Wednesday, June 03, 2009

A Moment Passes By In Utter Inconsequentiality

Sometimes a tiny detail of daily life, work, or what lies in between will claw its way back from the obscurity of lost memory to intrude once again as the focus of attention.

We read the news on some blog, or in the newspaper, or listen to the radio. Someone wrote that blog post, the wire story, or radio copy. How much work was it? Will they remember it tomorrow?

We drive along the highway, or ride in the bus or train. Who poured the concrete or rolled the asphalt, who laid the rails? Who planned the construction and guided the project along, these many years ago? They may have forgotten doing it by now, or it may be the pride of their life's work, an achievement they tell about to this day.

The sand, gravel, lime, and crushed rock used to make the concrete all came from somewhere. Would anyone remember the day those components were ordered, delivered, or put together?

We dispose of some problem or issue, only to have it return from the grave. The matter is settled, we think, and it leaves our short-term memory, erased from our agenda for all time. But something in the solution to the problem was incorrect, insufficient, or ill-advised. Invisibly, it has clung to existence, waiting for just the wrong moment to spring itself on its erstwhile vanquisher.

A penny lies quietly on the sidewalk. How did it get there? If the penny could write a blog post, would it tell of its glory days as part of the change back from a Happy Meal? Or would it lament that, with the minimum wage what it is, it now would be unprofitable to hire someone to pick up pennies even if the ground were strewn with them?

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