Saturday, April 9, 2016

To and Fro in the Earth

Partial map of Concourse tunnels under downtown Oklahoma City
Doing what is expected is a good way to make others feel comfortable with you, but taking a stepor thirtyoff the beaten path can provide unexpected challenges along with the benefits. 

I was reminded of this recently when it came time to file my taxes. 

For the first time this year, I had royalty income to include on my return. Although it didn't change the total due on the bottom line, this meager amount of royalties required a completely out-of-proportion effort to account for it to the IRS. Despite the work involved, it was satisfying in a perverse way. This is what authors who sell need to do. I may have only a little toe over that line, but I'm now in the category!

The things we do in life change us, in major ways and subtle ones. Ken Cummings talks about this in today's sample from Meant To Be Here


In 1978, I had a job interview with Kerr-McGee Corporation in Oklahoma City. Along with my key, the desk clerk at the hotel they booked me into gave me a flyer describing the city's pedestrian tunnel system. Tunnels linked many parts of the downtown area, letting people avoid surface traffic, and move between buildings in air-conditioned comfort despite the unpleasant heat and humidity of the Oklahoma summer. To my delight, the system included a connection from the hotel to the Kerr-McGee tower.
The next morning I went through the tunnels and presented my papers to the guard at the small tunnel entrance to the Kerr-McGee building. He was flabbergasted. Every other interviewee before me had gone to the big glass doors with their multiple guards, up at the street level. The guard-shack there had a clipboard list of people who were permitted to enter, but from the tunnels, this man had no access to that list.
I was issued a pass from the tunnel door only after the guard made several calls to verify that I was expected. During my interview on the 24th floor, they asked why I had chosen that entrance. "You knew you were interviewing a mining engineer," I answered, "and yet you didn't expect that given a tunnel connection, he would use it?"

After I was hired on, one day while I was at work in the Kerr-McGee Tower my wife came downtown to set up a bank account for me. She deliberately selected a bank that connected to the tunnels. Waiting for me to arrive on my lunch break, she sat way in the back of the bank, next to the door labeled "Concourse Access." One of the bank officers asked if she didn't want to sit out in front where she could see me coming and wave me into the bank.
"Oh no, I know he will come through this door." And moments later, I did.


Thoreau told us, "If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away." He is not wrong, but the man himself might be happier if he finds companionswhether a wife or cabin-mateswho share his vision of the world, and thus know what to expect from him even when he chooses a different road.

Word Count: Day 9 Session 1: 2163; Session 2: 1098
Word Count Total: 40,081 words