I think I might be working too hard or something, because my professional life is beginning to seep into my personal life. It’s like a crossover episode where characters from two different television shows mingle, like they did on Happy Days and Mork & Mindy (or Family Guy and The Simpsons if my first reference went over your head, you Millennial, you).
Case in point: last week I wrote a series of articles about this big construction project in Rapid City. Then, over the weekend, Tara and I drove past the job site and I launched into this long discourse about how the contractor took a 3,000-foot hose, filled it with glycol, heated it to 180 degrees, and covered it with blankets to act as a ground warmer and prevent frost when the dirt contractor was ready to come in and backfill, and by the way, they’re using 6,000 tons of engineered fill to aid in compaction so the sub-grade, concrete, and steel won’t settle.
Her eyes began to glass over. Hell, mine did, too. I know diddly-squat about construction, yet there I was, riffing on grade beams and pile caps like a seasoned foreman who grew up around backhoes and excavators. My only prior experience involved Tonka trucks, so you could say my knowledge has increased in spades (tools comprised of a long handle and blade, primarily used for digging).
See what I mean?
I’m like a walking encyclopedia these days, albeit an extremely abridged version. More like a walking CliffsNotes. I know a little bit about a lot of things, but I’m an expert on very few. And it’s mostly useless knowledge when you think about it. I can’t imagine a real-life scenario in which my limited understanding of engineered fill will ever impress anybody or come in handy.
The same thing happened when I worked for my previous employer, the medical consulting company in Washington that I still freelance for. I acquired all this knowledge about audiology, yet only once did I use it for practical purposes: I faked being a doctor at a meet-up event and gave the mom of a newborn tips about protecting her baby’s ears from noise at high school football games. Don’t worry, it was legit advice! I kept up the charade for a solid 90 minutes and everybody left fully believing I was an audiologist. Luckily, they didn’t follow me into the parking lot; the jig would have been up once they saw me climbing behind the wheel of a Hyundai instead of a Mercedes.
I suppose I might be halfway decent at trivia, but only if the topics are very narrow and focus on things like soils testing and auditory canals.
And crossover episodes of ’70s sitcoms.
I am fortunate to be within walking distance of the Dahl Arts Center, a free gallery with rotating displays. Quite literally, as evidenced by one of the current exhibits called 51 Spheres/51 Years, a collection of Termespheres® created by local Spearfish artist Dick Termes over the past…you guessed it…five decades.
Termespheres are essentially paintings that function as optical illusions; his website describes them as “an inside-out view of the total physical world around you on the outside surface of a hanging and rotating sphere. If you were on the inside of this sphere, this painted image around you would seem normal, but it is read from the outside. From any point when you look at the spherical paintings, the image reads correctly. Termespheres capture the up, down and all around visual world from one revolving point in space.” They’re really cool and each one is unique. My company recently published a profile of the artist and his creations. It’s pretty interesting reading.
Even more interesting is seeing the Termespheres in person.
If you’re thinking about checking the exhibit out yourself, you’d better hurry: tomorrow is the last day.
But also, tomorrow might not be the best travel day. After a two-week stretch of warm springlike weather that finally melted every last trace of snow in town, winter is coming back with a vengeance tonight. They’re predicting anywhere from 3-7″ of snow in Rapid City and more in the Black Hills.
We’re planning a trip to Custer State Park, but I guess we’ll see how bad the roads are before venturing out.