Thursday, August 14, 2008

Today the Road of Life was full, hard to navigate, and with a few more potholes than usual ...

Patience has been wearing thin and I'm not all that sure it isn't due to a combination of aging and one too many times around the block. The landscape is by now so familiar that I'm less willing to slow my pace and wait for the laggards to catch up. Sound familiar and creepily old?

Of course, one has to assume that what goes along with such an attitude is a kind of glazing over of the eye and a know-it-all toss of the head -- something to be avoided at all costs but nonetheless real and not in keeping with team-playing. I guess I don't do "team" very well these days. That's unfortunate since those with whom I spend my days are of necessity dependent upon collaborative efforts and consensus. Guess I'm not doing "collaborative" very well, either. In fact there are times when the new words and re-phrasing for old ideas and concepts just don't work for me. It means that I have to slow down long enough to interpret from the last time I heard them and what they may or may have not meant in that decade. They are constant reminders of just how little is really new.

It may be that I've simply taken on more than is possible without something having to give. There's an emotional component to my work with the Eugene O'Neill piece that may be costly to the psyche. Re-visiting issues of racism at a time when I'm being called upon to contribute as an objective consultant may be more than a body can manage without some minor slippage.

In the midst of all this comes next weekend's Reid family reunion -- the coming together of (mostly) the young. Each such occasion is moving me closer and closer to the edge, or so it seems. I'm now among the oldest (can't remember anyone older in the entire bunch) and that's disconcerting. I'm beginning to subconsciously respond to the very alive memories of those who are missing ... so many now ... more than those who will be present for the festivities - and all the busyness in the world can't push away the march toward those end days.

Maybe that's what's behind the recent rise in my "annoyance" levels. I'm becoming withdrawn -- working diligently in my cubicle -- putting together the string of words requested for a meeting with some Oakland contacts that are needed in the long range development of our parks. We'll need 3 things (a)"Betty, send us a comprehensive paper on your understanding of what is needed; (b) then a list of people or groups we'll need to bring together in order achieve your objectives; and (c) then a list of the steps we'll need to get us there." Sure. Easy. Time consuming. Necessary.

Accomplished the first paper (5 pages, single-spaced) in preparation for our one o'clock meeting tomorrow afternoon and today will work on the rest.

But first I need to deal with the right-in-front-of-my-face issue of details of the programming for the October 5th Home Front Festival and my mind is elsewhere ... .

I know that the need is great to expand a constituency for our parks that will outlast the changing political structures of the surrounding Bay Area cities. But then I remember that even thinking about such things may be way beyond the expectations of my lowly position. I'm not always sure that "community outreach" means reaching this far out. This is "superintendency" stuff, or at least "chief" of something-or-other in park-speak, right? But my long and deep experience in working with the political process in a former life as a state assembly field representative taught me that without educating the public to the importance of historic preservation (or any other issue needing addressing) through which to give these projects life -- we're at the mercy of constantly shifting mayors and city council members. Elected officials are often reluctant to adopt projects that will take longer to complete than their current terms of office since they don't enhance the resumé one iota -- and if it doesn't fit on a bumper sticker... well! Besides, long-lived people tend to have long-ranged views of the world and I'm no exception. I know that without an aware and engaged constituency few urban parks could be created or survive. As in most of our political lives, the initiation point may be Washington, but without the support of the local community, much of our representative's best works might well wither and die before coming to fruition. Tomorrow's meeting is in the interest of long range planning.

But now it's time to shut down my computer and get to the office so that I can deal with things I'd rather not do ... like figuring out whether I can get my co-workers to agree to extending our October 5th 2nd Annual Home Front Festival program an hour at the far end and eliminating the first hour so that all of the performers we're engaging will have time to get their mikes situated for the best effect and amps set properly ... and, and, and.


(... wishing my cubicle had a door!)