Everybody changes and yet, they remain the same. I am no exception. Or am I?
I am the same guy who lived and worked a modern life in Vancouver but I live and work out here now. And I live and work differently out here. I talk and think differently, too. And it isn’t modern, that is for sure. So, am I really the same guy?
In Vancouver, I made my living by talking, thinking and addressing unusual challenges from working with delinquent youth to helping to assimilate refugees, from building a boutique market for kids to running a medical clinic in skid row. In Vancouver, I talked and planned, convinced, cajoled and tried to manage different types of people. Work was complicated.
Small example: I have had a cell phone since the eighties. When I call up and talk to customer service and mention that, they often say, “OhmyGawd! You have been a customer longer than I have been alive! I wasn’t even born when you signed up!”
Today I do not have a tablet or a smartphone. Couldn’t work ’em if I did. I do not even carry a cell phone anymore. I am a Luddite. Hell, I don’t even wear a watch! I never talk on the phone if I can avoid it and I can as a rule, except for an average of two calls a week. Going from over a hundred calls and e-mails a day to less than 100 a year…………..how different is that!?
Out here, there are few people to talk to anyway, let alone having any to manage and cajole. And, anyway, out here, the single sentence conversation is the rule. If the conversation goes on for more than a minute, the person you are talking to wanders off. They don’t have time for a gabfest.
I suppose texting might work out here if there was service and peoples hands weren’t all beefy and calloused from hard work.
I don’t have time for long conversations either. Not anymore. Now it is ‘yup’, ‘nope’ and ‘how much?’ But the work is significantly more simple, too.
Well, simple in concept anyway.
“Heard you need some wood?”
“Yeah, building a deck.”
“How much ya need?”
“About 750 board feet.”
“Cedar or Fir?”
“Both. Fir structure. Cedar deck.”
“I got enough. Ya want it?”
“Same as always.”
“OK. Deal. When can you deliver it?”
“I’ll figure it out. Let ya know.”
“OK. See ya.”
“Yeah, see ya.”
Elapsed time: four to five minutes. Conversational time? 20 seconds. The balance of the time was spent looking off into the distance, shuffling a foot or so, lighting a cigarette and ‘pondering’ the complexity of it all.
So, with all the other stuff goin’ on, obviously we have to keep the conversation short!
Any further details will be covered off with a few well-phrased grunts on Wednesday’s community day. Sometime in the next month a boat will pull up and the requisite amount of wood will be dumped above the high water mark and I’ll come down and hand the guy an envelope. Then we’ll suffer a few pleasantries and he’ll be off.
“So, gonna get on this deck job right away?”
“Well, you know me. Right away could mean next Spring.”
“Ha ha ha. OK. See ya!”
“Yeah, see ya!”
So, I dunno……….am I the same? Or am I different?