I enjoy cool Southern California nights with the windows open to the canyon and the sounds of coyotes barking as they defend their den or a kill.
I drink whiskey with strangers in hotel lounges, in places I have long forgotten, or at the very least have tried to forget.
I hate travel. I am home in only one place… my home. All other territories and frontiers are places to visit or from which to get out. Crowds scare me, so do armadillos… but that is not particularly relevant.
When I was first married, I travelled to Houston, Texas quite frequently. This was before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and shifted the population of that state westward. Back then, Houston was a deep shade of red… now it has become… well… different.
Each trip was a countdown timer. Each second that ticked by meant I was that much closer to home, closer to my couch, my fireplace, my library, and the sweet smell of jasmine that lingers outside my window.
Home was known.
It was a place of establishment, of knowable realities, and predictive behaviors. I can relax at home because each atom exists in an orderly, established reality within my castle.
Yet, each time I would come through the door, I was hit with the same damn thing: Sandy had used my absence to redecorate.
Sometimes these reorderings of Matériel were negligible:
“Sandy! What the hell happened to my bathrobe?!?”
“Oh… yeah… it was falling apart, I got rid of it.”
Other times it was far more cataclysmic:
“Sandy! Where the hell is the dinning room table!?!”
“Oh yeah… i moved it upstairs into the loft. I want to try it out there.”
My reality was constantly changing… and I don’t like change! What Sandy was really giving me was a gift. She was forcing me to deal with an ever-changing reality and to keep seeking improvement… that, and also a never-ending hunt to figure out what happened to my sock drawer.
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Sandy, as well as her evil minion Kavon, have also done the same thing at Artemis. Fearing the stagnation that breeds from established order, they have taken it upon themselves to redecorate and do a little construction at the Artemis Defense Institute.
Those of you who are on Facebook have probably seen some of the “in-progress” pictures which have been posted. Basically, we have built a full-scale “home” around our five-screen system and added in a couple more offices.
The major change though, and one that I am actually grateful for, is that we finally have a working, functional air-conditioning system for the classroom.
If you have sweltered through one of my lectures with fans blowing… I don’t have any sympathy for you… imagine how I felt standing up there lecturing and feeling the pounds literally melt off my body!
The lab does look different now.
The instructors have dubbed the new simulator home the “Cry Closet”.
That moniker is apt I suppose. A benefit of the Cry Closet is that it retains a huge chunk of the sound that used to bleed out on the marksmanship simulator, which had forced the instructors to scream over the screams of people being shot, or clients getting zapped.
Now the sounds of war are more muffled behind the insulated walls.
I have known throughout my marriage that change, more specifically “improvement,” is a good thing, but one to which I have a natural resistance. When we change, when we evolve or improve, we inevitably sacrifice something in the process. Sometimes we sacrifice ineptitude, other times it is simply ignorance or inefficiencies that are laid upon the altar of change.
To fail to acknowledge that sometimes progress leads to nostalgic pain is an exercise in folly. Yes… change can be painful… but in the long run we are better for it.
So, I challenge you. (Well, actually all of us at Artemis Challenges you….it’s what we do). Take an inventory. Not just your weapons, weapons training, or defensive tactics, but go far beyond that. Why do you believe what you believe? Why do you hold on to certain assumptions that have become ingrained as doctrine? Test these things. Experiment in change, and adopt the improvements, abandon the failures. Change is not easy, but that which remains is always stronger for having been tested.