August 27, 2004

A Collection Of Thoughts About 'Better'

My favorite song title comes from solo guitarist William Ackerman - The Moment In Which You Must Finally Let Go Of The Tether Which Has Held Your Hope Airborne.

This afternoon I got on the elevator with one of our company security guards. Big guy, little squiggly earpiece in his ear, I looked over at him and said...

Me: How're you doing?

He didn't make eye contact right away. He bent down and turned down the radio hanging off his belt and pulled out his earpiece. Then he looked up and smiled.

Him: Don't worry. I heard you, man. You see, people just don't talk to me so I was a little surprised. I see people come in and out of this building all day long, people getting in and out of these elevators. No one bothers to say hello.
Me: That's just sad. People just don't take the time anymore, do they?
Him: Nope. You did though. So thanks.

The elevator slowed, then stopped at my floor and the doors began to open.

Me: Have a good one.
Him: You too.
Me: And have a good weekend.
Him: You too. And you know what? Just...thank you.

It was a brief exchange but it ran through my brain over and over again the rest of the day. Then it kind of tied in with something else I was thinking about. Its become pretty clear that there are lots of people having a rough summer. Dooce and others serve as proof. As wrapped up in my own head and my own issues as I tend to get a times, especially lately, I have a firm belief that there's always the potential for things to get better.

It'll sound too Chicken-Soup-For-The-Soul or Tuesdays-With-Morrie, but I honestly believe that everyone gets out of bed in the morning expecting better, with the faith that things can get better. Yesterday might have been crap but we all have to have the hope of better things in our future. It could be a better job, more money, a new car, finding love, writing the perfect blog entry - regardless, we have to hold on to the belief that things will look up. Maybe only a little bit. Maybe someone will compliment you on the new skirt you're wearing, maybe someone will tell you that you did a good job on whatever project you've been slaving over for weeks, maybe someone will just say hi to you on an elevator. Maybe you won't go unnoticed.

Yes, things happen and the faith, the belief fades. But never can we completely unclench our fists and let that hope we hold escape forever. We can never permanently lose the knowledge and belief that things will get better.

So, that moment? That moment in which you must finally let go of the tether which has held your hope airborne? Despite the fact that I love the title, that's a moment we must all try our very best to avoid. No. Matter. What.

I needed to be reminded of that. I thought you might too.

Posted by Chris at August 27, 2004 10:54 PM

Thanks for the reminder...oh, and by the way, Nice Skirt!!

Posted by: Krush at August 27, 2004 10:59 PM

Yeah, I did need to be reminded. We all do. Thanks for the awesome post at the perfect time.

Posted by: jujubee at August 27, 2004 11:10 PM

have you seen the citibank commercials where people get out of tough situations by just saying 'thank you?' i love those commercials because, though they take the case to the extreme, we get so caught up in ourselves and our angst that we so often forget to show appreciation to others and to life. it's moments like the one you had with the security guy that reminds me that it's so damn nice to be alive, despite (and sometimes because of) the chaos.

Thank you!

Posted by: patricia at August 27, 2004 11:26 PM

Great post!! Thanks.

Posted by: Nicole at August 27, 2004 11:31 PM

thank you for the reminder, chris. Taking time just to say 'hi' - it can mean so much. I know I'm particularly guilty of getting caught up in my own little cast of characters that I let others fall by the wayside.
But yes, we have to believe things will get better. Or else we couldn't get out of bed in the morning. No matter if we needed coffee or not.

Posted by: samantha at August 28, 2004 12:32 AM

don't worry, it's been a really hard summer for me too - weird things in the water, man (like lead!). and about the security guard - when i left my office i'd always say goodnight to the security guard. on the last night i finally introduced myself to the guard on the shift that night. he was really nice. i told him my summer job was over but that i might be back to visit someday, and that he should remember my face so he'll let me into the building (i had to return my keycard). and i gave him my name. call me crazy, but i think somehow he'll remember, since i took the time to do that.

