looking through me

Tag: vision

rolling chair

As a person of short stature working at a desk of fixed height, I keep my chair raised high enough to type without getting carpal tunnel syndrome . . . which means my feet don’t touch the floor.

First world, short person problem. I know.

When my coworker asks me to look at something on his monitor, I give a healthy push against the desk to propel my chair back so I can see around the cubicle wall. It’s good exercise. This morning I pushed off and my chair started tipping instead of rolling. Wheeled office chairs don’t tip on industrial, low-pile carpeting, so I assumed I had leaned too far without pushing hard enough. Clearly the solution was to put more arm into it and really shove.

Turns out I did not need more power. A larger shove resulted in nearly launching myself out of my seat. The problem wasn’t one of force but one of hardware: a wheel had broken.

The chair was never going to roll. Even if I were the right height and heft to fit in the chair and even if I used the right technique and pushed with my feet instead of my hands, the chair would still be broken. It would still tilt when I need it to roll.

It only took one near unseating for me to change my strategy. Trying harder—using the same method—wouldn’t work. I didn’t have to prove the chair’s failure over and over.

The world—like my chair—is broken. The more force, the greater the tilt. Yet shove after shove after shove . . . it’ll roll again, right?


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As I sat in the left turn lane at a red light, two men in their twenties stood on the corner in the cool of the evening waiting to cross the street. The light changed, but they didn’t move. So strange. I looked closer and saw they were both looking up, necks craned, mouths slightly open, eyes wide, oblivious to the changing stoplight.

Then I realized it was 9:45. Fireworks. Close enough to feel each concussive blast reverberate through their bodies. Near enough to fill the sky with light.

I live in the shadow of Disneyland. The extra- wore off the ordinary long ago. Lost tourists, traffic backups and cast members walking to work in full costume are part of the scenery. What fades into the background for me is still magical for others.

The signal changed again, and I made my turn.

The men were still riveted on the corner as the fireworks reflected off their unblinking eyes. They were wholly enraptured, wholly in awe. Dazzling aerial explosions so captivated them that they forgot to cross the street and everything else.

But it took noticing them for me to notice the wonder. I would have missed it altogether if not for the anomaly of their astonishment standing out in my normal.

I have the opportunity to marvel every day. I live in the presence of wonder. I have a daily audience with Majesty . . . does anyone see my upturned gaze and follow it to Glory?


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