Moving on

Sometimes things don’t work out. It happens to everyone. What to do?  Well, try twice rings a few bells for me.  Whatever it was that you attempted, it is most likely worth taking another shot at it.  After that? Well, it depends.

A lot of foundational thought in my mind is based on my own experiences as a computer diagnostician (anyone can replace parts, I can figure out which part need to be replace, and why,) as a skydiver (a plethora of experiences and training,) as a Advanced Master Catechist, (the Diocese of Lansing’s fancy way to say Sunday School teacher,) and as a retired politician (I preferred ‘statesman’.)

Apart from that, over and over again I see influences in my thought from books I’ve read, movies I’ve seen, and especially the many conversations I’ve had.  Somehow, I try to take in as much information as I can each day, compare it to what I already know, sort out the truth or fiction of the new information and then amalgamate it into my collection of knowledge. On top of that, I have always been a “people watcher”.  I could sit in a busy mall for hours watching the people go to and fro.

I especially like to watch small groups, three or four people interacting on a topic.  Watching who talks most, who’s looking at who, mentally trying to figure out the group and relationship dynamics of the group – who is the leader, who’s following, and who’s just trying to keep up.  Leading classes, whether skydive ground school classes or Sunday confirmation prep class, I do the same as I’m learning about my students.

In Sunday classes, it is important to make sure the whole class is involved and participating in the lessen.  When I teach, my students can expect some opening conversation, breaking the ice again each week.  Then we’d normally watch a video from the series we followed, Chosen, followed with a group discussion on the topic presented.  By knowing the dynamics of the class, it was easier to take the air from someone that liked to talk too much (usually without them actually saying anything,) and to ensure that quiet kids in the back had a chance to share their opinion. Also in that context, it was easy to see changes- a normally outgoing student that was suddenly quiet one week – I would know the topic wasn’t sitting right with them.

Some lessons in the Catechism are hard and hard to teach, and even harder to teach to teens.  Yet, I enjoyed it, I loved it, I thrived on it.  Teaching skydiving was a close second.  Most often, some of the same dynamics were involved.  A father and son together, husbands and wives, siblings, groups of friends.  When teaching an AFF ground course (students that would be flying their own parachute,) it was important that every student knew what was going on and be prepared.

Also, that every student was individually willing for the jump.  Sometimes, those dynamics would let a person sign up for class, with the purpose of skydiving afterward, when they, individually, did not want to.  Why were they in class?  They agreed to the group activity with their spouse.  Another student, a young man with his father, seemed eager and ready with his father in the room, yet always had more questions when he father was not around. Siblings were a mixed bunch – sometimes working together to do better in class, sometimes one picking at the other.  One student had googled and read the entire SIM (Skydive Information Manual) before class and was trying to begin teaching my class when I arrived.  That had to be shutdown quickly.

Lately, rather than group dynamics, I’ve been thinking about the dynamics of a single person, starting with myself.  Part of my journey was to find peace and solitude in which to write my story of two thousand twenty two. Having survived the year, I want to to remember the details of the steps I took along the way, the steps I’m still taking along the way.  All the new information and experience, are almost getting in the way of that, yet, that is life.

When I first met Erin on the beach and we were talking, I mentioned Juan, the helpful beach enforcement officer.  She had a poor opinion of him.  She told me a story about him, one where he had seen she was way out in the gulf, and parked by her car and waved her in from the water.  The reason?  So that he could watch her walk up in her bathing suit.  I found the story odd as it didn’t align with the (very little) information I know about him.

A short while later in the conversation she had shown me the meme objectifying women, and we had that conversation (same link as above.)  The next day, I had mentioned Juan again (as we were looking for him, or another enforcement officer,) to purchase an annual pass for her, as she does come park daily at the beach.  This time I asked about the rest of her story, what happened when you got up there?  He gave her a warning and an opportunity to buy the twelve dollar pass and avoid the five hundred dollar fine.

That was nice, I said.  She agreed and we moved on.

