It’s Not All About the Toilets
I recently returned from a four-week sabbatical to my work area turned into a toilet stall. Not sure how this thought first came about but I think it further developed from a blog post from my father, who traveled through Europe with me. My dad recently celebrated his 62nd birthday and as he has gotten older, he has realized that certain body parts do not work as well as they used to. So, one of my main daily responsibilities was keeping a look out for restrooms and making sure that we had enough change to use them. And yes, while toilet accessibility was a big deal for my dad, it wasn’t so much so for me.
I had decided that my focus while in Europe would be on seeing as much as I could. We would be on-the-go for twenty-six straight days in ten different countries, which meant that our time would go fast. So, this would require putting the phone away and setting down the camera to enjoy the sights. Another difference I had from my dad, who took more than 3,000 pictures on our trip. Not a surprise – my dad has several totes at his house full of pictures and hard drives full of pictures that he rarely looks at. He even asked me on the trip what will happen with all the pictures he has taken throughout the years. Yep, they’ll probably remain in the totes and on the hard drives until one of us gets sentimental. Bound to happen about every ten or so years.
And while it’s nice to have those pictures, most of the pictures took can be found on this great little thing called the internet – a fact I pointed out to my dad when I was trying to get him to really take it all in. See, there were things that he missed. One funny story from London comes to mind. While he was taking a picture of some old building, I was waiting near the edge of the sidewalk waiting to cross. Keep in mind, this is a large sidewalk with little to no foot traffic. The crosswalk light changed and I stood there waiting for my dad to take the picture, when an older gentleman passed me and muttered under his breath, “Get out of the way.” At that point, I just started laughing because I could not understand how he thought I was in his way.
Yet, in this world we live in, we all think that the world revolves around ourselves. It’s not just in America, it’s everywhere. We often hear that parts of Europe can be several years behind America. And while that might be true for certain things like the use of credit cards or music styles, it doesn’t hold true for these little machines we call cellphones. Just about everyone has them and are constantly on them. So much so that if you are not paying attention, they will run into you.
And as I look back on this trip and my time-off from work, it reminds me that it isn’t all about the toilets and it’s certainly not all about myself. It truly is about serving those around you and I hope that we were able to serve just a few of those thousands we encountered. As I continue to get back in the routine of things, I hope to keep a focus on serving – serving my family, co-workers, clients, and, hopefully, a few strangers every now and then.