Category Archives: business travel

Days 252-254: MLwC, one thing Bush could have done right and a Hallowe’en snap

Really. I never expected much from Bush, not ever. I didn’t expect good leadership, never expected reflective, thoughtful governance. In my mind, the bar was set pretty low from the get go. And he’s not done much to raise it.

But lately I’m reminded of one little thing, one crystal clear thing he said he’d do that really seems like he could have done. Is it asking so much? I’m not talking about fixing our ruined reputation in the world, not talking about his double-speak blue skies initiative, or his depletion of the national treasury. I’m talking about the No-Call legislation he “pushed” through for us little people–that failed initiative to keep business off my private line, the line I pay for every month. I don’t know about you but I get about 3-5 calls every day–mortgages, insurance, vinyl windows, you name it, they’re pushing it. My name and number is on that list…wherever that list is.

So, no deep thoughts from me today: I just got my third call in the row for who-knows-what ridiculous thing from some poor schlub working for minimum wage somewhere, and I got to thinking about George Bush.

Bush scratching his head confused

Okay, enough. I don’t really like to rant like that, but this evening has just been really irritating and it got me to thinking…always a dangerous thing.

Finally, went over to Poulsbo on business yesterday (that stretched my thinking a little) and on the return trip, enjoyed a gorgeous view of downtown Seattle from the Bainbridge ferry. The Seattle Art Museum building had a wonderful holiday graphic you could see looking east from the waterfront:

Halloween Downtown Seattle

Daily stats: ( Tue, Wed, Thu)
Car: 68 miles (Eastside and Westside biz)
Bike: 11.5 miles
Ped: 3
Bus: 0

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Day 179: MLwC, schlepping and such

We are remodeling my partner’s office space here in West Seattle, a lot of it on our own. This requires an enormous amount of schlepping stuff around, running errands to the hardware store to pick up a lousy little something or other.

Sort of blows my no-car ideation to hell.

Not only that, what a lot of waste goes with remodeling. Everything from paint roller sleeves (multiple) to packaging to cans, drywall bits and pieces, discarded hardware, change-in-plan waste, and on and on. When you think this is happening a million times everyday all over the country…it’s enough to make you sort of give up.

The Northwest has a lot of green remodeling companies sprouting up everywhere, and of course a lot more green resources than ever before. Right here in Seattle is the Environmental Home Center, a great resource we’ve used on other projects in our home. We have carpet made out of recycled plastic bottles, for example–wears really well and still looks good. We’re not using an eco-contractor per se but are instilling recycling and reduced waste practices into what we do…even so, I can see how much waste you could produce if you just didn’t care.  Plus there’s the stuff you can’t do much about.  We have a ruined carpet down in the basement of this office that is beyond reclamation, and that is headed straight to the landfill.

I hate contributing to landfill.  It just bugs me inordinately.   Does anyone else out there think about landfills a little more than is healthy, or is it just me?

But I won’t lose sight of my year-long project in all of this upheaval.  Even if this little blip does add to my overall car usage, I’ve radically reduced it over the course of the last several months and I won’t let this project get in the way. It’s temporary.

But just for the record: remodeling is a pain in the butt.

Daily stats (Monday)
Car: 7 miles
Bike: 0
Ped: 0
Bus: 0
No exercise, yipes!!!

Day 123 thru 125: MLwC, fast breeds faster

I’ve been using my car more than usual the past week and I think I know why.  But first, it’s just interesting how a change in your normal day will cause changes down the line and unless you’re paying attention, that change can become habit.  I noticed this a lot when I worked in a regular office–the things that I used to do regularly, commute on my bike, get outside, grow my own vegetables in the summer–all sort of fell by the wayside after a while.  And I didn’t notice until other habits had overwhelmed the things I loved doing that things had changed.

It’s sort of like invasive species, how they take over.  Nowadays, I work with different companies and lots of different people and I notice that there are people who make sure they hold on to things that are important to them…and they’re usually kind of quiet about it.  Like they’re flying under the radar in a way.  I admire them and wish I’d had that kind of awareness back a few years ago.

So, returning to why I’ve been driving more the last couple of weeks.

The current project I’m working on sort of came up unexpectedly, as is often the case, throwing my whole schedule into disarray. As a result of being gone and spending a total of one work-day in the air going to and returning from Chicago (not to mention sitting in airports waiting for delayed flights), I come up short at the end of the week in the time-available-to-d0-everything-else department. Downstream from that situation, I have found myself resorting to using my car to get everything done that I need to get done…simply because I don’t have enough time.

