Sunday, November 10, 2013

on the map, all over the map

I just completed Malcolm Gladwell's new book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.

It's timely or so it seems because a week ago today I read an article in the Mississippi Business Journal which listed my hometown as one of the nine finalists in a competition of thirty-three which vied for optic fiber to be installed in their communities. The writer of the article did not even know we were a town. He listed us as a county in the north of the state. I laughed. This was an issue I was familiar with since for twenty years I lived in another area and when asked from where it was I came it was always assumed I meant the county since nobody had ever heard of the town.

But the Mississippi Business Journal? Now that was funny.

By Tuesday the state's paper wrote on an article on a little town of just 2,200 people who had wowed the fiber company by doubling the response per capita of any of the other thirty-two cities. The town nobody knew was a town was now on CNBC's website listed not as a county but as the town they are.

I stirred the pot and did the wave and a friend and I hugged and laughed and high fived and then agreed, We're on the map.

This week we're asking, Now what?

This is where I look at intention. The why is the most serious question and even when I answer it I have to analyze it's sincerity and the more important do I know what the hell I am saying. The pros, the cons, all the unknowns, do I trust those around me who tell me this is good.

A week of getting honest because before that this was about the future. This fiber thing was going to benefit our kids through education, all those beautiful things they could study on the internet, access to the world at the tips of their fingers. There were businesses in town who could not even access the internet. Selfishly I was hoping that fiber would push opportunity into my more remote area and provide me with more choice than satellite. We would all benefit.

But the kids. I had to go with the kids because well, that was about the future and increased opportunity  in a place that only recently, seemingly got put on a map.

So Jess. This is Jesse's hometown.

Bright eyes shining, songwriting, colors are more vivid, performs like her Daddy, energy which if we could harness we wouldn't have to worry about the oil. Jess.

Last night I took her to the Bluegrass Hall. According to Mom's Kindle I had about an hour remaining on Gladwell's book. The house band wasn't playing. Jesse found some kids with whom she wanted to play so I sat in the car and completed the read. At 9:15 she jumped in the car obviously amped on cupcakes and sweet tea.

Are we going home now?

Yep, I had finished the book and was still focused on what it meant to be David in the Goliath story, about U curves on graphs and basketball teams who do full court presses and decisions about how and what and why and unknown futures.

Did you have fun? I asked.


A scary dog?

Yes. And one of the boys threw ice at him and he growled like this, she did her best impression of scary dog snarling and growling.

Jess, you're not scared of a dog. Why where y'all harassing him?

I wasn't. Itwasthatboy. LookLookthereheis, theresthedog, theresthedog, she almost jumped out of her seat and I was all of sudden concerned she didn't have her seatbelt on and that it was dark and I had to concentrate on driving and seeing where I was going and I said sternly, Calm down. Do you have your seatbelt on? I'm trying to drive. It's just a dog, Jess.

She said nothing. In total silence she sat back in her seat.

Do you understand? I was still driving, keeping my eyes on the gravel road. The car was dark and still I heard nothing. I stopped, turned on the interior light. She was looking straight ahead. Jesse, you answer a question when I ask you something. It is rude to ignore me. Do you understand?

I nodded, she said.

Frustrated I turned off the light. She was slumped and asleep within minutes and I had the rest of the ride home to consider the read, the opportunity for a small town and a future and how all those thoughts had kept me from being present in a moment that I actually had with a kid.

And that's when my own Mom's voice echoed in my head, Balance, child. Balance.

Today I am grateful for the opportunity to be present in the moment even when I miss it because missing it shows me how valuable it was.

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