains on the counters, and greasy fingerprints on the fridge.