The HeliOS Project is now.....

The HeliOS Project is now.....
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Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Shooting Star Across The Sky


I thought it was just a tad silly at first.

The email that is...

I didn't see any real sense in the nostalgic tone...the touchy-feely ambiance that lived on the inside of my monitor screen... like a coat of syrup. The only thing missing was the "Wind Beneath My Wings" sound track. In all, I guess the discomfort stemmed from the fact that this email was from an old girlfriend.

And remember, X'es are X'es for a reason. Sometimes we tend to recall these things a bit too late.

My first thought was maybe she was ill. Fighting a filthy killer myself, I guess I am more in tune with that than I normally would be. After thinking about it, I did one of the most intelligent things I've ever done.

I printed the email and showed it to my wife.

There was nothing overtly forward in the email...nothing to suggest anything Spitzer-ish, nor was there barely a hint or sly mention of getting a drink together to kick around old times. It was simply someone who at one time was bed-sheet close, wanting to emote. It wasn't anything else.

What it boiled down to was a combination of melancholy, proximity to a keyboard and a newly-acquired email address.....

And a song.

Now, I've been married to Debbie for 16 years. You know the old saying about knowing someone like the back of your hand? Apparently, there was a spot on the back of my hand I missed over the years. I had mentally calculated her reaction to this email prior to handing it to her. I categorized and prioritized the possible reactions and mentally ordered them as to how I thought she would react.

I never for a millisecond considered her first reaction.

She Googled her address then picked up the phone and called her.

Holy Crap.

Now I'm going to be the first one in any male group to admit I have absolutely no clue. All through out my adult life, women have told me...in various states of raised vocal expression:
"You don't know a thing about women!"

Well Duh. Ya think?

Every aspect of this situation seemingly led down the road to a loud, unpleasant and heated telephone conversation...I did the only thing a man can do in these situations.

I left to go see if the lawn needed mowed. Any lawn, I didn't care. As long as it got me out of the house for the next 15 minutes. 15 minutes is usually the amount of time it takes my wife to verbally disembowel someone to her meticulous standard.

I sat out on the deck staring at a lawn mower that wouldn't start and mentally hunted for the spark plug wrench. I was astral-projecting myself through some dark and dangerous tool drawers when I heard the back door open.

My wife stood in the doorway holding the phone to her ear and holding my cell phone out in front of her, thrust in my direction. She excused herself from the phone conversation long enough to shake the phone back and forth in her hand.

"Here. It was ringing but I didn't get to it in time. You'd better see who called."

I took the phone from her and she turned on her heel to go back into the house. After the door closed and she was 10 feet into the house, I heard her laugh into the phone.

I didn't bother to look to see who had called. I wanted to know how that other conversation went. Obviously she had dispatched Ms. X and moved on to calling her Mom to tell her of the short, vicious but victorious battle. I followed her into the house.

Not wanting to seem too nosy, I detoured into the kitchen to get a glass of iced tea. From there, I could hear the conversation taking place in the living room. It didn't take long before I realized that she was still talking to X.

And they were still laughing.

Now ladies...I've made my proclamation of ignorance when it comes to you girls in general. I've come to grips with the fact that your psychological complexity is something I will never even briefly glean a sliver of understanding. I'm OK with that...it has evolved into way too much work. I equate it to trying to untangle a 12 inch ball of fishing line.

At least with the ball of fishing line, the knots stay in one place while I try to take them out.

I went back into my office and sat at this terminal, trying not to hear the conversation and hearing just enough of it that I wished I was 10 feet closer.

There was no need. My wife came into the office and sat down in her chair...then told me about her conversation.

X was feeling particularly guilty about some things it seems. The email was her way of trying to explain those things in a way that didn't get too specific but acted for her as a cathartic event, allowing her to close the books on some things.

What?

Uh...OK, I guess OK...I will pretend to understand that "reasoning" But one product of this impromptu phone conversation I will never "get".

Debbie and X are going shoe shopping together next weekend.

Give me quadratic equations...make me translate Latin text from some rotting parchment found in clay jars in the back of some cave...but don't ask me to explain how THAT evolved.

X explained in her email that she had been driving home from work one afternoon and when she turned down her street, she noticed a man working on the roof of a house. She pulled into her driveway and stopped to watch him as he labored across the street. It was obvious that there had been many people on that job site, but the setting sun framed his lone figure up on that roof, working until the light failed his ability.

She said that while she watched him work, a song came on the radio he was listening to and as she listened to the music from that radio and watched that man work, she thought of me.

X is aware of my passion for this thing I do. She comes and reads my blog and from time to time comments as an anonymous user or one of many registered members she has created. It was during this period that she switched to Linux herself.

She's a Mandriva kind of girl it seems.

