“The Telephone Breaches The Walls With Imperious Demands”

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Sometimes it pays to color outside the lines. I have an important writing assignment due at work and it needs to be completed by tomorrow. Yesterday afternoon, I opted to work from the South Office (aka-my home) in an effort to sequester myself from outside distractions. Consequently, I left the office at lunch and headed homeward.


There was a method to my madness. In addition to an environment of peace and quiet free from distractions, the commute home would be much easier at noon than at the end of the day. It was raining when I left the office. Nothing is as refreshing as a gentle rain unless of course, you’re in heavy traffic. I had driven to the office in heavy traffic yesterday morning. It was a very long commute. Somehow the transportation rules of the road have gotten crossed. Maybe it’s related to keeping Austin weird, but raindrops falling on the windshield are synonymous to a red light. It defies explanation, but all traffic stops.


Yesterday morning the last three miles to work took me about 45 minutes. I had turned on to the overhead ramp to access IH-35 North. Bad mistake was the flashing light inside my head as soon as I took the exit. It wasn’t a stop-and-go situation it was just “stop”. It added a whole new dimension to the term “snails pace”. I guess you could accurately describe it as a very slow left turn. I spent 35 minutes on the overhead.


On the other hand, my left turn was negotiated far more safely than the one a pickup truck made in front of me on my way home yesterday afternoon. I was about three miles from home when a driver chose to turn left across the highway in front of me. I guess there is nothing like “pedal to the metal” unless of course you’re turning on a wet roadway during the rain. The driver lost control and his pickup was all over the roadway. Fortunately, he regained control before he hit the front of my car, but it was a close call.


Arriving at home, I immediately set myself to the task of getting busy with the assignment. I set my laptop up on the kitchen counter where I could get the sense of looking outside as well as writing. I would have worked in the sunroom, but the table where I would have worked isn’t near an electric outlet. I needed to keep my laptop powered up so I didn’t risk losing anything. Consequently, the kitchen counter was a good alternative.


It was a great plan for about three minutes. I lost my connection to the server at work. After that happened twice, I was having thoughts of the book: “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”. The deadline looms and there isn’t an extension option. I’ve already played that dance card out for the last time. At least I didn’t have gum in my hair. If you haven’t read “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”, the gum in the hair reference will make no sense for you.


“From the moment Alexander wakes up things just do not go his way. As he gets up, the chewing gum that was in his mouth the night before ends up in his hair. He spills milk on the floor… .His friend, Paul, deserts him for his third best friend and there is no dessert in his lunch bag. The dentist tells him he has a cavity (and thus Alexander is the only on who had one) and he has to come back next week so it can be fixed; the elevator door closes on his foot; Anthony pushes him into a mud puddle; Nick says he is a crybaby; he punches Nick in response, and their mother punishes him for being muddy and for trying to punch Nick…At home, they have lima beans for dinner (which he hates); there is kissing on TV (which he also hates); bath-time becomes a nightmare (the water being too hot, getting soap in his eyes, and his marble going down the drain); and he has to wear his railroad train pajamas (which he also hates)…”


I abandoned my laptop and made my way back to my home office. I didn’t have a view of the outside from my office because my computer screen is sitting front of the window and I didn’t have the connection to the work server, but I had the viability of knowing whatever I wrote down would stay written down as long as I remembered to save it.


I won’t even begin to tell you the number of times I’ve found myself with “STUPID” tattooed on my forehead because of my failure to save what I’ve written. Of course when that happens, I start all over again and I kick myself every step of the way. It is a frustrating experience.


Okay, “ready, set, go” – I was off and running. Mine was a distraction free environment or so I thought. Oh yes, the telephone. I forgot about the telephone. How did Charles Hummel phrase it in his book: “The Tyranny of the Urgent?”


Hummel said this: “A man’s home is no longer his castle; it is no longer a place away from urgent tasks because the telephone breaches the walls with imperious demands”.


“The Telephone Breaches Walls With Imperious Demands”- That was true for me yesterday and they were all work related calls. I would have been better served to carve out the time to work and leave my cell phone in the other room. At any rate, I worked until 9:00 p.m. and opted to watch an episode of HGTV with the General before we both fell asleep and went to bed.


I felt good about the progress I made on my writing assignment yesterday, but I’m not close to finished. I awakened about 4:00 a.m. this morning to the sound of heavy rain hitting the skylight in the bathroom adjacent to our bedroom. I had the thought, “Why not sleep in and work from home?” Sometimes it pays to color outside the lines.


When I got up this morning, I double checked my home calendar. There isn’t a good reason I can’t work from home today. I’m grateful to say, I don’t have gum in my hair and I didn’t have to wear railroad train pajamas last night.


All My Best!






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