Monday, July 30, 2012

The Sabbatical: Day 51

The preparation process rolls on.  This project has a lot of energy to it.  In a very interesting way the response that I get from people when I tell them that I plan to quit my job, sell my house, and travel and go back to school is universally positive.  More than positive, people seem to get energy from it.  

I went to Porland, OR, in July to attend the Assessment Training Institute that is presented by the Pearson Assessment Institute.  It was a great experience...loved Portland and it is clearly someplace that needs to be on the list of destinations for the travel period.  At the airport, when I was leaving, I was waiting in line at the TSA security.  I arrived at the airport with time to kill, and had a little lunch in an amusing restaurant that had a kind of Jimmy Buffet caribbean motif.  The staff were amazingly happy to see me (good training) and after I sat down I realized that I had left my reading glasses in the car.  Now, I can manage pretty well without them, but I was reading a great narrative of the Lewis and Clark expedition that I had grabbed at Powell's Books in Portland -- an amazing bookstore that should be on anyone's must see should they find themselves in Portland -- and I really wanted to read it, which was completely beyond my capacities without the gentle aid of my $9 reading glasses.  So...I left my bag at the table (horrors! -- I expected some TSA agent to come flying out of the kitchen and interrogate the waiter as the owner of the bag -- what devious terroristic device might lurk in the thin recesses of my MacBook Air) and ventured off to find an airport gift store that might sell reading glasses.  I found said store and lo and behold what to my wondering eyes did appear but a glasses rack with twenty or thirty different pairs of reading glasses from which to choose.  Glittery, turquoise, stylish...decidedly feminine offerings every single one.  I am particularly challenged when it comes to anything of style or color, so I invested a bit of time puzzling over the choices until I finally approached the counter and inquired, "do you have anything a bit less feminine reading glasses?"  Alas, all that they had was on display.  The friendly clerk confirmed that they were, in fact, not designed for men or even particularly gender neutral.  I have enough problems with folks confusing my sexual orientation (theater director, a bit on the eccentric side, socialist...lots of stereotypes get played into) and while I don't anticipate a sudden flock of attractive middle-aged women to appear if I get some testosterone laden glasses...though it might not hurt...I didn't see any need to make things worse.  In any event, I was assured that the gift shop on the concourse had a different selection that might prove more useful.

In any event, after finishing lunch and heading to the concourse I found myself in the security line.  It was quite long...longer then normal I would assume since it exceeded it's roped boundaries and a somewhat passive gentlemen was trying to create two lines at the back end to reduce the queue's expansion into the busy airport spaces.  There was some gentle rearranging and folks were chatting back and forth a bit about the unexpected length of the queue, and after a little bit I had struck up a conversation with the very attractive and unfortunately married women in front of me.  She was in her business attire and after a bit I discovered that she had been in Portland for a sales meeting and was returning home, which was San Francisco.  We were making small talk about San Francisco, in which she lived in the city proper, when a snappy dresser in the first class express line quipped to her, "How do you feel about health care?"  It was a puzzling comment and she laughed but didn't really respond as the quipper moved away.

Side Note -- How is it that a program supported by taxes creates a class tiered system for service at the airport?  I completely understand that the airlines have a motive in providing services and perks to their high paying customers, but everyone pays for's a government program.  Bad policy.

Anyway, turns out that my queue-mate had been harassing her wealth dinner companions the previous evening about the need for universal health care...not a common attitude among the sellers of expensive goods on the highways and byways, so the comment had been a gentle jab.  This turned the conversation a bit political and talk of wealth and privilege led to my observation that I was planning on divesting myself of most of my worldly goods and going off in search of new insight.  Her response, which has been typical, was to offer a variation on these phrases...

"That sounds like a great thing to do."
"I don't see how I could do that."

This idea of starting over has a seemingly primal appeal to folks, and it will undoubtedly be one of the themes of my writing as to why that might be.  Are our efforts to fulfill ourselves with work and community so generally unrewarding that we immediately see a new start, a reboot, as a thing to be desired?  That seems like the wrong answer, but there is a basic dissatisfaction at play even among those who are seemingly highly satisfied.  What is it that we seek?

On another note, my queue-mate (I need to get better about asking people for names) mentioned to me that there is a book about living with 100 Things.  I have since discovered that there is a 100 Things Challenge which I'm looking into more closely, but one of the pre-sabbatical activities should be to make my list of 100 Things.

Okay...more later.  Perhaps I'll start to write more frequently.  Somehow by the time we get to the first day of the actual Journey segment of the sabbatical I need to be doing a consistent blog.

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