Posted by: rachel at August 28, 2004 01:07 AM


It's odd that on my hour commute home on Friday that I began contemplating "the meaning of life". Now I do my fair share of thinking deep thoughts, don't get me wrong. Yet, on a Friday? On the drive home? Ya know, the one day a week I usually try to turn up some music, and try to forget some impossible deadline I have for Monday morning.. and I let my mind roam to the meaning of life? Geezz..

But after some thinking, which did cause some cramps ;-) I decided that the meaning of life differs for each and every one of us, depending on the life experiences we've had up til the moment we contemplate that question on a Friday drive home... but the Reason for life? That one is simple for me, and seems far more universal.


That hope can keep some of us going when we think we just can't go on anymore. Strength is still believing, and never giving up.


Posted by: dianne at August 28, 2004 01:43 AM

I ran across an entry of yours looking up the so-called "Midgetville" area in Fairfax. Looks like you've closed the entry to comments, so I won't dwell on it, but the Washington Post had this article about it last Thursday.

In any case - I checked out the rest of your weblog, and I dig it.


Posted by: teedz at August 28, 2004 03:13 AM

Great post!

I try always to at least say hi, or an -how are you- to the security people at my office. At least they always give me a friendly smile when I enter the building :)) You should see what sharing candy does too ;)

Posted by: Sweety at August 28, 2004 05:40 AM

Well, your post made me feel like a good citizen since I am a compulsive 'Hello!' person. I have a hard time understanding how people can slink around through their days. But I'm also mother to three kids who don't understand either. Every time we leave the house, the kids are waving and greeting like wee dignitaries on a parade float.

Oh, hey, its all about me! I appreciate the post, Chris.

Posted by: Jenny at August 28, 2004 10:26 AM

Hm. Reminds me to be nice to my musicians at my practice this morning :)

Posted by: Heather at August 28, 2004 10:59 AM

i think it all goes with the cycle of energy that we all possess... the law of threefold return, what-have-you. you took the time to be nice to someone else, you imbibed them with your positive energy... now that energy is out there, multiplying, making other people's lives better and will return to you all the greater.
if only more people would take the call and understand the greatness!

(wow, i should share this on my blog... you know, continue the cycle of good... good job mr. cactus!)

Posted by: monique at August 28, 2004 11:17 AM

Thanks Chris, I needed that.

So far, yeah, this summer seems to be major suckage for so many of us in one way or another. The whole of 2003 was way worse than this summer, but I was in a bad way for the majority of that whole year.

I almost lost my hold on hope, but fortunately, my pinkie finger is apparently pretty strong.

Heres hoping that everyone feels better sooner rather that later.

PS: I'm a complulsive greeter too. HELLO!!!!!!!

Posted by: Scarlett Cyn at August 28, 2004 01:49 PM

You're such a nice guy, Chris. Seriously. This post came at the perfect time.

Posted by: Fraulein N at August 28, 2004 05:11 PM

I definitely needed to be reminded of that - thank you.

Posted by: nettie at August 28, 2004 09:48 PM

I'm glad that you had one of these moments...i rarely have them and like to read about how others are more thoughtful than I :)

thanks for checking out my site as well!


Posted by: amy at August 29, 2004 11:31 AM

great post Chris and you made the 'better' for a lot of your readers.

Posted by: kimberlee at August 29, 2004 03:53 PM

Right on.

Posted by: myllissa at August 29, 2004 04:52 PM

This is a fun little blog you've got here.
I'll be coming back.
Like it or not.

Posted by: RockStar Mommy at August 30, 2004 12:01 PM

Great post, pefect timing. It made me cry a little in that good way that gives you hope and helps you remember the little things in the world that are still good.

Posted by: MoniqueMarie at August 30, 2004 02:49 PM

Great post, pefect timing. It made me cry a little in that good way that gives you hope and helps you remember the little things in the world that are still good.

Posted by: MoniqueMarie at August 30, 2004 02:50 PM