Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dogged

One of the things I watch for at this age, of course, is the onset of old-man habits. I've noticed one coming on -- slow, dogged preparation. Today rather than hopping into the passenger seat of the car, and hauling my pack onto my lap, I opened the back door and set the pack on the back seat. My patience -- which you might also define as my determination to do things the easy way, regardless of how long it takes -- has been steadily increasing. If it takes that long, well, it just takes that long. I'm not to be hurried or flustered.

Which seems all to the good: it's a combination of a longer view (if my back's a little iffy I'd better coddle it; I have several massages scheduled this week) and of not giving a damn how I appear. "Dashing" is no longer in my repertoire, no matter how I sling my pack around. I'll settle for "comfortable." And if people have to wait five extra seconds for me, well, it won't kill them.

Now, those who know me might observe that I've always had a dogged and deliberate streak, and further that they've never known me to be all that sensitive to the opinions of others. But they wouldn't be quite right about that. Even those of of us who are, as a middle school teacher delicately said of my daughter, "internally motivated,"* have a list of proprietary characteristics we pride ourselves on, and one of mine was swooping in and out of vehicles. It does injure my pride a bit to be observed deliberately loading the car when all I'm doing is going to breakfast. But pride, as I think now, is there to be humbled.

*"Your daughter is internally motivated," observed the teacher. "God yes," I agreed. "She's as internally motivated as a mule."

10 comments:

Zhoen said...

I like "internally motivated as a mule." Very much.

Jarrett said...

A certain amount of ritual around entering the car as a driver can also be a nice way of acknowledging that your about to dramatically increase your ability to do accidental harm to others. Three-breath centering meditations should be mandatory before starting the ignition, no matter how many angry people want your parking space.

Dale said...

Ah, now that's true enough, Jarrett! You should drive a car as mindfully as you'd carry a loaded gun.

Jayne said...

Dale- you've just made my year. I've realized, after reading this post, that I have no car ritual and simply must get one. It would make every ride so much more enjoyable. (Perhaps it would lead to better organization on a larger scale, as well?) ;)

Peter said...

I'm with you on the watch!

Patry Francis said...

There's something very satisfying about dogged and deliberate. It's almost a form of mindfulness, don't you think?

Lucy said...

Congratulations, and a happy New Year!

Kathleen said...

I understand this doggedness! And patience. Happy New Year!

bigskymo said...

I'm about to log off for the New Year and found your blog. "Wind in the Willows" is my favorite book of philosophy;-) I look forward to your 2012 posts - Happy New Year!

Murr Brewster said...

That's putting a shine on it, that is, Dale, old man. :)