Monday, April 4, 2016

Go Faster!

Lucie, our long-haired dachshund, stopped walking one day last November.  Just fell over.  Nothing spectacular preceded it, she just went outside to pee, and fell over.

Doxies, with their loooong spinal columns, are prone to spinal injuries, and she had ruptured three disks. We had the surgery done on her, and then waited to see if she would walk again.  We were told that the chances were 50/50.

Slowly, she got feeling back, then movement, then some strength.  And now, five months later, she is walking strong, and pulling on the leash.  It is a sight to see.

But on smooth surfaces, like the hardwood floor in the kitchen, she slips and slides, and we have been cautioned repeatedly that slippery surfaces are dangerous for her - that she runs the risk of falling and re-injuring herself.

The vet apparently did not do a good enough job of explaining this to Lucie. Even though she has figured out that her back feet don't work quite the way they used to, she hasn't developed a mechanism for dealing with it.  Walking straight on a slick surface like hardwood floors, and her feet slide out from under her.  Running means that she has velocity combined with no purchase - and she takes the wall out like a NASCAR driver with the wind taken off his bumper.

And cornering?  Forget it. Total wipeout.

She does great on the rugs.  And we have placed the available rugs in a ring around the island in the kitchen, so that she can make her way gingerly around.  And she does it.

But then she gets to the bare patch between the kitchen and the den.

You can see her considering how to approach it.  And her conclusion is always, always, always the same.

If I do it faster, I won't slip this time.


(cue Beach Boys theme - "Wipe Out").

Lucie is definitely MY dog.  My layups in church league basketball had the same approach.  If I can do it faster, it will work this time (it never did).  Same thing in fencing.  I got destroyed over and over competing against people who were not as quick,  not as agile, and not as athletic as I was.  But even with my advantages, I would simply impale myself on their blade, over and over, because I thought if I just did it faster, it would work this time.

Very quickly, my score would zoom to 0-5.

Back when I worked on the lumber yard, I had a friend and co-worker named Bill.  Bill was slow and methodical, but he never ever EVER had to do anything twice.  Bill used to joke that he only had two speeds.  And that if you didn't like the speed he was using, you REALLY were not going to like his other.

I liked him enormously - he was a good friend - but it was sometimes frustrating to work with Bill.  If he was working on something, and the phone rang, there was no way he was going to grab the phone and continue working.  And when there was a flood of customers, he never changed his approach to help get people out the door more quickly.

But he always gave the best to the customer.  Full attention.  Attention to detail.  Measured twice, cut once.  Zero errors, zero injuries.

And while I am trying to get Lucie to understand the value of a plodding approach, I wonder if Bill had tried - without success - to teach me the same lesson.  That if I stop and take stock, and really focus for a little bit on the reason I have just skidded across the floor on my belly for the fourth time - that I might be able to come up with a better solution.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have a memo that I need to get right, before I send it out the door.

1 comment:

NOJuju said...

I do so enjoy your blog posts. Thoughtful, insightful, and never ever predictable. What a gift you have.