Diana commented the other day that it’s tough for a working Mom to get all the things done in a day with a kid and full time job and etc, etc. On top of that, where she lives in Idaho, public transit just isn’t an option. It’s virtually non-existent.

We pack a lot into our days and our transportation of choice–cars–allows us to pack even more. For lots of people, doing less is unthinkable, and for me in the past few days, just getting the required tasks done without a car has been unthinkable. I’m looking forward to not using my car for the rest of this coming week, since on top of trying to get a lot of tasks done, I’m really sick of traffic and irritated by the cumbersome nature of driving, parking, etc etc.
Daily stats (Fri, Sat, Sun)

Car: 21 miles (6 tasks, 2 people)
Bike:
Ped:
Bus:
Air:

Day 119 thru 121: MLwC and WiserEarth.com

Traveling again this week, and really rushed for time. Time is a critical factor in selection of transportation modes. I elected to drive to the airport and park rather than risk not getting picked up by the shuttle again….Anyway, I was thinking about how much I travel over the course of the year and how much this impacts my carbon footprint. I’m a consultant and this travel issue won’t likely change a whole lot in the near future which makes my activities while at home even more important–walk, bike, bus, etc.

On Sunday, I hung out a while at Paul Hawken’s site WiserEarth, trying to figure out how it works. I heard back from Michael regarding the beta site re my sense that it wasn’t targeted well; I couldn’t figure out if it was for professional .org people or for regular people like me. He confirmed that they are still working out some aspects of the site (it’s beta) but:

“In a nutshell, it is definitely for people like you. I encourage you to check it out and make sure your favorite organizations are represented in there. And we are always looking for feedback on usability and for ideas on future enhancements to make the site more useful for your line of work. We can’t guarantee everything will be implemented (we have constraints on tech support and funding of course), but we do value community feedback.”

So , I went back to the site and created an account, and then went for a run.

alkilincolnpark.jpg

During the run I began to think about all the stuff rolling around in my head and realized (this may be a Doh! moment for some of you but it was sort of exciting for me): The Compact, my own MLwC project, Wildlife Alliance, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Critical Mass, the Backyard Wildlife movement here in Seattle and a hundred other things that I personally take an interest in, are all part of a much, much bigger movement that as Hawken puts, is as yet un-named and is potentially the biggest movement in the history of the planet. People like you and me–perhaps not doing big global projects, but doing things we care about, passionately, and that contribute to a larger common good.

And it’s the combination of all those things that is creating this massive global movement that Paul Hawken is writing about.

When I returned from my run, I went to the site and entered my first organization. I’ll follow up with others. I’m no expert on so many things out there, but I know about my own life and interests, and that’s what I can share. How the site will evolve, how it will utilize my interests, network us all, remains to be seen. How I will use it remains to be seen.

Participating is sort of a leap of faith. Take The Compact, for example. You use your big car to go shopping and buy things, much more than you really need, without thinking about alternate paths, and it’s all so easy, so fast, who really thinks about it. So the Compact has groups all over the planet finding different ways to live outside the planned path of consumerism. Once that habit is busted, these people like Rachel in SF, or myself here with my own habit-busting project, we find ourselves connecting to our city, our community, our planet in a whole new way. Rachel, just like me, just like you, is one little atom bouncing around out there amidst a gazillion atoms, changing the way atoms bounce here in Seattle, Tokyo, Buenos Aires and who knows where else.

And that, I believe, is what Paul Hawken is talking about. Bring what you have, share it, find your community, find energy, find a different path and share your map. And Hawken clearly understands the internet has made the path to sharing your map possible.

Daily stats: (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday)
Car: 25 miles
Bike: 0
Ped: 3.0
Bus: 0
Air: 2400

Day 115 & 116: MLwC and Paul Hawken’s Blessed Unrest

I’m continuing to read and appreciate Paul Hawken’s new book Blessed Unrest.

One of the compelling aspects of the structure of the book is to wander back through time, considering the many cases where citizens have risen up in outrage or unwillingness to accept the status quo. This is followed by real time cases of outrageous events in our own time: Bhopal and Union Carbide, Standard Oil and other Big Oil co’s in places such as Zimbabwe and the Amazon jungle. The invitation demand for action is nearly implicit.

Michael Spalding is part of another of Hawken’s creations: WiserEarth, a gathering site for input and joining of disparate organizations or individuals who are working on improving the world we currently live in–in lots of different ways. Michael contacted me to let me know about this web based growing un-named movement that is gathering at wiserearth.com. I’ve gone through the site and note that it’s “beta”and there is a definite feeling that the meeting place is trying to find its stride. That could just be me, I’ve asked Michael for more information.

