Waiting with Strangers

July 23, 2019

The older you get the more time you spend in doctors’ offices. Plus, because I volunteer for an organization that facilitates rides to medical appointments for seniors who cannot drive, I am sometimes left sitting in doctors’ offices for long periods of time.

Most waiting rooms are solemn places with ailing strangers crowded together at a sort of sad party that no one wanted to get invited to, but here we are.

There used to be loud television news or game shows to keep everyone occupied or annoyed. In the past several years, I noticed there were more of the ‘made for the doctor office’ healthy living themed programs. Still…

Today I took a client to a busy orthopedic physician’s office. No TV at all—yay! The room seemed the very ideal of diversity with patients, and those accompanying them, spanning a variety of ages and ethnicities. I wasn’t checking genders.

Instead of the usual stoic silence of strangers, everyone in the office was engaging with their neighbors. “What surgery did you have and how did it go?” “I like your fancy walker.” “Where did you get your hair done?” “What are you reading, is that an e-book?” I swear I’ve never heard such friendly conversations before in a waiting room.  And, the whole room turned over at least once while I was waiting, but the conversation mode stayed lit.

I found this delightful in lieu of all the divisive and unfriendly banter in the news and on social media. No one was telling anyone to go back to from whence they came, arguing politics or evangelizing—my own personal pet peeve.

While I was waiting for the client to finish her appointment, I had a good conversation with a gentleman, with painful knees, talking about the new opioid rules and regs that have put some folks at a disadvantage.  I shared with him the phone number of a nonprofit that could maybe hook him up with a ride instead of the usual city van service that took so long to pick him up when he is ready to go home.

It was all reaffirming somehow—that humans can really still be nice to each other. It gave me hope.

I still hate waiting though, nothing can cure that.

In San Antonio, you can volunteer with Northeast Senior Assistance (NESA) 


Just the Facts, Ma’am

February 5, 2017

I confess, I love data. Not fake date or #altfacts but real, factual data. I also love @Twitter where I follow @ConradHackett Senior Demographer and Associate Director of the Pew Research Center–a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world.

I am of the mind most political polls generated from news organizations or other paid entities are flawed. For one thing, these polls don’t often acknowledge their methodology. And, for another, not once have I ever been asked my opinion for a poll! To understand why the Pew Research Center differs from most other polling  read their article on key flashpoints with links to references and research

For example, this timely report might help you understand Key Facts about refugees to the US.

They have a great page of Key Indicators about many of the things that influence our every day lives.

Charts are another reason I love this org.

pi_2015-10-22_religion-and-science_homepage-2black-change-chart-2

America’s Shrinking Middle Class might give you insight into the why the middle class is looking for help–which they thought they would get but will not, with the new administration.

On the on TV show “Dragnet” Detective Joe Webb used to say to the crime witness, “Just the facts Ma’am. just the facts” My advice is get some from the Pew Research Center before taking everything you read verbatim.

 


TEDxSanAntonio # 5

October 20, 2014

Ideas-In-Action-TEDxSanAntonio-280wThis year’s TEDxSanAntonio event had a decidedly different tone from the four previous events. I think that’s as it should be. Constantly evolving with fresh speakers and topics, each event–a mind opening, idea sharing experience–then becomes a unique memory for its audience.

Hosted again by Rackspace, the auditorium filled with a record crowd of close to 700 attendees and volunteers. With the theme “ideas in action,” speakers often left the audience with a call to action–to become advocates for change–to fight for immigration reform; to provide better access to quality heath care; to challenge the soda companies and their sugary ways; to learn how to share ourselves more and to tell our own stories. One speaker gave us tools to determine what might be a problem, or maybe a dilemma; and another stated it was a problem we aren’t encouraging girls enough to learn STEM.

We learned “life is improv,” and ‘hacker’ is not a bad word but creativity. Because the “old ways can’t get us to the new place,” we should improve support for urban impact entrepreneurs and develop urban agriculture. On the other hand, ‘colonias’ can become engaged communities. We nodded our heads in agreement that our schools are often “educating with broken tools” and project- based learning is so much more effective.  We stood on our feet and put our hands together with acceptance for a journey of self discovery as a young man came out of the closet and onto the stage as a drag queen. We heard a poet and a river speak the distinctive language of San Antonio.

Kori Aston hand-painted this picture while she told a story of strength and love.  It’s a good word for TEDxSanAntonio, one that I find each year. All the speakers’ names and topics are posted on the TEDxSanAntonio website  All the previous speakers’ videos are there as well. This year’s will be there after processing.

Kori Aston painting

Kori Aston painting

An experience better enjoyed live, plan to attend next year’s event–no doubt already being planned. Better yet, take heed to the issues presented, choose to make a difference in your community with your time and talents. Join the TEDxSanAntonio community by engaging in a Salon, a smaller, usually more ‘hands-on’ event, scheduled throughout the year.


British Invasion Redux

September 23, 2014

Last night I went to a great music concert/fundraiser in Austin courtesy of my sister-in-law who works for Health Alliance for Austin Musicians or HAAM.

The British Invasion of the 60’s was revisited by an eclectic procession of Austin/Texas/British musicians. It was a very entertaining musical history lesson and a whole bunch of fun!

allatx playbill

Click for full list of performers

The Zombies (in the flesh!) sang this old Kinks tune. It really it made an impression on me, so I decided to share.


TEDxSanAntonio surpasses expectations

October 13, 2013

TEDxSanAntonio-banner-logo_2012

Thank goodness for TEDxSanAntonio! For the past two weeks we’ve been wallowing in #governmentshutdown and #debtdefault mania. But, along comes Saturday, and the TEDxSA event comes live to Rackspace and via webcast at three other venues. Now we can give our attention to speakers that ‘open our minds’ and inspire us to ‘think differently.’ All the idiocy of the past few weeks is momentarily forgotten as we listen to the intelligent, creative, and thought-provoking presentations.

The speaking styles and topics were as diverse as the speakers themselves. As I mulled over the four years I’ve attended TEDxSA, I realized that I gravitate more to the stories which strike a personal note with me–which is probably the case with everyone. And, while it’s good to listen and learn from many different points of interest, I’m sure each audience member, just like me, has their favorites.

I have always been interested in the possibility of humans getting their shit together enough to colonize outer space. So, I like Samuel Ximenes’ suggestion of making San Antonio the center of a lunar base development.

I’ve always loved Cary Clack as a storyteller and miss reading his columns in the newspaper. His message included the definition of nonviolence as ‘love in action.’ I think what the world needs now is love and he said it well.

Nelson Guda is an interesting person–both scientist and artist. He gave a powerful presentation, ‘walking from darkness into life’, about his journey to an epiphany through his art project.

Jason Fischer encouraged us to free ourselves from using the word “need.” That advice I took personally as well.

Except that we do need to talk about mental illness, especially when 1 in 5 children have a mental illness that affects their life. Lisa Long had a personal story about her son’s mental illness and how she has become an advocate for bringing this huge problem out of the closet and into treatment.

“We need (oops, there’s that word again) less fear about death and dying,” said Martha Atkins. (This one hitting close to home.)

‘Women are drawn to ‘bad boys’ when their estrogen levels are high’, said Kristina Durante, backing it up with science.  Well, finally, an explanation!

Here is a two minute recap from Rackspace

The audience and sponsor list increased over last year, and the number of persons who made it happen. Susan Price is still the marvelous organizer at the tip of the spear for this event. But, a great leader surrounds herself with great people.

Check the TEDxSanAntonio website for a full list of 2013 speakers and for all the speaker videos, which will be posted once they are edited.