Welcome to the Wakefield Doctrine (the theory of clarks, scotts and rogers)
DownSpring Lizzi has this thing she does, from time to time, where she writes provocative and engaging story that seems to be about herself, only to inform the Reader, at the very end, that ‘this is fiction’.
Today’s Post is sort of like that…except in reverse (or maybe, converse). The story that follows is real enough, however the ‘point’, or ‘lesson’ or even ‘moral’ of the story may not be immediately apparent. And,
Yesterday I had a property that had a heating air-conditioning system emergency. An air-handler in the attic malfunctioned and water (condensate from the ac) was leaking through the ceiling into the bedroom below. I tried, without success, to get the plumbing and heating company to answer my calls to make a weekend service call, unfortunately they were nowhere to be found. Staring at the water dripping off the hardwired smoke detector in the bedroom ceiling I realized that I had to do something. I decided to turn off the power in the house, as house was on a well, at least I could prevent any additional water from adding to the problem. The air-handler sat in a metal pan, in order to contain any condensate created when the system was in cooling mode. The pan was overflowing, the source of the water dripping through the bedroom ceiling. My plan was simply to empty the pan. Access to the attic was by a pull-down staircase. I took a plastic drinking cup and a 5 gallon bucket, climbed the stairs, flashlight in hand, and starting bailing out the water. There was a lot of water. At least 5 trips down the stairs, with a full bucket. Now, the thing about pulldown staircases is that they have normal shaped steps from the bottom to about 3/4s of the way up, where they, (the steps), become more like ledges. You can put your full weight on them, you just can’t stand on them the way you normally do with stairs.
The operation took about 45 minutes. It was successful, provided the definition success was, ‘less water available to leak through the ceiling now than there was before I started’. I left the property and returned to my office. Getting out of my car at the office I felt my legs do that ‘tremor’ thing, you know, over-exertion total muscle exhaustion. (Like when you were a kid and someone dared you to do 50 knee bends as fast as you could?). Mind you this was the first time, (that morning), I felt that way. Each of my trips up and down the attic ladder, flashlight providing the illumination, with 5 gal bucket in one hand, were anything but tremory. In fact, each step I took was very deliberate as I did not underestimate the potential of slipping and falling out of the attic of an empty house.
But as I walked across the parking lot, I felt like I had run 8 miles. And I laughed (I am, after all, a clark). I laughed because I could see how effectively I limit myself.
Like most Readers, I try to stay healthy. I understand that exercise is a necessary component to a healthy life style and I make periodic efforts, in good faith and with sincere intentions to stay in shape. Nothing unusual there. (And) when I am in exercise mode, I will work hard, striving ‘to feel the burn’, whether it requires 30 minutes on a stationery bike or, of late, my two mile ‘run’, I am trying my best to exercise my muscles. Yet, prior to yesterday, I can’t remember the last time I felt that my legs were made of rubber. Tired out, winded, tight feeling in back of legs, sure, but rubbery? no. Clearly I have been nowhere near the limits of my physical strength/condition/capacity in a long, long time. And I was not aware of it.
That was the insight that made yesterday’s work adventure worthwhile. What we tell ourselves, about ourselves is, by and large, intended to maintain the status quo. The insidious-ness of this is that not only can I have ‘good intentions’…. (stay healthy-exercise! learn more-study! find romance-take showers!) but I can ‘take action’… (run 2 miles- boy that was tough! get a B- hey my studying paid off! find true love-I can get used to a person who uses double negatives!). All without knowing my true capability/capacity/talent really. Because of the tales we tell ourselves.