bunt sign

Thursday, February 15, 2001

After a good night's sleep ... okay, after a night's sleep, I was able to look with a clearer eye at the problem I described at appalling length in yesterday's diatribe. I wrote another note to Tim, suggesting a solution. I asked him to tell me which two employees he had generously gifted with hundred-dollar bonuses. They will be getting pay stubs, showing the deductions taken, and Tim will get his two hundred dollars back.

I think that's reasonable, and I'm fairly pleased with myself for coming up with it. I'm not too happy that I flew off the handle and stomped around my house for a couple of hours, working up a sweat over the situation without getting closer to working my way out of it. It took distance, and a spark of unforeseen inspiration, to make progress toward a peaceful settlement.

And it worked, because he called me last night to make peace. He told me he doesn't ever want to make my job harder, and that I could yell at him any time he did something I didn't like. We apologized to each other, and he said, "You're not mad at me now, are you?"

No, Tim. But I have to keep my own pride and prejudice under control or I'll be back rolling around in the mud again.

It was a poor decision on my part to vent while I was still out of control. At least, it wasn't wise to vent where the object of my anger would feel the effects. I don't dislike these people I work with, even when they drive me crazy. And I have the great advantage of never having to deal with them in person. Phone and fax, period.

I don't know how they feel about me, except that they appreciate that I get a lot of work done and leave them alone, most of the time. They're happy they don't get mired in the petty details that I get paid to handle.

But when they don't play by the rules and don't have any respect for my position (plumb in the middle), I lose my composure. I just wish that this time I'd lost it in private. There's almost always a remedy for these predicaments, and it's often much simpler than I make it out to be. It's just that when I go into panic mode I get blinded by the darkest possibilities, and that's when I miss the obvious way out.

jay on the fence

I finished Pay It Forward last night. The last few chapters have some scenes that had tears welling in my eyes, and one spine-chilling, revelatory, it-all-comes-together moment, so that made up for some of what I didn't like, such as the melodramatic, over-the-top ending.

I still like the idea that one person can make a difference, and that people will do the right thing, given the opportunity and someone to lead the way. The book never assumes that everyone is perfect, or perfectly altruistic. People slip up and do the wrong things for the wrong reasons.

Even the concept itself is explained as an example of enlightened self-interest: As the movement expands around the world and it becomes second nature for most people to look for chances to do good deeds, everyone ends up having as much good done for them as they do for others.

But even if it doesn't reach that proportion, it's an affirmative thing to do for yourself, to give up concentrating so much on your own interests and to have a positive influence on the world as a whole through kindness and generosity to the people in your life.

When a worthy goal is found to be impossible to achieve, it loses none of its nobility. The value is in the process, and the honor is in the attempt.

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Alice, Assume Nothing, February 14, My Valentines

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You have very good taste in clothes and guitars.