It is exciting though–Hawken and like-minded people are trying to find a way to communicate and come together in a net-molecular way that will create even more energy and focus on issues that matter.

I’m going to spend more time in the site the next couple of days, as I can, to see if I can dig deeper.

Daily stats (Wed & Thu)
Car: 12 miles
bike: 0
ped: 3
bus: 0
air: 1700

Day 114: MLwC, my car in a pinch and Paul Hawken

I had a situation on Monday wherein I learned to appreciate my car. Alas.

I’d scheduled a shared ride pickup with a local Shuttle service to the airport for 7 am. At 7am I was out front waiting patiently. 7:10. 7:15. By now I’m getting nervous because our house is a little hard to find and we’ve had problems before….

At 7:20 I estimated the time needed to get to the airport, check-in and out to the gate. I needed to leave now. So, guess what: I hopped in my car and drove out to the airport, double checking my decision all the way. Could I have asked a neighbor? They were all on their way to their own Monday morning schedules. How about a bus? I didn’t even know the schedule or the route. It’s funny: I used to drive to the airport and park a few days all the time and never gave it another thought, but things are different now and I’m just not used to driving as much. What a thought–I’m not used to driving! So, okay, I drove, I parked, I caught my plane. I was grateful I had a car in this instance–what can I say? It’s true.

Completely unrelated (or maybe not so…), a thought from Paul Hawken’s new book, Blessed Unrest, related to our growing connectivity–on the web and otherwise:

“This movement is a new form of community and a new form of story. At what point in the future will the existence of 2 million, 3 million or even 5 million citizen-led organizations shift our awaremness to the possibility that we will have fundamentally change the way human being govern and organize themseleves on earth. What are the characteristics of leadership required when power arises instead of descends? What would a democracy look like that was not ruled by a dominant minority?

“…What if some very basic values are being reinstilled worldwide and are fostering complex social webs of meaning that represent the future of governance?”

Hawken’s thoughts on the growing movement of social webs of awareness are hopeful. And I have to believe he’s right. We are connected in new and amazing ways, and stories are being shared at a mind-boggling pace–we are creating new, shared vocabularies and priorities…and not waiting for a stamp of approval. Badges? We don’t need no stinkin badges. We will find a new way that works.

Daily stats: (Tuesday)
Car: 0
bike: 0
Bus: 0
air: 0

Day 113: MLwC and shopping celibacy

The NRDC recently published an article entitled My 30 Days of Consumer Celibacy which is a fun read about one woman’s experiment with the buy-nothing movement. The buy-nothing idea was started by an SF group known as the Compact and has inspired a groundswell of followers and fans. There are a ton of blogs about this movement, just go to google and enter compact or compacters San Francisco. Also, there are compacters in nearly every major city, international, too. Started in 06, it’s taken off like a rocket.

traffic jam

I think it’s an enormous undertaking but I like it, I like it. Not sure I could do it, I’ve got my hands full with my own use-reduction program. I am interested to read that these folks travel, use cars, etc–that they have tackled this one enormous cultural issue–consumerism–and are going to take it apart at a personal level. If we all chose just one culturally instilled mindless activity and spent a year deconstructing it…well, that’d be amazing, flat-out amazing.

Daily Stats (Monday)
Car: 14 miles (hope to post tomorrow: why I needed a car today!)
Bike: 0
Bus:0
Taxi: approx 18 miles
Air: 1700 miles

Day 111 & 112: MLwC and the frog in the water

Green writes an exceptionally uncomfortable post about frogs in increasingly hot water. They won’t, as most know, hop out because they just get used to the increasingly hot water…until of course, it is too late and they are cooked.

Point: obvious. We will likely not make changes until it is too late, and the leadership in this country is particularly frog-like in its decision making.

I’m reading Blessed Unrest right now and the premise of the book is basically, how to not become depressed with the state of environmental affairs. Paul Hawkin speaks to audiences all over the world and found he is able to stay constructive and positive because he knows there is a rapidly growing movement of people like you and me who are determined to change the way they live.

I’ll include some thoughts from this great read over the next few days. I’m traveling again this week which is sort of a drag but don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, my daddy used to say. It pays the mortgage.

Daily stats (Saturday and Sunday)

Car: 14 (3 tasks, 2 people)
Bike:0
Bus: 0
Air: 1700 miles

Day 109 & 110: MLwC and who knew walking could be so complicated?

