A few miscellaneous things …

  1. I rode the bus to work this week, because my vehicle was laid up with a fuel-system challenge.  This was an interesting exposure to how the “other half” lives.  I’m fortunate to reside on a bus line, and I can ride the system for free by virtue of my hospital employment, but the experience was mildly depressing.  The chief source of my discontent was economic:  Bus riding requires a significant time investment.  The best way to move out of poverty is to maximize one’s productive working hours, thus increasing household revenue.  A 15-minute drive to the hospital, for example, requires about 75 minutes to complete by bus, from door to door.  That extra hour, for bus riders, is essentially non-productive.  The very people who could most benefit from additional working hours are those condemned to less free working time on account of the inherent slowness of public transportation.  Admittedly, a case can be made that access to the bus system allows many to hold jobs that are a distance from their homes.  But this is a double-edged sword; the apparent convenience of the bus system can minimize the economic thinking that might make low-income or unemployed people from living close to where they work.  There’s something significant with this, in a socioeconomic sense, that needs further thought.  I’m not anti-bus, but I’m concerned about the dependencies that can be created when the state provides basic services to citizens, and how these dependencies can lead to distorted economic decision-making.
  2. I’ve been fairly sick this week — mostly lower GI issues that have been rather unpleasant.  Not sure of the cause; I thought it may have been food poisoning from some Chinese I ate this week, but this is lasting too long, and wasn’t accompanied by any upper-GI discomfort.  I actually broke down and bought a bottle of Pepto today, which I’ve never done before.
  3. Had my annual biometric screening at the hospital yesterday.  Interesting results.  My blood pressure was an ideal 120/72 and my blood-glucose and triglyceride levels were both well within the desired ranges.  However, my cholesterol was a bit off — my overall was 139, with LDLs of only 80, but my HDLs were an abysmal 32 so my ratio was 4.3, which is borderline.  The nurse who conducted the screening suggested that my time away from aerobic exercise earlier this year may have been the culprit.  Oh, and even with a 2-lb. clothing allowance, I technically crossed the border into “overweight” status, with a BMI of 25.1.  Ugh.  At least the GI distress noted above has contributed to a loss of 5.5 pounds since Saturday.  Hooray for sickness!
  4. One of the interesting implications of the “people meeting” I’ve been doing this summer is that I’ve come across a surprisingly large number of toxic personalities.  I’m not thinking of any one person in particular, but rather at the whole impact of my newer social environment.  My stress levels are higher, my drama score is higher, and my overall happiness is lower.  On the bright side, I’ve learned quite a bit about myself and about others — lessons that will serve me well in the future.  Understanding is the key to growth.
  5. In the USMA world, I’ve been exasperated by the inability of some to let loose of their personal perspectives to consider the input or ideas of others.  A few members, in particular, arrive at a personal interpretation of a fact or a rule and then act as if their interpretation is Gospel Truth.  This makes game play difficult, and vexing, but it provides an insight into dealing with dogmatism, and a laboratory for developing strategies for managing dogmatic personality types.

All for now!

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1 comment

  1. Interesting points, but I’ve got to disagree with a couple of them. I do agree that individuals that utilize public transportation do make a time investment that takes away from other productive or more enjoyable activities. I do disagree that the time missed is time away from work, but personal time instead. I’m of the opinion that most of these people would be working as many hours as they could, and the ride time would deduct from the amount of personal or family time available, not potential work time.

    The other point I disagree with you on is the assertion that maximizing productive working hours is the best way to move out of poverty. Obviously working 50 hours a week will net you a lot higher take home pay than working 20 hours a week. But I think the best path out of poverty is through education or skilled job training. Working 50 hours a week at a minimum wage job is not going to lift many folks out of poverty.

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