Sometimes I think I take things to the extreme. I have had the past two days off and I have purposefully stayed away from the computer, the TV and any form of technology. Dedicated to making these days as long and dull as possible I have read an entire desk reference, Lewis Third Edition Project Management and the feel good management style book, This Is Your Ship by Captain Abrashoff. To be honest with you I really wanted to to see what would happen if I ever became responsible and worst yet, sophisticated.
So Tuesday began at 5am with a cold shower to get the blood flowing. I remember my Grandfather swearing by the rejuvenating effect it had on him each morning. Makes you wonder why he died of a heart attack, huh? I think I screamed a little and while toweling off I couldn’t help but hum Tommy Petty’s, “American Girl”. I think it was because of the Buffalo Bill “tuck” scene from Silence Of The Lambs. I’ll let you figure that one out.
(In case you are wondering, this is what came up when I searched for an image of a”cold shower”. I couldn’t pass it up.)
After the shower I had breakfast which consisted of a sunny side up egg, plain toast and black coffee. As I ate I read the Wall Street Journal to the occasional sound of the percolating puff of the coffee pot. It almost made me crack and turn on the TV, even if it was to the sound of Dora the Explorer. Six a.m. and I was already going mad.
So there I was, about to start my day of enlightenment without the aid of instant information. Sitting at my desk I opened The Desk Reference of Project Management to page 1 out of 552. And there I sat for the next six hours reading with highlighter in hand. I made it all the way to page 10 when these sort of things started popping in my head.
“Does anyone eat inside a McDonald’s anymore?” – Seriously. I try not to eat fast food but sometimes on road trips the only thing to eat for miles is a double cheeseburger. But I always go through the drivethru unless I need to use the restroom but even then I get back in the car only to swing through the drivethru. Actually the last time I was eating in a McDonalds it was for a birthday party and my buddy urinated in the shoe bin of the playground. That didn’t go over well and there were a lot of barefoot kids walking to their minivans. Like I said it was many years ago and I imagine the only people who “dine” inside are 80 year olds who order the fish sandwich with a cup of Sanka.
“Am I too old to sign up for karate?” – Lately I have felt the need to walk around as a registered weapon but not for the purposes of throwing people through windows or kicking someone multiple times with one jump, but rather to wear the uniform. I saw this guy in Kroger a few weeks ago who was clearly over fifty but he was in his karate get-up and had a purple belt on. Now I know little about martial arts but I am pretty sure he only started a few years ago if he was only to purple. That inspired me to think about finding a dojo but I am worried I will be the only 29 year old among thirty 10 year old white belts. Then after class I would meet them out for ice cream in our uniforms and sneakers. Yeah, I don’t think so.
” If my life was on the line or for one million dollars, could I will myself into being a proficient roller skater?” – It’s no question to anyone that I can’t roller skate. I never had the desire to do so and even in middle school I scoffed at the idea. But if someone was pointing a rifle at me and told me to skate, I bet I could force myself into being a pretty decent skater. I am not talking about triple spin jumps or anything but I think I could do a few rounds around the rink without a catastrophic fall on the hip.
Well, before I knew it I was making skating motions with my feet, it was three hours later and I was up to page 125. I had no idea what I read but I was 125 pages ahead of where I started. So to make this long day shorter for those who are reading this, I finished the entire desk reference. All I needed to do was focus with the aid of reading allowed, walking in circles and making up songs to the theme of cost reduction metrics and work management scope plans. Before I knew it, the day was over and I retired to bed and had sweet dreams of everything boring.
I got up the next day to another cold shower, bland breakfast and preceded to read another book. This one was a little better but still not something to keep you on the edge of your seat. It was about how a captain in the Navy inspired his crap crew to be the best in the service and how he did it. Yadda, yadda, yadda….take your $70,000 annual Navy salary, think outside of the box, impress people who think inside the box, sign a million dollar book deal on how you did it, travel around to be a keynote speaker for the rest of your life. Got it.
After all that I have managed to make my two days off seem like two weeks. That’s the secret to elongating a vacation. I guess that is why the elderly drive 35 miles per hour on the freeway, watch CSPAN and Home Shopping, eat at 4pm and read nine newspapers a day. I have cracked their code. Just two days seemed like two weeks so I imagine retirement must seem like a second life.
To wrap up the two days I picked up Chinese food, turned on the tube to South Park, checked the email, felt flattered by the kind compliments from the last blog I wrote and read everyone else’s blogs. I must say that everyone on my blogroll is more talented than the people who wrote the two books I finished. It was very apparent. I’m lucky to have blog buddies that are so talented.