Last week, I had mentioned the battery bandits here at the Water Only portion of the campground.  Every few days I would see a battery charging up in the restroom, contrary to the amenities we’re scheduled to receive.  The first day back to the campground, I ran into Chris coming out with his battery in hand.  Not much more than a nod and a “long time no see”, as we passed each other.

Somehow, between these two experiences, I see a pattern and I wonder if it applies to myself.  Erin openly objectified a woman, and then told me stories that she thought others objectified herself.  Chris, taking energy that was not his, was worried about the same with his daughter.

Certainly I know the concept of projection, and with my current journey, that has kind of been the point.  What am I projecting from myself onto others or into my stories?  Anything?  Everything?  For months, every conversation I had with others was in regard to my health.  I couldn’t stop telling the story and the story kept evolving.  Even when I wanted to talk about anything else, the topic always came back around.

Did I do that?  Do I project my problems on the others? “Begging the question” so to speak, getting them to ask me about the topic I didn’t want to discuss?  I’m starting to think this happens a lot more than I realize it.

Kent has been with me again at the campground today. He’s enjoying some of this peace and quiet, yet I think he misses the constant barrage of people at the beach to interact with.  Today, I took him out to lunch at Smolicks (the great BBQ place Falco told me about.)

Three times I listened to him interacting with others.  Where are you from?  (asking when he had already seen Minnesota plates) Oh I bet it’s cold there.  (waiting for the question he knew was coming). “Alaska, the real deep freezer” he would say.

A little script that worked like a charm, same as with myself (though he didn’t see my plate, we met with a wind blown hat.)

As I’ve written more and more of my story here, I find myself thinking about it a lot less, and talking about myself a lot less too.

I think that is a good thing.

I just had to look back to the top to remember where I was going with this.

What to do when things don’t work out?  Move on.

When I took Kent out for breakfast last week, he followed me to the restaurant I’d choose.  When we got there, he mentioned a place down the street that had a more “American breakfast”.  I had pick a Mexican place, de isle.  I told him I was sure they would have a selection that would appease him.

He thought slowly, deliberately and out loud about what I said.  “Well, I’m not sure about that.  Well, I suppose you are buying it though. Well, I guess I’ll stay for a free breakfast.”  (insert pauses in there..)

What were his choices?  Concede or move on.  As I was not having a discussion about my choice for breakfast.

My shortest post this year, NY strip business, was the smallest example of this and the clearest.  I made an offer, it was accepted, we moved on.  The same would have happened though, the “moving on” had that man declined my offer to trade cuts.

Simple yes/no and move on.  Yet, not all transactions seem to work that way.  Some conversations seem to go in circles, just like some arguments, and some peoples lives.  Do you know a person that always wants to have the same conversation? Or maybe a conversation they don’t want to have?  Maybe it’s one about how great their life is or isn’t.  Even if you don’t bring it up, here it comes again – time to have the same conversation again. Play your role, saying “ahh”, “ohh”, and “uh huh” on que as if it were the first time.

Kind of like drugs.  Hitting the same bowl and getting the same high.  Getting whatever feeling they get from the conversation at the expense of your time and whatever feelings you’re left with.  Good business?  Rinse and repeat?

Well, it’s not like you can stop and choose the people that have access to you in your life.

Wait, wait, wait a minute, yes I can.  Having left behind hundreds and thousands of people I know by name in Jackson, Michigan, I miss very few of them, though I love and value many.  However, so many of them had the same stories.  Every single time.  Girlfriend still pissed about last week, still a day late on the bills, can’t find a job, still at the bar on a Tuesday night.  Hmm..

What was I stuck in? A severe medical issue with a three to six month recovery that slowly turned to a twelve to eighteen month recovery.. yes.  Is that it?  Well, maybe a marijuana assisted depression for the last few years, maybe since two thousand eighteen.. yes.  Is that it?  Well, maybe some old memories from youth that never got talked about, maybe some events in my life as a teen, that should have been talked about..  yes.. is that it?  Well, actually a lot of memories and stories that should have been told a long time ago..

