“If one person calls you a jackass, ignore it. If two people call you a jackass start looking for hoof prints. If three people call you a jackass go buy a saddle.”
Attributed to numerous sources in various forms.
Ann Japenga recently scolded me in an email, “…you were born to have adventures and write about them–not to work at a lucrative old job!”
Given she is a writer, and a good one whose opinion I respect, it made me think.
She was actually the third friend in recent months to tell me the same thing –albeit in different ways, but all rather emphatically.
The first incident involved a friend following me around my office at home, reading aloud passages from one of my books, ignoring my requests to stop. In between every third sentence or so he would shout, “Listen to this! This is what you should be doing!”
“Should”…one of my least favorite words…ughhh!
The second occurred at Sheila Derrick’s house (co-adventurer on the Confluence and Navajo Mountain outings.)
Barb and I had been invited there for dinner. We arrived just in time for happy hour. I was not allowed to have a drink until Sheila finished taking five minutes to tell me how much she enjoyed one of my books. She then spent the next five telling me how I really should (there’s that word again) be writing more. After going so long without being able to pour a drink I confess I didn’t hear much after the second minute or so. But I’m sure it was all heartfelt, good advice.
(OK….Just kidding. I always listen to everything she tells me.)
As Dorothy Parker once wrote, “I hate writing, I love having written.” (She also is credited with another one of my favorites. When asked if she was going to join Alcoholics Anonymous she responded, “Certainly not. They want me to stop now.”)
The actual act of writing is very lonely and hard. It means going off into a room by oneself for a long time and hammering away. Although I consider myself an asocial animal by nature, I’d still rather spend most of my weekdays getting out and about, meeting and greeting and selling –or in Ann’s words working at my “lucrative old job.”
(Actually it’s not a job. I own a business called AZ Controls. But that’s just splitting hairs for the purposes of this post.)
So my current preference for spending my “workdays” took me to Page, Arizona last week. There I met with Bryan Hill, one of my co-adventurers on the Keet Seel trip, who also happens to be General Manager for Page Utilities.
Joining us was Dave Sandy, a business associate who specializes in building custom electrical control panels. After six months of trying to get the two of them together I finally succeeded.
We met briefly at the Page Utilities office and then had lunch at The Dam Bar and Grille. Afterwards we proceeded to the water treatment plant where Dave and I saw Bryan’s panel requirements first hand.
One thing that caught our immediate attention was a dozen or so ducks floating in the “untreated” side of the “pond”.
“They eat the shit out of the water,” Bryan explained.
Dave said he might give up duck hunting.
After taking a few photos and discussing a few technical details we were finished.
Barb and I took advantage of the occasion to spend two nights at the Wahweap resort. Between the meeting and some other work (responding to incoming phone calls and emails) I didn’t have time to do anything real exciting or adventurous. A couple quick hikes, including Horseshoe Bend, was all my free time would allow.
Hiking by myself gave me a little time to think about what I “should” be doing with my life.
I came to no conclusions. But I also reminded myself I’m honestly enjoying every day again.
And after all I’ve been through the last few years that‘s more than enough for now.
(To see how the panel installation turned out watch the video below…no ducks!)