Saturday, November 2, 2019

Humans and Systems Are More Fragile Than We Know

        This realization often occurs to me in the Autumn. The hubbub of Spring and Summer keeps me from thinking too deeply about the world around me, but damn, what we like to call Fall usually ushers in the bad news...fires flare, people die, friends commit suicide and the nation threatens to get flushed down another rat hole. November especially, how is it that there is never good news in November? I'm guessing that this is why Thanksgiving is in November.
         My life has been one of good fortune...psychologically and physically, I have been one lucky boy. I'm often heard saying, "What's everyone whining about? We are still taking oxygen in and exhaling carbon dioxide... and there is always ample food in the grocery stores." I'm a type "B" personality. I often say that my life is going "swimmingly"...I progress forward by back-stroking and breast-stroking...I'm not fast and I suck at forward crawl (freestyle). I'm seldom in a hurry, which somewhat frustrates my lifelong partner. She's an excellent straight ahead swimmer. I am not a big worrier, in fact I am sometimes accused of being insensitive to the worry and troubles suffered by those around me. 'Get over it' is likely to come out of my mouth before I've thought deeper about it.
        As a "mom and pop" retailer I encounter hundreds of needy people every week. I have dozens of casual conversations with people who "just want to talk" to someone. My early training in the 'social sciences' and 'special education' come in handy in my line of work. I can usually figure out which bicycle, bicycle accessory or repair a person needs within minutes of their arrival in my bicycle store. I don't irritate people and I'm good at knowing when I'm approaching the "thin ice". Every once in awhile I perceive that someone is in need of more thoughtful advise...I usually start with, "Ahhh, what do I know, but have you tried such an such?" This is not a good counseling technique but what do expect from an uncertified bicycle mechanic?