Monday, February 14, 2000

My Own Magnolia

"The Earth is, in reality, an oblate spheroid because the Earth's rotation causes it to bulge at its equator and flatten at its poles. The local latitude is determined by the angle between a plumb bob and the equatorial plane of the Earth. A plumb bob hangs perpendicular to the surface. The plumb bob in this case does not point at the center of the Earth. If that latitude were 45 N, then the location of that point on the Earth will be closer to the equator than the North Pole."

I was sitting in a House Tax Committee hearing next to one of the people that I respect most when it suddenly dawned on me that I was having another revelation.

But let's back up a little shall we?

Last weekend I was enacting my normal Saturday morning routine. It is the only day I can sleep in so I stay in bed until around nine, brew up a fresh pot of coffee, peek my head defiantly and groggily outside dressed only in my T-shirt and boxers, get my newspapers, and stroll on into the kitchen where I have a modern operating but old fashioned looking radio. I turn on KSTP-AM 1500 and listen to Saturday Morning Sports Talk with Patrick Reusse and Joe Soucheray. Last weekend the boys were talking about a tidbit Joe had come across- that Larpenteur Avenue runs along the 45th parallel meaning it is the exact midway point between the North Pole and the Equator. Since I live only a few blocks south of Larpenteur, this means I live closer to the Equator than I do the North Pole. Balmy, simply balmy. I was quite enjoying this newfound bit of knowledge which somehow brought a warm smile to my face every time I thought about it. I, of course, had to share this bit of trivia with everyone I came across. It has been quite a while since I have had a similar entertaining anecdote to share.

Actually the last time was on a trip I took out east via Amtrak. I had to transfer in Chicago and had a four hour wait. I had noticed on my way down that I had forgotten my watch, a rather vital piece of equipment when relying on a train schedule to get me to where I needed to go. So I wandered down to the Sears Tower hoping to find a cheap watch at Sears. But I was in for a bit of a surprise. There is no Sears store in the Sears Tower. How amusing is that!? I ended up buying a fancy shake me awake travel alarm at the Sharper Image that was in the Tower. I learned a lesson about names not always being what they seem.

Just when I thought I couldn't be any more giddy, last Saturday night as I was still relishing the tropical like conditions on this side of Larpenteur I turned on The Pretender which featured guest appearances from the actor and actress who were the evil schemers in one of my all time favorite shows, the long lost and forgotten Savannah. I was positively delighted at sharing in this unexpected reunion one which I'm sure most people would not have appreciated the true significance. It was merely a commercial testimony of the fluidity of time.

What do all these memories have in common? They all represent lessons of lexicon and the many meanings of the word "revelation. " As I sat through the tax hearing listening to government officials testifying that they thought the state's local government aid formula was unfair, I remembered a day a few years back when the nice smelling person seated next to me was my boss. I remembered a day I was sitting at the receptionist area when she came zooming around the corner. Usually she would say hello and continue walking briskly to her office but this time she stopped. She told me she had learned a meaning of life.

"It's to always remain curious," she revealed to me. At the time I took it to mean she had just come back from a frustrating meeting with uncompromising, close minded people. But it was one of those connecting moments in time that you just can't shake, just can't get out of your mind, pondering the significance in the rare quiet moments of reflection.

So we sat at this hearing and she asked me how I liked my new job. I told her it was absolutely the best one I've ever had. After a few minutes of more tax aid discussion I turned to her and whispered that I appreciated how she had once taught me the meaning of life. It just seemed like the right thing to do. She leaned in closer obviously not hearing what I had said so I repeated myself. This time she nodded although I'm sure she again didn't hear me. Doesn't matter though. I kind of doubt she even remembers that day. Still I would have somehow regretted if I hadn't made the attempt to try and share with her what she taught me. It was a rather substantial gift to ascertain no matter how bleak, no matter the latitude where you stand in this world, as long as you are willing to remain curious some light can shine through the most unrelenting and unrepenting clouds.

No comments: