Experiment

Apr 20, 2006 | | 1 comment
Sometimes my heart is full and my mind is full and yet I cannot think of a thing to write. This is an experiment to see what happens when I write whatever comes to mind.I just put on earphones and am listening to Pat Metheny. Normally, I want quiet when I am writing, but tonight the television is on and is playing mindless sitcom reruns. The noise is distracting. I just turned up the music because I could hear the TV over the music. I despise the TV. Especially commercials and the stupid laugh tracks on sitcoms. Actually, I think this show was recorded live, but it still annoys the heck out of me.

i have gotten spoiled by Microsoft Word’s autocorrect feature. i never type upper case I’s anymore. i expect the program to make them uppercase when i hit the spacebar. As you can see, this editor doesn’t do any correction at all. i guess i will have to keep backspacing and retyping my i’s.

At work I am programming again right now. It is fascinating for me to watch myself. It has been several years since I have written any “real” programs. My work has been more about creating and managing processes, reporting, teaching and training. The team I am on now has a need for some java programming and that was some of the last programming I did. So I am the java programmer.

I am in an endless pursuit of who I am. What are my strengths and weaknesses. What is it that I love to do. What do I hate doing? What is God trying to build into me? What is it that he wants to show me about myself?

As I am writing code, I find myself “head down” at the computer much more than I am normally. Normally, I am out and about talking with customers and coworkers or reading documentation. I spend a lot of time reading and responding to emails and dealing with “crises”. There is a part of me that likes the heads down nature of programming. It is a finite job. I can see the results of it and see how much I have accomplished.

One of my strengths is my ability to take something apart and see what makes it go. I used to take my toys apart when I was little. I remember the steel cars we had. They were almost always manufactured by putting the separate pieces together like so: One side had a slot and the part that matched it had a little tab that fit in the slot. Then the tab was bent over at a 90 degree angle. I would get a little screwdriver or a knife and pry up the tab and separate the parts. I wasn’t satisfied until I had all the parts separated. I don’t remember putting them back together again so much as I remember taking them apart.

The part of me that drove my taking things apart to see what makes them go is the same strength that drives me to understand whatever it is I am working with. It sometimes goes like this. I will be typing in Word and accidentally hit a key, like hitting Control+d when I meant to hit Control+s to save. Up pops the Font dialog window. Most people would say (or think) a dirty word, close the box and continue. I would close the box and try a few key combinations to make sure I remembered that combination just in case I might need it again sometime. Another time, I need a program to do something that I could get around, but I spend 5 or 10 minutes researching it. I want to know how to let the computer do the work. In the long-run it pays off for me. Lots of people come to me for help with Word or Outlook especially. There are so many obscure tasks that most people never learn how to do. I thrive on it. Those are some of my jimazing strengths. What are yours? Do you ever look at yourself and ask those kinds of questions? Maybe my asking those kinds of questions is just an extension of this strength in me.

Another observation about myself when I am writing programming code is that I can so easily get myopic and forget about the world around me. That one scares me. When I get like that, I am less aware of my surroundings and I risk neglecting the people and things that I hold dear. It is part of who I am. In fact it is happening right now. I want to call one of my daughters who is going through a rough time, and I’m spending too much time here writing… I guess my experiment was successful.

Posted in: personal, writing

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