What do you do?

Flash Talk: You’re about to enter a room full of strangers, where you will have exactly four minutes to tell a story that would convey who you really are. What’s your story?

The politician stood behind the bulletproof podium and gave a mediocre speech. His delivery ranged from a low mumble to blasting eruptions as he railed on about the record of his opponent compared to what he would do if he got elected. Tim and another man stood near the back of the room trying to stay awake.

The other man turned and asked, “What do you do?”

Tim stifled a yawn before replying, “I’m a husband to one, father to three, friend to some, sibling to others…”

The other man cut him off. “No, no. What do you DO?” he repeated. “Where do you work? What’s your job?”

“That doesn’t matter as much,” Tim replied. “In my day job, I help the company win contracts and keep other people employed. It’s good work, but there are other things more important in my life.”

“Like what?” the man asked.

“Well, it’s like this,” Tim explained, “My computer wallpaper is a series of images that fall into two categories. The first is scenery. You know, landscapes, mountains, lakes, waterfalls, beaches, prairies and so forth. Places I’ve been, pictures I’ve taken, and where I’d like to go again. The other category is pictures of my family. I’ve got them cycling through behind my work all day long as a reminder.”

“Of what?” the man inquired curiously.

“Of what’s important. The scenery images are where I’d like to be. The family pictures remind me why I work.”

First Birth (Part 2 of 2)

Tim awoke to the captain’s announcement in progress.

“…we’re in a holding pattern over Nashville. The airport is fogbound and we’re awaiting a break in visibility to get clearance to land. We’ll keep circling for now, but if we don’t get an opening in the next 20 minutes, we’ll be moving to an alternate city to land. We’ll keep you posted.”

Tim reached for the in-flight magazine to look at the airport maps. He tried to guess where they would go if they could not land here. What would be his connection to Norfolk? How long a delay would he agonize through as his wife continued her labor? Was it over? Had he missed it? Would he arrive only to see the baby already here? Continue reading

She Doesn’t Want My Job, I Don’t Want Hers

Nightmare Job

In honor of Labor Day in North America, tell us what’s the one job you could never imagine yourself doing.

We have the day off in the U.S. today. Why? In celebration of all the hard work done by the labor force. What better way to commemorate hard work by taking a national day off? Seem odd to anyone else? Oh well. To the daily prompt…

As I read the prompt aloud to my wife, she promptly responded, “Yours.”

My normal day job involves lots of reading, editing, writing, revising, formatting, and sometimes spreadsheets. All computer based work. Eight hours a day or more spent at monitors working to merge and refine documents to help win government contracts for the company. Then I come home and log on to WordPress and blog, or write stories as a creative outlet. She cannot dream of doing that.

She is a creative person, but in a more tangible, hands-on way. Crafts, arts, games, lively interaction with family and friends are more her style. She paints, sculpts, does mosaics, woodwork, and generally makes our home more beautiful all around.

I can’t see doing what she does. My tolerance for the works in process is low. I look forward to the finished product and the intermediate steps cause me frustration. I have a vision in mind for the final craft, but struggle to make it appear. She constructs with ease and almost uncanny adaptability.

Her approach: That side is crooked? Zing, bang, twist, and boom, it’s perfect, while mine collapses into a haphazard pile of unrecoverable rubble on the table. One arm sweep into the trash is all that can be hoped.

Her day job involves crawling on the floor with preschoolers. Again, not for me.

In contrast, writing comes easily to me. She hates it. I enjoy stringing together the words to conjure images and carry the reader along for my brief tales. Storytelling is part of me. She says it stems from my overconfidence and natural lying ability. I say it was honed as a defensive need in the environment of multiple siblings both older and younger. Distraction and deflection equaled safety.

Deadlines Drive the Day

The delivery date approaches. What seemed so far off one month ago now feels like it accelerated as it approached. Our perception of time is so skewed.

English paper due by the end of the semester? No problem. That is so far off, I have plenty of time (to procrastinate).

Wait, what do you mean it’s due next week? Where did the nine weeks go? There couldn’t have been that many days elapsed since the last time I thought about it. I’m pretty sure I only saw five sunrises, and three sunsets. See? Only a few days have passed.

Oh yeah. I’ve been up before dawn, arriving at work in the dark. Spending all day indoors. Working late on multiple projects. Leaving work after dark. Dark to dark. No days to mark.

How could this get worse? I know. I’ll mentally commit to participating in regular blog posting and responding to several daily prompts each week? No pressure. What could go wrong?

After all, it’s only after 9:30 p.m. (eastern US) now and I’m finally responding to the morning prompt…

New Dawn

How often do you get to (or have to) be awake for sunrise? Tell us about what happened the last time you were up so early (or late…).

First Birth (Part 1 of 2)

“I need you to come home, my water broke.” Tim heard over the hotel room phone.  He was stunned into silence.

“But you’re three weeks early. You said it would be okay for me to go on this business trip.” he stupidly replied.

“I’m having contractions. The baby is coming. You need to be here.” she insisted.

“I’ll do everything I can to be there. Try not to have the baby before I arrive.” he moronically stated.

They hung up and he called the corporate travel agency at the 24-hour service number. It was almost 11 pm in Los Angeles, California and he needed to get to Norfolk, Virginia fast. Continue reading