Thursday, November 26, 2020

At A Distance


Like the rest of the world, I am so ready for this pandemic to come to an end.  I want people to travel again, to visit family and friends.  I want church to be like it should be with fellowship, hugs and handshakes. I want to see stadiums filled with cheering fans. Let’s get back to living.


But, with that said, I must admit that I don’t miss the things that most people have missed during 2020.  I have always been a loner.  An only child who did not need others for entertainment.  A child who enjoyed playing with other kids but did not need them.  As I grew older, I loved sports and was a good teammate, but always needed my space.  I need long drives by myself with just music and my thoughts.  I need time to read and to sleep, both being the ultimate escapes for me.


As a student, nothing was more draining for me than “group projects”.   Ok, let’s meet, assign the tasks and get on with it.  Everyone do their job and we’ll be fine.  But that’s not how it works is it?  It always takes twice as long as it should and is seldom done well.  The only people who like group projects are little dictators, cheerleaders and slackers who have no issue with letting others do the heavy lifting.  The rest of us, even those who aren’t loners, despise group projects.  


As an adult in the business world, one does what one must do to succeed.  And that means meetings and committees and other peoples' problems by the bushel.  But, that’s the job.  So one compartmentalizes and forges ahead, hopefully, with at least a few relatively capable and trustworthy people around them. 


And now as an even older adult, I have been working remote for some years.  Constantly on the phone, or emailing, or texting…busy and interacting with a lot of people from all over the country.  I meet more new people daily than I ever did during my years managing transportation companies.  I like the action, the variety and most of all I like talking to people about things that really matter…whom they should hire... or should they go to work for this or that company.  Even more I like the fact that no one is standing at my door.  And if the phone rings, most of the time, I do not have to answer it at that moment.  The same for emails and text messages.  Usually they can wait, if only for a few minutes.  And, when the day is over no one is pressing me to go do something, drink something, eat something or discuss something which is most often pointless and of no consequence.


So, indeed I like my time and my space.  It is not a positive trait for anyone aspiring to high position and a major reason why I “under-achieved” for most of my career.  The ladder is crowded and you cannot climb it alone.  I do not miss the ladder.


When this pandemic is over they say we will have a new normal.  I think it will look a lot like the old normal.  More people will work from home, so there may be a bit less traffic for a while.  Business travel will be slow to rebound as companies have discovered that so much of that expensive travel was unnecessary in the first place.  But everything else will fill up quickly.  Holiday, vacation and weekend travel will explode.  Those restaurants, bars, theaters and assorted other gathering spots that did not go out of business will be packed with happy patrons.  Free at last, free at last.


But, those of us who prefer to walk alone will not be joining you.  So by all means, please celebrate your happiness and your return to the freedom of gathering and rubbing elbows, nibbling from one another’s plates, singing, dancing, drinking or praying to the gods you have chosen.  You can have my seat.  I will be elsewhere, at a distance, thankful and quite happy not to be there.

"He liked to get off by himself, a mile or so from camp, and listen to the country, not the men."

-Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Dove



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