Sunday, May 17, 2009

Groundhog Day, Revisited

My last posting was about how I'm stuck in Groundhog Day, going through the same routine every day.  One way to view that is being stuck in a rut.  But that's not what I feel here ... "stuck in a rut" means experiencing the same thing over and over.  Instead, I'm noticing the variety that's to be found within a routine.  A routine gives structure that enables you to appreciate the differences, big and little, that provide interest.

Walking my dogs is an example.  When I'm at home, I walk them twice a day.  We go at pretty much the same time every day and follow pretty much the same route.  You'd think we'd be bored to tears.  You'd be wrong.  Soozee and Indy are acutely aware of tiny variations from the norm.  They know where to expect the neighborhood dogs, where a squirrel or rabbit might appear, and whether this car or tin can or burger wrapper is out of place.  Each scent demands their full attention.  Is it a regular one?  Or is it new?  Indy has an ongoing debate with another dog about which one is the neighborhood alpha female (the other one is four times her size, but that doesn't matter in the least), so when this other dog's scent is smelled, Indy goes to General Quarters.  Which makes keeping up with her quite a challenge, despite the fact that her legs are only about four inches long.  My point is, the routine of the walk gives a structure to their world and allows them to notice, appreciate, and respond to all the hundreds of variations.

When we take the dogs someplace entirely new, they can go into sensory overload.  Too many new things are going on to be able to make sense of it all.  Man, I know that feeling, too!

So within my own little Groundhog Day here in Baghdad, I'm getting to somewhat the same place as my dogs on their walks.  I know what the routine is expected to be each day.  But it never plays out the way it's supposed to.  Meetings are changed or cancelled.  Something that wasn't even on the radar is suddenly my top priority, at least for a few hours.  I'll be tasked with preparing a decision briefing for the general that will affect how the Corps of Engineers will operate in Iraq for the next couple of years.  Meanwhile, we have to fit in breakfast, lunch, dinner, workouts, and laundry.  Any one of those things could consume my full attention and be the most interesting thing in the world - for me, for a while - but be of no interest whatsoever to anybody else.  And it certainly makes for boring blog posts.  What do you care about the jokes at lunch that had me rolling off my chair?  Particularly since I can't repeat them in polite company!  

So today was Groundhog Day again.  I got up, Skyped with my wife, went to breakfast, and went to work.  Had a bunch of drive-by taskers that I took care of.  Went to lunch and yukked it up with my lunch group.  Took care of a few projects and emergent minor crises in the afternoon.  Went to dinner with my dinner group (same as my lunch group) and we yukked it up some more.  Went back to the office and cranked out a couple of emails and called it a night.  That was my day.  

And it was actually a pretty good day.

1 comment:

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 05/18/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.