Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Pavilion

I'm sitting at the outdoor picnic table of our company. There's a little pavilion of sorts out here. It's a slate paved area, columned, and half shaded by two-by-sixes above. There's no wireless for my iBook here though, rats. I was hoping that someone nearby left their AP open. (Most people setup wireless in their homes but don't set up encryption. Anyone nearby with a wireless computer can use their Internet connection. In our neighborhood, sitting in my house, I can find three.) I guess for wireless I'll have to go to some Atlanta Bread Company or buy time through Barns and Noble or Borders.

But I have the simple TextEdit editor here for typing. It's not bad really. The freeway is within my peripheral but I look across some trees and a little village of town-homes. The headphones plugged into iTunes help block out much of the noise.

The point of this exercise is to find someplace where I can get away from it all. With phones ringing, email notifications, and interruptions even when folks can see you eating at your desk, it's not possible to get away. Out here, with the headphones plugged in, I can't hear the highway and can insulate myself.

There's a slight breeze out here too. It feels fantastic.

Although, these picnic tables look they were bought from a garage sale. They are weathered and splintered. I've got to be careful about sliding around on this bench.

A small spider just crawled over my left hand. I wonder what else inhabits this table?

There's an exercise group out on the lawn behind me. They are all gathered in a circle imitating each other. Looks like a Simon Says game. They all dress in white shorts and bare legs. You really can't tell where the shorts stop and the legs begin, it's just a snow-white glare. I don't stare.

And that's the general practice among us office workers. We are always looking for a way to relieve the stress. Some of the folks I work with bike at lunch. They'll go three to five miles on their bikes. These are not just ten-speed bikes we used going back and forth to school. These are highly engineered, high-end, custom two-wheeled, carbon fiber frame, muscle machines. And you can get crazy with engineering these things.

I say "engineer" because you don't buy the bike in one piece and pick it up in a box from Walmart. You buy each and every piece and put it together yourself. Some of the parts cost more than I'd spend on an entire bike. For example, I overheard one of them talking about buying a $1,200 wheel! Remember, this is NOT a unicycle. You've got to buy two. And then there's a frame, brakes, detailer, chain, bars, etc. to buy. By the time you get done blueprinting this thing you are in the thousands, as much as some might pay for a car. And you still have no trunk! (At least you don't need buy a remote key. )

For me, my getting away from it all is writing. I started writing some time ago because I would often end the day without remembering what I did. Writing forces me to stop and focus on the present and enjoy the moment. Without it, I seem to keep planning for the next hour, the next day or the next week. I'm always planning the next activity where there is much activity around to just, well, enjoy.

Writing is here and now. It's my exercise.

Many suffer from the incurable disease of writing and it becomes chronic in their sick minds. -Juvenal (AD 60-130)