Her point was that in watching the roofer work, she placed the words of the song in context with his labor. She thought about how some people "stay to finish" long after others have heeded the clock and punched out. She said that the words to that song with the man working in front of her made her think of me.

Well, I am flattered, but I cannot accept this at face. First of all, to compare me to someone who swings a roofing hammer on top of a building during the summer months in Austin Texas is like comparing Mr. Whipple to The Hulk.

More importantly, there are untold number of us lone laborers on that single roof...you just don't choose to blather on in a blog or highlight your efforts in doing so. You go about your business driven by a passion...not a paycheck. You endure hundreds of failures in order to achieve that one single success, and it is that one success that drives you forward to face that next long line of failures...because you know what resides at the end.

In the end, who knows the statistics that may be accurate. How many out of 100 will we liberate? I don't know...the data I have accumulated will not allow me to put such things into a neat little matrix. In the end, it doesn't matter. What does matter is that I know I do not labor on that roof alone...that not too far from where I work, you are there...doing what your heart and your spirit tell you to do.

I am the lucky one...I know who many of you are. I know what it is you do...and why you do it. It is knowing this which makes driving that next nail seem not so bad...that next failure not so bitter.

So no...that song isn't mine...it's ours, yet fits every one of us individually as if tailored for us. It belongs to those who strap on this task and find that it fits as if made for us by the Sage. It brings to sound and mind the ones that do thankless things just to be maligned and made fun of by people that think they are powerful and above all who tilt at windmills.

No, it is these words that are powerful...and they are yours alone.

Listen and heed what is being said...

You are The Shooting Star Across The Sky. (ctl + click)

Runner

Through the night, through the dawn
Behind you another runner is born
Don't look back you've been there
Feel the mist as your breath hits the air
And it's underneath the moonlight
Passing some
Still your heart beats in the moonlight
Like a drum

Through the night, through the dawn
Behind you another runner is born
Don't look back, you've been there
Feel the mist as your breath hits the air
And it's underneath the moonlight
Passing some
Still your heart beats in the moonlight
Like a drum

And you will run your time
A shooting star across the sky
And you will surely cross the line
To pass on the flame
Sun come up, sun go down
Hear the feet see the sweat on the ground


Watch your step, keep your cool
Though you can't see what's in front of you

And it's underneath the moonlight
Passing some
Still your heart beats in the moonlight
Like a drum

And you will run your time
A shooting star across the sky
And you will surely cross the line
To pass on the flame
Pass on the flame
Through the night, through the dawn
Behind you another runner is born
Don't look back, you've been there
See the mist as your breath hits the air

And it's underneath the moonlight
Passing some
Still your heart beats in the moonlight
Like a drum

[The Runner lyrics on http://www.metrolyrics.com]









All-Righty Then


3 comments:

kozmcrae said...

Hmm. You know those stories about the husband who went out for a pack of cigarettes, never to return? That was a brave thing (or possibly some other attribute) you did, giving your wife that email. Which way do we march sir? "Toward the sound of the guns."

That was a wonderful post. It will most certainly cross the eyes of my beloved. It also dispels a well-worn myth about geeks. Thank you Ken for sharing your softer side with us. Thank you too Debbie. Us guys often assign female bravery to their mitochondrial DNA. Now I know the truth, it's the prospect of a new shoe-shopping partner. What the heck is it with shoes anyway? But the reality is, it was your courage, and courage has nothing to do with your DNA or your shoe size. It has nothing to do with your gender either, but has everything to do with your heart. And thanks go to Ms. X. You started this whole thing. How often do we let these moments pass? Too often I suppose. I'm glad you didn't pass up the opportunity to share it. We are all much better off for your act of bravery.

Blog of helios said...

LOL...your post is fairly well needed right now Richie. The emails have been blistering, and fully recognizing that I am prone to hyperbole, I really, really do mean blistering. Let me post a few that don't contain stuff that might be rated X by today's standards...realizing it takes a lot to get that rating these days.

"maybe you ought to go with them and find yourself a nice set of pumps you fa****"

"Dude, you are so way kicked out of the Guy's Club. The least you could have done was passed her off to a brother without a hookup at the moment." You aren't a stay-at-home husband by any chance are you?"

"...and I bet your idea of a good night is sitting with your wife and crying together while watching Chariots of Fire for the 9th time."

"Great h, that's all we need is you going and getting in touch with your feminine side...dude grow some will ya?"

My Feminine Side? I'll show you my feminine side you jerk.

No, never mind...that won't get anything done, I just write that off to someone being an arschloch. And, to anyone who has any vague idea that I've contacted my "Feminine Side", I've only got one question for you...

Do these jeans make my butt look big?

h

John said...

Hey - don't let the naysayers get to you. Having a strong relationship with your wife is something to take pride in, that kind of trust & respect is earned. You're walking the walk with K4K and that makes you more of a "man" than many!