insurance design

Smoking Charges Ignite

Last night, Amy took Anna, our seven-year-old, to the dress rehearsal for her 2015 dance recital. I was left in charge of Will, our nine-year-old, and Ella, our three-year-old. What follows is a litany of the kids showing me that I exist in their world as a piece of tightly-spun twine, permanently...

[ Swap Article ]

Sad Child

Mimicry

Our actions become our kids' reactions. Not exactly new. Not exactly Newtonian (pause while joke sinks in). But it's a truism all the same. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Car radio

Piece of Sh*t Car Reprise

When I was in high-school, a popular song named "Ode to My Car," by Adam Sandler, spun regularly on the radio. No, it didn't. All foul-mouthed teenage boys wished such happy, unfiltered radio days would appear, but that didn't stop the explicit lyrics from making an impact, even if the song's plot...

[ Swap Article ]

ad-sample

Advertise Here

Playing cards were scattered across the floor, appearing in odd locations, seeming to buck the expectation to follow a trail. Whose expectation? The one that said certain random cards, if claimed with haste, and if said cards matched the house’s …...

[ Swap Article ]

Re-gifting

Certain messes in life are unavoidable. If you get a DUI and your hair is sufficiently mussed or you manage to jam your finger into the nearest outlet just prior to the mug-shot, chances are you'll be a big-time celebrity some day. ...

[ Swap Article ]

A Reasonable Explanation

Therapist: Take me back to the beginning. Tell me how it all got started, how you eventually wound up holding the bloody knife in the aftermath of your killing spree. I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation....

[ Swap Article ]

That's a Mouthful

Waking up to the sounds of birds and (outside) insects is alluring, and when you have your second 10th cup of coffee and realize you are on vacation, and this auditory lovemaking is real, not the result of an ambitious-carpet-cleaning hallucination, you can finally relax, letting your bulk stress...

[ Swap Article ]

Stupid Piece of ... Oh, That's Right

I'm a realist. I call things like they are, and if I look stupid in the process, well, so be it. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Deadly Donuts

The morning started off good. Four eggs fluffed with a splash of milk, mixed with Parmesan and salt and black pepper and red pepper flakes and slathered with Cholula hot sauce; four ounces of Bob Evan's spicy Italian sausage (sorry for the smell, honey, luv ya) fried into the wonderful concoction;...

[ Swap Article ]

When Did I Become a Pushover?

I've never thought of myself as the Ultimate Fighter type. As a kid, whenever the possibility of bodily harm came up, I tried to avoid confrontation. But if the issue was pressed, I could stand up and issue fake threats along with the best of them and hope that my manufactured bravado was enough to...

[ Swap Article ]

As I Approach 30

I live in a small town. Colona, IL has a population of just over 5,000. As a jogger, this means I am usually only assaulted with exhaust fumes a few times whenever I decide to go outside to burn some calories. But as far as the type of people passing me on the roadside? Over this, I have no control....

[ Swap Article ]

0
Beautiful orchid flower background with copy space

Filed Under , , on January 21st, 2017

Orchids and Oracles

By Seth Kabala

Playing cards were scattered across the floor, appearing in odd locations, seeming to buck the expectation to follow a trail. Whose expectation? The one that said certain random cards, if claimed with haste, and if said cards matched the house’s hand, could lead their bearer to a reward. The players faced their screens in their work-spaces, dutifully typing and reviewing documents and engaging in phone-calls in which, if the enthusiasm on the faces of the remote speakers approximated those in the office, neither group desired to partake.

Then the imperative email arrived. “Claim your card now!” it commanded. With fewer cards available than players, some were destined for exclusion, but not all were disappointed with this. Some preferred to focus on the business at hand, on finding the missing pieces of language that would make or break a case, on crafting words and solutions and value propositions that would create a tonal shift in a remote voice into a level of auditory satisfaction that meant a smile on the other end of the line. Some focused on what mattered, or at least what they thought mattered.

* * *

Last April, I won a contest at work. The prize? A small orchid. It bloomed with purplish wonder for a few months, then went dormant. Though I faithfully watered it, still the same result–nothing. But I kept at it. I watered and watered, checked progress, read heavy texts in cavernous libraries and dungeon archives, my research aided only by the light of candles. Not really, but I did look up an article or two on the Internet to try to improve my knowledge and change the shade of my thumb from black to green, maybe pale green.

It paid off.

After nearly a year of toil, my orchid had awakened. Within days, the shoot rising from the center of the plant had reached several inches in height. I found the thin, metal wire the florist had used to secure the original shoot to the stake and fastened it once again around this new shoot. It continued its growth, up and up until reaching nearly two feet in length, its end arcing gently away from the stake, and here were the buds.

Four pairs, offset on either side in a staggered pattern, sprouted at 45-degree angles from the end of the shoot. I was super happy. I thought the regular watering had been an exercise in futility, and yet here was evidence of my antecedent activity, plain as day, catching the (we’re in the Northwest, so) occasional sunlight, pulling it in, and radiating it outward in a power sunburst, just about forcing anyone who walks by my workstation to stop and admire.

