Sunday, April 27, 2008

On the Move

This entry would have reached you sooner if I hadn't been accosted in Artisan’s Gallery and Café by a passionate Phoenixvillean who, having overheard my conversation on politics with Jenifer and her visiting parents, asked who we were going to vote for in the Presidential election. We made the mistake of eye contact and were soon regaled with a sweeping, epic tale of Saskatchewan agribusiness intrigue. Apparently, when the prospect of mad cow disease loomed large in Canada, the parliament cut federal subsidies to the railroad industry and forced our newfound companion to reroute her beef through Montana and USDA inspection prior to its return to Ottawa, and me to wonder how folks who come up with their best ideas while piloting freighters across the Siberian Sea end up in southeastern Pennsylvania.

You can see why a story like this could hold a person up, and I’m skipping the parts about guerrilla grain trading in Russia and the revolutionary role of beef futures in the rodeo circuit. True, afterwards I did also grab a burrito at Qdoba, see Baby Mama at the multiplex, and pick up a handful of items at the supermarket, including a watermelon I attempted to hold in my lap while driving home until Jenifer pointed out that it had made the journey from Honduras just fine and wouldn’t mind rolling around on the floor of the Prius.

That all these happenings found their way inside an otherwise ordinary five-hour stint on an average Saturday may give you an idea of the fullness of the past month. It may also give you the idea that I’m suffering from schizophrenia, but I assure you that upon learning—on this same Saturday—of the plot of the fanciful and apparently unendurable musical Carousel and quickly deducing that its thematic point of view is best described as “there’s always a carny in heaven looking out for you,” I think my emotional state compares quite favorably, thank you. Besides, this April was no August, to be sure, but then that may be due to a new and welcome prevailing sense of calm. A breakdown, then, of recent mentionables:

1. I ran the Cherry Blossom.
On my first day in Marketing, I was asked if I would join the crew on its annual pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. CUT TO: me running the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 5K. This event is really a sideshow to the world-famous Ten Mile Run, but was much better suited to my minimal and lately erratic cardio training. I told myself I would just “have fun” (code for “don’t be so hard on yourself”), but then the old instincts kicked in and I ended up placing seventh with a time of 22:22. The Wraith of my college distance-running days was long gone, but for a Clydesdale I did okay. All things considered, I pretty much rule.

2. We toured historic Philadelphia. This, in itself, is nothing particularly noteworthy, of course. However, in Washington, Jenifer and I made a new friend from corporate who would be in Philadelphia the following weekend in preparation for the company’s annual spring conference. Dan wanted to see the city from the ground. After a day of viewing important artifacts including the Liberty Bell, a statue of Robert Morris (who at the age of twenty-two was wealthy enough to fund the Revolutionary War), and several of Benjamin Franklin’s privies, we made one of our last stops at the historic City Tavern. Here Dan and I imbibed a sampler consisting of the home brews of Messrs. Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin, as well as an ale of the era. I finished perhaps only 9/16ths of the assortment before feeling quite liberated. In some respects, I am still very much a lightweight.

3. I successfully discharged my civic duty. The very week of the aforementioned spring conference, I was also scheduled for jury duty selection. I was happy to participate in this aspect of government, and even happier to receive $9 for reading First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently. Good book, that.

4. I delved deeper into the Norse epic. There will come a day when I report the triumphant conclusion of this effort, but for now I am content not to concern myself with such mundane notions as time and progress and to remind myself, as I did in D.C., to have fun. What were once delays are now fruit, and they are free to roll wherever they want.

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