Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Somewhere in my writing I describe myself as “mercurial”. Some people don’t know what this word means. Courtesy of :

  1. changeable; volatile; fickle; flighty; erratic: a mercurial nature.

  2. animated; lively; sprightly; quick-witted.”

It’s a fairly good description of me. I’m not so sure about “fickle and flighty” – I don’t think I’m “Fickle” [which] … “implies an underlying perversity as a cause for the lack of stability” or “Flighty” [which] … “implies slightly delirious; light-headed; mildly crazy or irresponsible”. (okay – maybe “mildly crazy” is CLOSE .. but SHUT UP!). But changeable, volatile, animated, lively, quick-witted? “Hello me” in a nutshell. (heh –heh “nutshell”).

So yesterday wasn’t the best of days. Today I awoke – and expected a similar day. But I was wrong. I never know if I change my fortunes – or if my fortunes change me – but something shifted.

One of the first things I did was write to the client from yesterday and offer an apology. I don’t know how you feel about written apologies vs. verbal – but I think I took the easy way out. Anyway – I ended up talking to the client during the day. Everything was fine – we even laughed a few times. The client didn’t refer to yesterday or the apology – and neither did I, but I felt better with our interaction today.

The day went along. At some point the GM came back to the “guest chair”. As he sat down I flashed him a big smile – and chuckled. (I was responding to a funny e-mail - OPS!) He said, “Why are you in such a good mood? Look at you – you’ve been laughing and cheerful all day today.” And it took me by surprise. Just because yesterday was shit, doesn’t mean today would be the same way, does it? Then as we started to review some programming/client issues I switched to pensive – and actually a little upset. See the “Mercury” changed again. One of the things I struggle with is having to tell a client “no” – yet convince them our programs are still the best. It’s hard enough to convince people change is “great”, much less “change” and “not the way you like or want” is “WONDERFUL” and “you should still be our client”. But it’s even more difficult when a co-worker sits there and says, “Just tell them that’s stupid.” Or “Why do they do business that way? We’re not going to do it.”

Now many times, I am in agreement. People are doing things “the old way” and “there’s a better way”. But there are times – when this isn’t true. When very successful companies do things in ways we don’t expect. In ways we never KNEW ABOUT in our old programs. They discovered the loopholes in programming and made them work – FOR THEM. Now – we’ve changed platforms and taken away the loopholes. And it’s left to me to tell them there will be no new programming (ever) – or in the near future to meet their needs. It’s a tough place to occupy. And it’s an even tougher place to occupy when someone is sitting so matter-of-fact next to you, uttering these statements of finality – without having to take the heat – or deal with the consequences.

So today continued on - two clients – who knew a little bit about yesterday sent words of encouragement and support to me. Words that meant everything. And once again my mood was buoyant. I was so HAPPY – and life was so GOOD.

It makes me feel unsteady to walk this ledge – between “VERY GOOD” and “BARELY HANGING ON”. I do not know how it can change so quickly from one to the other … but it does.

Here are some things that have been “VERY GOOD” in the recent past. Silly things. Inconsequential things – but things that make me smile – and laugh – when the urge to cry doesn’t obliterate the sunshine.

Swanson has returned to selling chicken broth in SMALLL cardboard containers . For awhile they were selling them in an 8oz container. It was awesome! So many things call for a cup of broth or a few tablespoons. If You buy a can of broth, it is hard to freeze – and it will go “bad” in the refrigerator in about 3 days. So these 1 cup cardboard containers allowed you to reseal and store in the refrigerator – or freezer, without making ice-cubes! But then they STOPPED making them last year. But now!!! The 14 oz. cardboard container has returned.

Jewelry Repair and Tailor shop! There is a small “shopping center” (think 1950’s) at the end of my street. It has a bar/restaurant, a “Quick Stop” convenience store , a frame shop, a beauty parlor, and a dry cleaner. On Friday I noticed they added the Jewelry (now I can get a batter y for my watch that I’ve been wearing for 2 years without being able to tell time) and Tailor shop! Oh happy days. I can take care of most of my business within 2 miles of my house. Whole Foods, regular grocery store, gas station, car wash, auto-mechanic, etc., etc., etc. I love living “inside” the town!

ABC - On Monday I trudged to the grocery store near my office after work. I needed a few things so I could make dinner – and I knew it would be less crowed than the other stores on my way home. Besides groceries I needed a light-bulb for my oven-hood/exhaust. I was pleased to be in/out of the grocery store in 15 minutes. Then I walked next door to the hardware store. BUT GUESS WHAT’S GOING IN BETWEEN THE GROCERY STORE AND THE HARDARE STORE?!?! (Yes, I am yelling – and jumping up and down for joy too!) An ABC store! Less than a mile from MY OFFICE!

Now you’ll only understand the excitement if you live in one of these places where the state or local government SELLS ALCOHOL. In places like CALIFORNIA AND ARIZONA – you can buy alcohol anywhere. Hard alcohol, wine, beer – ANYTHING YOUR HEART DESIRES. In California you can buy it anytime after 6:00 am – and until 2:00 am. (as Bob and Doug would say “Beauty”). In Arizona you can DRIVE THRU – and get your alcohol without leaving your car!

But here? Here – OMG – it’s like staging an military coupe. You can only buy “hard” alcohol at STATE OWNED and operated stores. They seem to congregate around the ocean. Here in town – they are NO WHERE CLOSE to my house. Nor on my way home or to the office. They are only open from 11:00 am – 7:00 pm M-F and 12:00 – 5:00 pm on Saturdays . (or something equally OBSURBE). But now! Now – I have one right next to me at the office. Life is grand!

I also heard Steely Dan I.G.Y playing in the grocery store – and it too made me smile.

So there you go – Mercurial Mit – 48 hours.

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