“Wow,” they say. “Your orchid is beautiful. You’ve got a great place here by the window.” Then they walk on. Maybe they’re referring to my view of Mount Hood, maybe to the orchid, maybe to a combination of those two plus one of those rare sunny days. However the comment is intended, I take it seriously, and I recognize that I got to this beautiful, tranquil, awe-inspiring view, if I’m honest, partly by chance. I say partly intentionally. I had a plan, however sparse, and I followed it, but the unknowns still existed, and the possibility of black-stemmed failure lurked in the shadows, anxious to fill its ranks with formerly living members of the dreaming, blooming public.

But it’s no match for patience and persistence. For orchids and oracles.

Workplace politics and economic principles dance a delicate routine on the razor edge of possibility. Ignore the dangled carrot, progress toward your preexisting goal; chomp with all your reserved jaw strength, might hurt yourself; saunter to the inner side of the engagement ring or find yourself there by accident, momentum shifts to one side of the blade or the other. You won’t know which side that is until it’s too late.

Let’s redefine “too late.” It has such a negative connotation. I’m working to think of it as representing my presence in a place and time that would not have been possible without taking a risk. I acquired a plant and started watering it. Soon, it was too late to turn back without consequences. Time refused to turn its pages in reverse.

That’s okay. I want the story to move forward. Things are just getting good.

FacebookGoogle+PinterestRedditTwittertumblrEmail



Leave a Reply





Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, and musician. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0 Comments Load Comments


Open and closed recycle brown carton delivery packaging box.

The Unboxing

Shortly after moving to Portland, I asked our office administrative specialist to order me a footrest. I asked for the footrest for a practical reason: lower back pressure relief. I have a stand-up desk. This works well to get my stand hours in during the day--Apple faithful, you know what I'm...

[ Swap Article ]

God character working on telemarketing vector illustration. Telemarketing, sales, business, marketing design concept

Let there Be Devices

We have over a dozen devices now, and the number is only going to grow from here. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Money eye bottle soda water isolated on mascot

Hydrating Water

Phil wasn't sure what caused his muscles to dehydrate and shrivel up into jerky encased in skin, but he understood the aftermath. His career was over. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Einstein - Think

You're Smart

We were talking around the dinner table about what it means to get a college degree. I said you pass a bunch of tests, and then they give you a piece of paper that says you're smart. I finished my explanation saying employers can rely on that piece of paper as evidence that you're smart. Anna, 11,...

[ Swap Article ]

Madre Greater than Padre

Madre > Padre

A couple weeks ago, Amy diagnosed and changed out all three fuses that controlled electrical flow to the outlets in our car. Super sexy. Super cool. When I say that Amy did it, I don't mean that I was standing on the sidelines, guiding hands and helping words coaching her to a successful solution. I...

[ Swap Article ]

Ben Comedy Main Headshot 2019 Lego Tshirt Hi Res_May 2019 Profile Piece

An Interview with Ben Rosenfeld (feature)

Acceptance and Current Events ...

[ Swap Article ]

Cartoon stick figure drawing conceptual illustration of angry man or businessman targeting with antique cannon ready to fire.

Bolt-Action Cannonball Sack

"Can you do the bolt-action cannonball sack?" Ella asked me today during bedtime. She was trying to remember the name of the move I do when I toss her over my shoulder and then flip her onto the bed. (I call it the fireman’s carry/toss.) Earlier, she was playing Fortnite with Will and must have...

[ Swap Article ]

?????????????????????????????????????????????????

Time Traveling Titan

At Toastmasters last week, the theme was National Velociraptor Awareness Day (a real thing). During Table Topics, one of the questions was this: describe your experience finding the first velociraptor claw. Tonight, the whole family is going to watch Avengers: Endgame. In the spirit of honoring the...

[ Swap Article ]

Grunge green accepted word round rubber seal stamp on white background

Editor's Note--TFF Issue #21

On Easter Sunday afternoon, we took our kids to a trampoline/obstacle course park, but not just any ordinary park. This wasn't a collection of four-feet-across questionable exercise equipment in the trailer park's social activities room. (If we cobble together a bunch of small trampolines, we could...

[ Swap Article ]

Mad scientist holding up a test tube

Ammo Arms (part one)

...

[ Swap Article ]

Set, collection of colorful socks icons with different ornaments isolated on white background.

Waiting for Sock

Think about stuff you need to get you through your day. Does coffee come to mind? Of course it does. For millions of Americans and billions of people around the world, coffee, in its various forms, is a daily ritual. Not just a daily ritual--an hourly fix, as in you need to grab more black sludge...

[ Swap Article ]

????????????????????????????????????????

Shuffler's Luck

I never knew a card game could change my life. I'm not talking about a high-stakes poker game, where international gangsters vie for dominance in a world of chance, and if chance doesn't go their way, bullets will do as a nice substitute. I'm talking about a simple card game with suggestions for the...

[ Swap Article ]