This week I have played host to nearly two dozen people taking a training class near here to become car seat technicians. I have wanted to have such a class here for a couple of years and finally it's happened. Instead of teaching, however, I have played butler, and that's been a lot of fun. These folks are getting the best out of me: the best lunches, the best breakfasts, the best service; no call-in pizza for me. They get the best, including my wife's gourmet cooking.
Recently, Glory and I watched "Remains of the Day," in which the dutiful Mr. Stevens serves his employers, all the while trying to be oblvious to their shortcomings, politics and mannerisms. Service is the key, says Stevens. Everything else doesn't matter. Sadly, Stevens realized too late that he missed out on many things in life while blindly serving.
While I have been very busy doing my regular job and these extras that have come my way, I find that I couldn't be a Mr. Stevens. There's just too much happening around me not to notice. My little 17-month old boy recently started saying the name of our goldfish, Sushi. "Sooo-shee," he says very slowly. He also gets excited when he sees bananas on the counter. "Naaa-naaaa," he says while smiling and chuckling. What a sad existence for me if I didn't listen to little voices uttering new words. Mr. Stevens would be annoyed hearing little voices.
Our four-year old, while trying to shield her eyes from the sun, remarked suddenly in the car on the way to church tonight, "the sun...is no fun." Glory and I laughed heartedly at that. Mr. Stevens would not have laughed at this. Mr. Stevens probably doesn't see the sun very much.
Then there's our teen, who can talk a mile a minute while covering every topic one can think of. Usually each topic will fold into something about horses, but that's OK. Mr. Stevens would not have children in the house, and would not know much about horses, except that very proper important people ride on them from time to time.
I like to think I have a balanced view of things. I hope that as I get older I don't get so wrapped up with work that I miss out on what's really important -- things that can never be captured and experienced again.