Well, who knew walking could be so dang complicated? Mytechvision (good luck on your exams!) sent along a BBC story about the controversy around children walking to school. I know the world is complex, more so all the time, and making decisions around child rearing even more so, but lordie, where’s our common sense?

What’s weird is that the school in question seemed to almost demonize the mom who thought it was okay for her son to walk a few blocks to school.

Speaking of walking and different cultural perspectives: this project I’ve been on in Chicago. It’s not actually in Chicago but a pretty cushy suburb of same. I told the project owners that next week I’ll stay in a hotel closer to the center so I can walk and they looked at me like I was a freak–no lie. I actually think it took me down a few notches in their estimation, and they pronounced that in no way would I be walking anywhere. It’s simply not done.

No reasons given, just “it’s not done.” I’ve already been out jogging around and have lived to tell the tale…not that I would tell them the tale. This is the same group that disparagingly described their workers as having to take “public transportation.” Hmmm–if they knew I bussed around Seattle, what would they think?

Bottom line: we’re so far from simple, smart, efficient forms of transportation in many urban settings that it’s a tad discouraging to think they could change their mind sets, but time will tell.

Daily stats (Wednesday/Thursday)
Car: about 15 miles total (carpool)
Foot: about 2 miles
Bus: heavens, no!
Plane: 1700 miles.

Day 108: MLwC and oh yeah! I remember!

How quickly we forget…or at least I do. I forgot the worst thing about business travel: the endless throw-away nature of it all. The eating utensils, the plates and cups, the plastic bags and reams of rental car/airplane/hotel paperwork and brochures. It’s like you’re sprouting garbage as you go along…it bugs me and I forgot about it until today.

Still, one can be mindful, and I want to stay focused on that. I ask for a real cup instead of a styrofoam one. I only use one napkin and re-use it if possible. It’s little stuff, I know, but it’s also a mindful thing and because of that it’s grounding and because of that, I believe I do my work better. In this instance, I’m facilitating teams that are not exactly…well, getting along. Not seeing eye-to-eye. And I have to believe that part of the way to keep a sense of humor and perspective is to stay grounded. Well, it’s my working theory today.

Substrata commented yesterday re the weirdness that overtakes most of us in cars:

I read an artist’s analysis of driving the other day. Basically she summed up the psychological transformation that occurred when she drove as “wanting to always be in front and seeing all other cars (people) as obstacles.”

…I’ve yet to see an example of “sidewalk rage.”

Re bikes, B2 comments about his recent experiences in traffic:

I would add bikes to the list of things that drivers see as obstacles, even though legally bike riders have the same rights and responsibilities as any other vehicle on the road — including the right to take up the whole lane.

I want to say here and now that the “whole lane” thing is true: I’ve been hit by a driver who pretty much decided I didn’t have the right to stop at a stop sign a little more towards the center than he liked. When I reported the accident to my insurance company, they couldn’t believe it: “you were rear-ended on a bike?” Yes, and they nailed the dude for several thousand dollars, thank you very much.

Here’s a fabu post from Metroblogging about his alternating consciousness around bikes in Portland. I gotta admire a guy who hates bikers and then decides to try it out, totally both sides now. Bike riders do break the rules, I do myself–I admit it, but I try to be safe, I try to let everyone know what I’m doing, when I’m turning. But I admit, especially uphill when I’ve got some forward momentum, I will do some cutting in and out to keep going without stopping and restarting…if I can.

Daily stats: (Tuesday–Happy Birthday!)
Car: probably around 12 miles/carpool
Bike: 0 ( I don’t even see any bikes around here!)
Bus: 0 (one manager I’m working with here described a team of workers in a disparaging way by saying, “they all use public transit.” Hmmm, I said.)
foot: quick jog, not much more than that.

Day 90: My Life w Car…the 90 Day Round-up!

The truly big news today is that this is Day 90 of my ongoing project to see if I can wean myself from a car in the space of a year. Mostly, I’ve been interested in just becoming more conscious of

  • How I use transportation
  • How I use my car specifically

So, here’s the lowdown: when I first started this, I thought of using my car every single day. There wasn’t a day that I didn’t have to struggle at least a little to think around the use of the car.

