Woody Allen once famously said that 80% of life is just showing up. Yesterday at work that percent approached 100. Work was a cobbling together of effort at appearing busy with the full recognition that it was on all accounts recognizably false. I moved papers, quite literally across my desk. Piles of reports moved like the shadow on a sundial, charting my progress through the day. While cleaning I did come across a notebook that I bought immediately before visiting DC in May. The notebook is filled with jotted, slant-written notes on meetings with people in polling. Interspersed with notes like, "learn to talk about numbers," and "call Diane Feldman," are other nearly journal like sections.
It's a good chart of my thoughts as I first came to terms with life and work in Washington. A couple of notes republished here:
"Numbers when presented correctly can gain the force and fluidity of language, the power, perusasion and meaning of wordsa not just the tally of items. To take disaggregated truths and make of them a coherent reality that's the great pay off."
What can I say, I was trying to figure out how to talk about numbers. Apparently the only way I can talk about numbers is to make them more word like. When in doubt change topics..."numbers, yeah those are great, especially when they're like words. Did I mention I like words."
"A man should carry a pen. A strong, heavy pen. Something that suggest in form a seriousness and weight of thought if not of intellect. A heavy pen reminds a man to choose carefully his words for excess is strain." Not really sure if I believe this. It feels like something from a long discarded Thoreau-vian effort. It's an aphorism for someone not named Aaron. Lord knows I love the excess of verbosity. Brevity may be the soul of wit, but witty people are annoying. So full of themselves...oooh look at me I'm able to communicate profound thoughts without wasting thousands of characters. Jerks.
Later in the journal/notebook there is a section of date ideas. Haven't used any of them. Maybe I shouldn't publish them here for fear that I'll be thought unoriginal, though stealing from yourself seems fair game. I guess it's finding things like this notebook that make me wish I'd kept a journal. And then I realize, I have. This blog. I sometimes forget that I can go back and look at the archives. it somehow seems regressive or overly nostalgic, maybe even a little self-congratulatory to go back and look at what I've written. Inevitably I am surprised by what I read, not the ideas mentioned but the words I've used. They are either more accurate than I knew, or more naive than I'd like to admit.
2005 has been a pretty remarkable year for me. I started it in Washington and will finish it in Washington. The two dates are separated by 3,000 miles and 12 months, two jobs, two frisbee teams, new friends blended with old. And some other changes as well. Mainly I'm happy to be where I am, emotionally, physically, and geographically. Here's to the changes to come. I know I'll have this space as a place to return in a year and realize all the strange changes that defined my next year.