[posted from the free wifi at Vancouver's international terminal]
I’m sitting on a five hour plane flight to Vancouver, which is prelude to a 15 hour flight to Sydney. And I’m working, because while I am a highly productive person when I’m “on”, I’m also an incredible procrastinator, so I’m finishing the scripting of all of my workshops and speeches in the air. (Does that make them more lofty? A girl can aspire.)
So here I sit, thinking that if I sat and took some time to write free-form, I might warm myself up for the actual work of writing about the stuff I need to write about. It’s a tactic that works well for me, and hey, I HAVE THE TIME. (20 hours in the air, for gods’ sake.)
Thus, I offer a few random and barely relevant observations on life, the universe, and everything.
- Good music makes everything better. I have a mix on my iPhone called “Sleep”. I built it on the fly on one business trip as something to listen to when silence or earplugs weren’t an option, and I still needed to put myself into a quiet, sleep-like place. It’s full of songs I love – Toad the Wet Sprocket’s “Walk on the Ocean”, Madonna’s “Rain”, Band of Horses “No One’s Gonna Love You”, Butch Walker’s “Don’t you think someone should take you home”, P!nk’s “Glitter In The Air”, The Decemberists’ “January Hymn”, Pete Yorn’s “On Your Side”, Springsteen’s “Empty Sky”. And I found myself sitting here, in the middle seat on a 7-whatever-7, smiling into the middle distance. Comfort songs, like comfort food. Mellow but emotionally satisfying, interesting to listen to on earbuds without the giant swell of big speakers… If you can’t control your environment, control the little bits of it that you can.
- Humor makes the world go ‘round. When faced with the reality of a 5 hour flight as leg 1, and knowing that it’s child’s play compared to leg 2, I turned to my boyfriend and said, “Hey, let’s fly over 80% of Canada this afternoon.” He replied, “Well, okay, but only if we can go to the beach tomorrow.” “Nope. Tomorrow’s getting eaten by the International Dateline. But we can swim in a hotel pool on Thursday.” “Okay. Let’s do it.” We both grinned, and he went back to watching Underworld 4: Everyone Loves Kate Beckinsale in Vinyl and I picked up my pile of articles on resilience, both of us with slightly lightened hearts.
- I am eternally grateful to my liberal arts education for teaching me how to read science. I’m plowing through about 20 articles pulled from a variety of scholarly and trade publications, ranging from exceedingly out-of-my-scope clinical and social psychology studies to organizational leadership and training articles. The trade articles are easy; it doesn’t matter if it’s libraries or organization theory, “how to do it and summarizing current thoughts” all read the same. But the scientific studies… That’s different. And I’m exceedingly thankful that I know how scientific writing works. They all follow a formula, one I recall from my introductory science courses in college: Background of the issue and thought. Hypothesis. Varying stuff on methodology and implementation. Results. Analysis. Conclusions. It’s small things, like knowing that largely, for my purposes, I can skip everything after the Hypothesis until they start talking results, analysis, and discussion. Knowing that there will always BE a section on results, analysis, and discussion. Knowing that you can’t stop at hypothesis, as it’s not always proven correct. Without my basic science education, fostered by the liberal arts model, this would be much more arcane.
- I’m equally grateful to my liberal arts education for showing me how to think through and with interdisciplinary perspectives. The best article I found today, and the one most applicable to my purposes, relates to oncology nurses. Not precisely libraries… yet their conclusions are transferable and applicable. I regularly say, in re: libraries, “they’re just books. Nobody dies,” yet the best lessons I found today are ones from a field in which large numbers of somebodies die, regularly. Don’t study and learn narrowly. You’re going to lose something if you do.
- Always bring your own chocolate and water on airplanes. ‘Nuff said.
More from the other side of the world.