I can very happily say that somewhere along the line, not sure where, that all changed. Now it feels like a drag to use my car. Gas, parking, traffic–you name it, it’s just not pleasant.

traffic jam

Next big news: I paid some bucks to have my bike fit me and tuned properly and it made all the difference in the world. I don’t think twice about using my bike now, and I’m more fit, happier and more connected to my sweet West Seattle. I look forward to running an errand most days–it’s a great break from my work, and a chance to get ouside.

bianchi bike

Next really big news: The Bus. The first day I took the bus, I hated it. It was around Day 60 and I only did it because it was part of this experiment and I needed to learn about it. Well, guess what. Now I love it–I bought a pass to make the whole change thing easier, it takes me right downtown in 15 minutes and I get to catch up on reading or ipodding or whatever. And once downtown, I get a nice walk to whatever meeting I’ve got set up. Sweet deal–return trip within a couple of hours and the whole thing costs $1.25. Look, I’m not poor, that’s not the issue. But suddenly I begin to see that the money I’m spending on gas, parking, insurance, upkeep, etc could be going to something I enjoy a whole lot more…with very little trouble. Just a matter of changing habits. Which they say takes about 90 days.
seattle071.jpg

90 Day Round-up!!!

Overall stats:
Car: 535 miles, approx 85% multi-task, multi-occupant
Bike: 176.30 miles, increasing daily mileage from Day 1 to Day 90 (by a lot!)
Hybrid-electro Bus: 60 miles (didn’t utilize the bus until around day 60)
Flexcar: 9 miles (didn’t hold quite the attraction I thought it would…)
Plane: 6,018 (that’s where my carbon footprint turns into carbon karma that I try to work off)

Day 90 stats (that’s today):
Car: zip
Bike: 5 miles
Bus: zip
planes, trains, flexcars: zip

Day 61 thru 63: My life w car

Couple of things on bike, traffic, time, and space. Not space, like outer-space, but space on the road.

bike-in-traffic.jpg

Mayor Nickels of Seattle last week announced that he wants to spend millions to make space on the road for bicycles. More bicycles–the answer to global warming.

Personally, I got the broader message here, and appreciated it. But the next day on the local public radio station here, it sounded like some people, both cyclists and drivers, were pretty skeptical of the initiative. Cyclists because it was a lame proposal in a few key respects: bike lanes don’t mean cyclists are safe or that drivers will take up biking any time soon. For example, more cyclists are nailed by right turning cars into bike lanes than just about any other situation.

Drivers were mad because they didn’t want to see that much money going to something that wasn’t going to make their commute any better. Traffic in Seattle is horrendous–it typically rates around 3rd or 4th in the top worst cities to drive in. So, drivers were mystified by the apparent message from Mayor Nickels: ride a bike instead.

To me the message was muddled. It should have been a lot more inclusive, rather than aimed at cyclists: Every bike on the road means one less car on the freeway or street or thoroughfare. Bless those rugged souls who have taken one small but real step towards actually reducing the traffic!

Still, biking is a tough business in lots of ways, which brings me to today’s topic: time. It takes time to ride places. Duh, you say. But really–it takes a lot of time, and time is one thing most people don’t have much of. As we careen into a new world order, one less endowed with the natural resources we’ve come to rely upon, our ability–so taken for granted–to jam pack our schedules with a million back-to-back events and meetings–while still living in the outskirts of town–will be mightily challenged.

I used to work downtown at Amazon where lots of people biked to work. But as I moved up the chain of command, and clothing/presentation, and back-to-back meetings starting early in the morning became regular requirements, I have to say my commuting habits changed significantly. I wonder how we’ll all deal with that in the future? Will we relax time and appearance requirements enough to allow for transportation that goes slower than 25 miles per hour

woman-suit-bike.jpg

So, finally: Daily stats. I’ve had a lot of things to do in the last few days that have required me to drive a lot more than usual. And another one coming up tonight. Good news: few trips were solo, and fewer still were single task. I can say that this practice for the last couple of months has indeed helped me change some of my habits. But the past few days have still brought home the fact that biking takes time–and sometimes time is simply not available.

Daily Stats:
Car: approx 36 miles, multiple tasks, two people
bike: approx 4 miles
flexcar/bus: 0

day 45 thru 48: My Life w Car

greenfields.gif

I’ve lost track of the days since returning to the states, partly because of a rush of tasks to tend to and partly because I returned here sick–once again–from the water or the food or the pollution in El Salvador. Whatever good I might say about El Salvador is usually outweighed by the risks there–and not just criminal. Out of the last 7 visits there, I’ve been sick 4 times, and one of those was deathly sick. I believe this is my last trip in a while and I’m quite alright with that.

