Some good friends of mine, the Bakers (Sarah & Jeff), have recently expelled twin boys from yonder womb. Anyone who's had a baby (or remembers their babyhood with crystal clarity) will know what an undertaking the first couple of years of that life style is about. And by "life style" I of course mean having a baby tethered via swaddling chain to each foot as you try and go about a normal person's routine. It just ain't the same. There's more poo, vomit, tears and sleepless nights than you can shake a stick at, unless that stick is also a baby (sidenote: NEVER shake a baby). Take that stress and throw in your landlords asking for the third time that you vacate your apartment and pire your furniture on your way out so they can fumigate for roaches (which by all accounts, have been gone since before they moved in), and you've basically got a Vegas-grade shit-show (multiple entendre!) for two people (all-inclusive, no expenses paid).
Call to action friends and family, I find myself wielding a broom and vacuum over at their apartment helping them pack it in. Four unlikely house-maids trying to get a somewhat ill-defined task to completion. It's ineffectual but well intentioned, and it used to drive me absolutely CRAZY. These are the kind of scenarios that would have me putting on a foreman's hat, shouting in a megaphone for everyone to do what I say and how I say it so we can get it done right and right quick.
I'm not gonna shy from this, it turns out, I'm a really good leader. I have a unique way of seeing problems and their possible solutions. I tend to think of the end product and work backwards to see the snags in all possible processes. Doesn't make me always right (and I'm okay with being wrong), but it usually makes me right-er. I'm the guy who will stand at the trunk as you bring out bags so he can squeeze them in in an impossible tetris of glorious crammage. I get actual adrenaline boosts from those victories.
So what was different today?
Realizing that part of my agitation is in seeing what someone else is doing "wrong", I ask myself what their "wrong" really means to me. It's not that there way is better than mine, or even that their way is equally valid, just "theirs". Fuck that, my way is certainly better. It's more that, who gives a shit? If we were building a pyramid and I saw someone putting in a foundation stone wrong, I would probably mention something (I don't mind being the guy who says what no one wants to hear but needs to, and as a slave I'd still be all "yeah but, then the rest will be all shitty" while getting whipped). This isn't that. It's four people laughing and making jokes, trying their best to make life easier for two special people, and you know what? It's going to get done. Why does it matter that it get done to my exacting specifications?
I also realize that by creating an environment of cold efficiency in an otherwise casual workforce of friends just trying to help, I'm trying too hard to control my environment without just letting the experience be the experience. Control and my need for it is a recently unveiled challenge and I could write another blog on just that. But I won't. It's getting better :)
I start thinking about my broom strokes. I took a little longer cause I really watched for errant dust and chased it down like it was Harrison Ford and the broom was Tommy Lee Jones and the dust was all "I didn't dirty your apartment, it was yo damn [one-armed] cat!", and the brooms all, "I just want to talk, we can talk about this", but really it wants to get that dust locked up tight in the pan, cause it figures it's got an open and shut case, but Julianne Moore's all "he saved that kid", and now he's second guessing himself... What the hell was I talking about… Oh, right. Point is, I enjoyed doing my work how I thought it should be done instead of stressing about how other people weren't doing their jobs to whatever tyrannical standards I apply to "can you guys help just like, clean up and stuff?".
Taking charge and making things the best they can be is a great skill, and I love having it. Like anything, balancing is the key as well as not doing it just to be right or dwell on what's wrong. I enjoyed my time lending a hand and to be honest, it's hard not to be "glass half full" with a couple of babies around. Cute little balls of mish. One day they'll be people and they can write blogs that constantly derail. Not unlike that train that the dust escaped from….