I pulled up to Pennington Main to get coffee the other morning. This is either prelude to a day off spent doing my thing or a chance to load up on caffeine to bolster myself for work. Like always, the radio went to full static as I pulled up to the building. I had been listening to John Mellencamp’s “It’s a lonely old night” and I could not abide with the static and so slid into reverse and moved my truck the few feet it needed to detach static from song. I sat there, finished my song and thought.
First off, I thought about how good that music was and how delicious is the moment before you get really good coffee. I let my mind go into one of those nice little moments of introspection. This was a perfect time of clarity as I allowed my mind drift into one of the quiet corners of my mind in a search for deeper meaning and inspiration.
I thought about the people I’ve met. It occurred to me how the ones who demand to be addressed as “Mister” or “Sir” or “Mam” rarely deserve the respect of either title. Meanwhile, the folks I would like to give respect are too busy living the life that inspires respect to really spend the time to receive my reverence. The good people don’t need words to acknowledge their high-character; they see it in the mirror every morning. Meanwhile those “other” folks need to be told lies, right to their face.
I thought about what it means to be an elected official. It seems to me that local government is in the news way too often. It is rare that a well-managed engine makes much noise and this engine of government makes constant noise. Perhaps if those who run for elected office saw it as a position of responsibility instead of a position of authority they would be better at what they do. Too often, the elected see their position as a shiny bead to be traded for their own selfish needs. I see some old men puffing up to demand “respect” when the status quo is questioned and it makes me think we are close to meaningful change.
Another little blip of insight came through as I took a pre-coffee pause; I don’t want money, I want a life. If it comes down to greed versus love, I want my love to win. I am tired of money’s use as the yardstick of success and worth. I truly admire those who sacrifice of themselves for their family. However, I think I would rather make myself happy with what is already at hand; my wife, my family, my friends, our cats. I don’t want money as much as I want lifestyle.
The John Mellencamp song got done. The static still wasn’t there but the song that played could have used static. My momentous clarity was gone and I had to be satisfied with what I’d received. Besides, I needed coffee; and I had to go to work.