Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Synonyms and Self-Perception

Using the definitive online thesaurus, a search for the word “judgmental” redirects the user to the main entry for “arbitrary,” with synonyms of “discretionary, personal, subjective.”

On the other hand, a search for the word “judgment,” yields the following robust vocabulary list: acumen, acuteness, apprehension, astuteness, awareness, brains, capacity, comprehension, discernment, discrimination, experience, genius, grasp, incisiveness, ingenuity, intelligence, intuition, keenness, knowledge, mentality, penetration, perception, percipience, perspicacity, prudence, quickness, range, rationality, reach, readiness, reason, reasoning, sagacity, sanity, sapience, savvy, sense, sharpness, shrewdness, sophistication, soundness, taste, understanding, wisdom, wit.

My last blog entry and video was essentially a subtle anti-paean to the protracted timeframe associated with one very small but very important piece of our homebuilding process, the construction of our deck. We have, at every step of this process, tried to be patient and understanding of the demands placed on the various parties involved in the homebuilding process. We, o.k., I, really have tried, and patient is not a vocabulary word many would associate with my personality type.

On the final day of deck construction last week, an unfortunate convergence of events resulted in K driving in to work, leaving me to tend to business here at the trailer and use the motorcycle as conveyance into the office.

While finishing up my tasks, the crew of two men who had been more or less working on the deck arrived and began doing precisely that. In the meantime, I took a series of phone calls, prepared myself for what promised to be a chilly trip into town on the motorcycle, tried convincing the motorcycle it was warm enough to start so we could get moving on our day, brought the trash barrel up from the road, and undertook a number of other enterprises while essentially waiting for the motorcycle to get warm enough to want to start. It is a little warm-blooded. Like its primary rider, the motorcycle prefers not to set out while the temperatures are anything below 70 degrees.

As I was basically fiddling around, the fellow who has done most of the deck construction came walking up the drive. I hopped off the motorcycle where I was happily perched, enjoying the warmth of the sun on my black jacket, and headed towards him. When I asked him if he needed anything, he responded by saying that actually, he was checking on me to see if everything was o.k. or if I needed a ride to town or something.


So the whole freezing ride into work, all I could think of was that probably the reason it has taken so long to build the deck is this boy scout of a construction guy has probably been delayed by helping little old ladies cross the street, delivering kittens safely from trees, and catching babies falling out of sixth story windows. Thankfully, the temperature was 44 degrees, so by the time I arrived at the office, I was too busy thinking about the involuntary muscle contractions in my legs and the frozen throttle-position of my right hand to continue to perseverate on the poor, beleaguered, maligned deck builder.

As I sit here, over two weeks after the first day of deck-building, and enjoy the view and the deck's superlative construction and design, I can say honestly, I forgive all those old ladies, kittens and babies who caused the delay in completion for this part of the house.

And when I look closely at the synonyms for the words judgmental and judgment, it reminds me of the punch line of a bumper sticker: you say that like it’s a bad thing.

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