A Character In Your Play
Relative to me...
The world is a vacuum and I am only a character in the play that is your life. I have come to find that each of us tends to judge others by using one's own situation as the "norm." For instance, if we work from 9am to 5pm Monday thru Friday then everyone else must work those same hours to be relevant to us. I once had a neighbor who worked the graveyard shift at an aircraft company and would come home from work at around 6am. Upon his arrival home he would help get his kids ready for school and drive them there. He would then go to bed from 8:30am to 4pm. He had a sign on his porch that read, "Day Sleeper, DO NOT DISTURB!" Everyone else on the block thought he was lazy, because they all went to work when he went to bed... as if he was out running around town every night...
9 to 5?I often find myself in a similar situation. I have been self-employed for many years and as a result I find myself working 12 to 15 hours a day. Many of my colleagues don't understand how I operate. Since they work 9 to 5 then it is logical for everyone to work from 9 to 5. So how is it that I seem to be so flexible with my daytime hours while they are stuck at their desks or machines during those same hours? Obviously they believe that I am either a vagabond or a "trust fund" child... In fact neither of those is true about me. Years ago when I owned a retail business, I would do all of my bookkeeping and paperwork between 10pm and 2am. This left me with the ability to deal with the physical day to day activities of running the business, as well as the ability to deal with the usual emergencies and unexpected situations that would occur almost daily. It also left me with the ability to schedule multiple meetings with company reps, vendors and suppliers. I soon found that this "easy" availability also worked to my disadvantage. Often times the reps and others were under the false impression that I had an enormous amount of free time and that somehow I obviously wasn't taking business as seriously as they were. They could not have been more mistaken, but then they weren't around at 4 am. Needless to say it became annoying to have to describe my schedule every time...and seemingly have to justify my time.
When I became involved in the internet, the same things started to happen once again. I have a complete office in my home and much of the work that I do can be done at any hour. I have the ability to keep my days flexible, while programming and designing late at night and into the early hours of the morning. If needed, I can work all night and all day... Again this has caused a certain amount of difficulty with both clients and other contractors with whom I work periodically. They simply cannot comprehend how someone can be available during daylight hours on relatively short notice. Their mistaken notion that I am somehow less devoted to my job than they are tends to reveal itself occasionally and I find myself once again detailing my schedule to them. Even close friends don't seem to get it -- on more than one occasion I have heard my acquaintances and colleagues volunteering me for things because... "he obviously isn't that busy, since he's always available..."
In the late 1980's there was a shift toward a 24-hour day. Markets and many other businesses were beginning to stay open 24 hours. It appeared as though we were entering an age where traditional business hours were going to be a thing of the past. Freeway traffic was starting to level off as work hours became more diffused and there was a great deal of discussion concerning the benefits of telecommuting. Somehow it all came to a grinding halt in the mid 1990's. It was mildly resurrected for a couple years with the hype of the internet and the non-traditional work force that it temporarily encouraged, but even that fell apart. Today we are once again mired in the traditional working day, complete with its requirement that you fill your cubicle each day between the hours of 9am and 5pm daily. Bosses and supervisors simply refuse to trust telecommuting employees, since they can't watch over them -- but they will gladly let you take your work home with you after 5pm!
Sooner or later everyone will let you down...I once sub-contracted with another web design company. We had a great relationship for several years, because I was always available for daytime meetings, as well as other usual daytime business activities. Ironically, this was type of business relationship that I thought could handle both non-traditional working hours as well as telecommuting. WRONG! As it turns out that company was even more narrow-minded than the company reps and all of the other traditional business people I had previously encountered. It all came to light when I got called for jury duty... that is another column. Suffice to say -- It's funny that the people that you think you can most count on will at some point let you down. I will write about that phenomenon in another column.
Back to the vacuum...Anyway back to the vacuum of my existence. You were searching for something related to the terms used in this page and somehow you now find yourself reading this convoluted monologue. The fact is that this page doesn't really exist beyond your need of it. Once that need disappears the page will no longer exist, unless of course you hear mention of it by another character in the play that is your life or if by some chance you revisit the page at another time.
If a tree falls...The question -- if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? The question can only be answered if a definition for sound is first established. Some definitions require that a sound must be heard or perceived by a human ear. Other definitions require that only physical characteristics be produced by the actual fall, such as a fluctuation in the prevalent frequency pattern prior to the fall and then the return to that prevalant frequency pattern after the fall. If one applies the first definition then all things require your presence in order to even exist. If that is the case then this page does not exist unless it is read by you. Thank you for giving my writings and me an existence! Eventhough it was only a fleeting existence, it was an honor to exist for you. What a convoluted path it took to get to this conclusion.
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For papers -- The following is an acceptible MLA bibliographic format for online journal article sources:
Gigliotti, Lorenzo. "I Am Only... A Character In Your Play." The Random Times
The quixotic mind of Lorenzo Gigliotti
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