Let’s move on…

I’m pausing to think for a second on the relationship between these things.. “These” being one) the conversations that people (and myself) can’t stop bringing up and even setting up others to bring them up for us.. and two) the opposite.. how do we keep stories buried so that they never get brought up?  I’ll have to think about that one for a while..

Okay, enough gibberish, it was a pretty boring day.  Woke up just before dawn and waited for daylight to exit the tent.  This is actually getting a lot easier – rising from ground level.  I can even do it now with no assistance or handhold.  I think it still kinda looks funny while I do it.. kind of like Micheal Jackson doing a break dance move, in reverse.. yet from sitting on my butt, I can get my feet under me, twisting to reach the ground, going to a “bear crawl” position (hands and feet on ground,) then rising up on my feet.  With a handhold, I can do it without the bear crawl move.

Worked more on the car today, almost done with the inside wiring.  Now I have all the radios powered from my solar, and even a battery maintainer wired in from the solar to keep the starter battery topped off.  Once I have that all cleaned up tomorrow, I’m going to try a test load and see how much of my stuff still fits in the trunk, and in the new space behind the passenger seat where the batteries were. I think I’ll have a little bit more sorting to do, yet I think I’m close to done.

I’m looking forward to being done with this project, the digipeater, the radios, the wiring, the sorting.  Yet, all of this have been necessary steps to get me where I want to go: Mustang Mobile.  Just me, in my car, ready to drive anywhere and.. be.  Be me.  Play some radio, take some pictures, listen to some new stories and then, move on.

The bright spots today (actually, it was good all day, just the car work is starting to feel a bit monotonous) other than lunch with Kent, was a conversation on the radio this morning.  Monitoring one four six five two, I heard DC call out, so I came back to him and we had good conversation (for me) on a topic I’m familiar, off-grid electricity.  His interest is in wind rather than solar, yet it’s really all the same regardless of where your free volts come from.  Into a controller to the battery bank to your power distribution and up converting as necessary.

What makes it a great conversation – well, I was certainly filled up with the opportunity to share a few points, and be questioned, and share, and be questioned, and share some more.  For me, it feels great to know someone is listening when I speak, and there is no better way to demonstrate that than with clarifying questions.  For DC, he got lucky to ask the right operator the question on his mind today.  A tete-a-tete, I called it, a meeting of the minds where real information was shared.

Helping one ham is great, yet I know I can do better.  Soon my car project will be done and I’m already collecting photos for that article. I’m looking forward to getting the mundane stuff done, so that I can start to enjoy it all in my new daily life. Mustang Mobile.. I really do like the sound of that, always ready to take off.

Side note (end note, whatever) I do like to smoke, yet I can’t think of a good reason that I like to smoke pot or even hemp after my experiences in the last few weeks, so I bought some good old fashioned Prince Albert in a can.  One of the worst tobaccos that I know of (no Cherry Cavendish in Mathis,) yet, it smokes.  Smoked a bowl full, felt like smoke, I liked it, then I went back to work and I wasn’t high. And it’s a lot cheaper than the vapes sold around here.

I seem to have gotten all my work done today, and this post- twenty five hundred words even- all done already and it’s only nine oh five.  Did not smoking pot today put me three hours ahead of my schedule?

As far as be being okay with a little pot.  I still am.  Give me a little pot, and I’ll smoke it until it’s gone.  A few days ago, I talked about tapering the little bit of real pot that I had to last a while.. one hundred times stronger than the legally available hemp blunts here, I could have keep my tolerance the same and had it last a month. It’s gone.  However, I still do have a little pot (the pipe) and in that bag of weed.. I found three seeds.

When I get to New Mexico, I’m going to get a new little pot with some dirt.  And smoke my tobacco pipe while I watch weed grow.

A little pot is okay – yet, I always seem to go for a little more..

I’ll figure me out one day.

Time to rest.


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