But what a week! Every time I turn on the news, read the paper or listen to the radio, it seems like someone or some country is putting a stake in the ground regarding global climate change. Canada’s PM Harper decides to make the country a world leader in energy conservation and green initiatives, Al Gore testifies (testily, at times) in Washington on climate change, and more US companies are embracing better/greener business practices than ever before.

greenfist.jpg

It helps to see a little light now and again. And for myself–what have I done this week? Well, I’ve driven more than usual though I’m still hoping to not drive two business days–today and tomorrow– this week and am target to do just that. It’s been cold and rainy–colder than usual this time of year–and I haven’t felt very strong.

Loved Dave Pollard’s article this week about getting fit, getting strong, taking care of oneself–we’ve got work to do! Speaking of work, I’m beginning a new contract with a company I basically loathe and which shall remain unnamed; my partner would prefer that I not work for them but I will, and here’s why: I always view contracts like this as Money Laundering. I take their money and I donate it to causes that are worth supporting–thus the dirty money becomes cleansed by its purpose in the world. Besides, this company isn’t as terrible as I make it out to be–it’s not making weapons or profiting off of wars. It’s just a big consumer-oriented company and I don’t care for it. Glad to take their money and give it to groups like Wild Aid….

By the way, WildAid is an amazing organization. Strongly recommend checking it out–they have one goal and only one goal in life: abolish the slaughter of wild and endangered animals for decorative, magical or aphrodisiac purposes. They have an amazing rating from the Charity Navigator for being nearly all focused on field work, with little overhead.

Daily/weekly stats:
Car: approx 31 miles/8-10 tasks
Bike: 0
Flexcar: 0
Bus: 0

Days without carbon based transportation: 2

Day 43 & 44: My Life w Car

san-salvador-traffic.jpg

Holy shit, I was sitting in a car with a friend in San Salvador traffic yesterday–she was smoking, holding the cigarette out the window to not bother me–and suddenly we’re behind a bus that accelerates and good god, you should have seen the black cloud of smoke that encircled us. It was thick, like it was palpable with particulates, and with our windows open, the cloud filled the car and stayed there.

I literally felt trashed, like breathing would hurt me but I’m an oxygen dependent organism, so what am I going to do.

The swallows around here are preparing to travel up North–they’re swirling and chattering in large obvious groups. I imagine what it’s like flying here, as a small bird, and yeah, I’d be pretty excited about leaving too. Even though I like San Salvador, and love my pals here, I won’t miss the thick billowing clouds of pollution that happen all over the city. Also, I won’t miss the poverty and over-crowding, the wild population growth.

So…what am I doing down here?
I’m training the team here on Active Listening and the Art of Questioning. Specifically, how managers and direct reports go “dead” during evaluations because the manager practices the “opn-the-head-and-pour-the-info-in.” This approach works with kids up to about 8th grade, optimistically; after that, if the individual isn’t engaged on a problem solving, thoughtful level, they aren’t engaged at all. They’re merely nodding and saying, at specific points, what they believe they should be saying.

There’s a lot of that going on here with supervisors and managers. I observed a review yesterday where the agent stopped looking at the supervisor 2 minutes into the conversation, slumped in his seat and stared at the floor. The supervisor pushed on, never veering from her review form, never checking in with the agent. She even lowered her head to try and catch his eye…yet, she never veered from her performance review form. the conversation lasted 12 minutes, and 10 minutes of that time the conversation was functionally dead.

The good news, when I asked her what she thought was going on with this kid, she said she suspected he was ashamed because the review wasn’t good but his usual work is above reproach. I asked why she pushed on, knowing there was a problem–she had no answer. So, my work is trying to make this exchange alive, relational, meaningful.

Active listening means you take in the whole picture–the posture, the eyes, the words, and perhaps most important, your own feelings about how things are going. Our ability to put our own perception in the present moment aside in favor of the obligation of the task at hand is amazing to me…and a little frightening.

Daily stats:
Car: probably about 12 miles of gagging, pollution soaked travel through town
bike, bus, flexcar: zip
Walking: probably 1.5 miles

Day 15 & 16: My Life with Car

The thing about business travel is that the “throw-away” culture hits its apex–you keep nothing, you come with only the bare necessities…your trash quotient is likely at its highest, and dislike that as I might, I find myself eating off plastic plates with plastic utensils…everything ending up in landfill.

Daily stats:

Car: approx 20 miles, 10 passengers
bike: 0
flexcar: 0
bus: 0
a pied: 3 miles

San Salvador snap