Monday, July 29, 2013

Into Tomorrow

I looked down at his massive head buried in my chest and shuddered.  He radiated pain with every fetid exhalation.  What unkind quirk of evolution would doom a majestic creature to suffer so unbearably from abdominal pain?  Approximately ten percent of horses will colic each year and symptoms will vary from mild to acute, with the prognosis progressing from recovery with help, to surgery or death.

Woody loved the pond.  He would spend hours in there each day, splashing away and snorting his pleasure.  A large standardbred, he had flunked harness racing 101 and was doomed to face the final trip across the border to a slaughter plant.  I’d gotten him and a few others from out of the kill pens and had them transported down here.  Woody was a gentle soul enraptured by a mare who rode the same truck down here.  Val tolerated his following her around although she was quick to set the boundaries.  He was allowed to trot alongside her and could eat in the next stall but was never to expect her to join him in the water games.  He shared his pond with the mules and some of the appaloosas.  None of the other standardbreds ever went in there to play.

The week after I returned home with Glass I woke to a three a.m. mule distress bugle outside my bedroom window.  There are three fences between the herd’s night pasture and the house but they are no more than a hop away for a mammoth draft mule.  Jack had come to get me and his tones told me I was needed right now.  I shrugged into some clothes and went outside.  Jack proceeded to hurry me to the back field, huffing his impatience as I had to clamber through the fences he elegantly popped over. I peered through the darkness ahead trying to see what had Jack so agitated.  I heard Woody before I saw him.  He was in the cove of trees and the thud of his hooves hitting tree trunks as he struck forward punctuated the night.  I called his name and he thundered toward me.  He slid to a stop and buried his face against me as he cried from the pain consuming him.

Jack escorted us back to the yard, waited as Woody and I transversed the gates then stood and voiced encouragement to us as I checked Woody’s vital signs.  A shot of painkiller and call to the vet’s emergency line slowed our load into trailer and trip down the road by mere moments. I thought I heard Val scream as we drove off and rounded the bend to see the whole herd plastered against the fence at the end of the property calling their get well wishes to Woody.  Val was closest to the fence with Jack lending her his massive side to lean against.  Sup, another standardbred, was on her other side.  “She will be kept safe by the others” I thought as the night wrapped around them obscuring their forms and finally fading their sounds.  

My vet is a man with a heart that must extend into the fourth dimension, it is surely too large to fit in his chest.  He battled the pain with all his skill and Woody and I fought to stay together this side of the final curtain.  Eleven hours and a failed surgery consult later Woody told me it was time.  He was so weary as he laid down and the blessed oblivion flowed into him through that last set of shots.  I held his head and whispered love to him as he slipped away to dance with the others that had gone before him.  I could barely see my vet’s tears through my own but felt them drop to join mine on Woody’s head.  

Pulling into the driveway at home with an empty trailer was hard.  Staring at the waiting herd, unbearable.  I went out into the field to tell them and they quietly sniffed the air around me and knew.  I was patting them and trying to assuage their loss when I noticed Jack, Val, and Sup turn from the comfort of the others and head to the front pasture heads down.  I followed and then stopped in disbelief.  Jack headed into the pond Woody loved so and turned to call the others.  Val, and Sup walked in and stood next to Jack.  All three pawed the water once then looked up and tracked something that passed by them unseen by my tear filled eyes.  I choked up as they called welcoming nickers and then peered into the sky and sang my own heart song. My eyes never did see but my heart knew.  Woody detoured through here on his trip towards tomorrow and eased our pain with his gesture.  May the grass be sweet and the water run clear and there be a pond just for him up there.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Glass Me

The first thing I noticed about Patrick Sutherland was his smile.  It radiated outward from his lips, softened his jaw, then meandered up to highlight his eyes.  They shone as bright as the Glass punctuating his right brow line. That Glass was jauntily embedded in a splash of tangerine echoed in complementary tones permeating his belt and shoelaces.  The orange family is warmth, sharing, and self confidence wrapped in echoes of late summer.  Not the color choice of an introvert I idly thought. His hand warmly wrapped around mine as he drew me further into the room where Glass was on display.  Patrick’s happily confident voice compelled me forward to stare in awe at the lineup of color choices. Shale, Cotton, Charcoal, Tangerine, and Sky formed an improbable rainbow of hues.  “Select your color and let’s begin this journey to Glass” Patrick encouraged me as I whispered of wanting a nice conservative corporate look, Shale to blend in or perhaps Cotton to form a neutral contrast.

I reverently picked up the Shale and placed it on my face.  It settled there and faded discretely into the background functioning as a mere foil for the twinkle of the prism. Nice was the most optimistic adjective I could apply to it.  My hand hovered over the Cotton briefly then I swallowed and reached for the Sky.  It leaped onto the bridge of my nose and stared back at me with a commanding glint.  The blue of deep clear water, zenith shade riding the bell curve between green and purple, distilled essence of color, Sky absorbed and completed me.  Claimed by the Glass I turned to Patrick and accepted the union.  I was a Sky blue female and conservative Shale sighed and agreed as it was put away for another.  

We went to another station and a pristine parcel of Sky Glass and its accouterments was brought to me.  Patrick took my phone and married it to the Glass then started me down the path of Glass commands.  The light was iffy and the first few glimpses of Glass’s screen were a bit difficult to see.  As the sun set further the brilliance of the background settled down and Glass opened to me.  It floats above the right eye and a slight tilt up brings it into view to respond to requests and open the world of possibilities to a wondering mind. Patrick smiled and said I was made for Glass.  

The appointment flowed from demonstration to practice to unexpected delight.  A friend called during it and Glass answered my phone.  The sensation of feeling my friend speak through bone conduction was heady, the freedom of my hands an unexpected delight.  I tend to punctuate conversation with gestures and Glass saved my phone from being waved and caught up short to be held to an ear with reluctantly silent hands.  Glass does not tether us to technology, it frees us from it.  Glass provides what we need to know, communicates when desired, and silently waits in between.  

Glass illustrates an attribute of Google that I cherish.  Many facets of modern life snare us unwittingly.  We grow dependent on them and can be subsumed by that, controlled rather than controlling.  Google creates wonders that harness the technology and hands us the reins.  We ride the internet courtesy of their search engine, share communications through Gmail, G+, and Hang Outs.  Glass is one more step down the path to independence. Rather than being dehumanized by the fetters of technology, Glass frees the humanity in us and points us at the stars.

The Google Glass team members I met at my Glassing exude a firm belief in a future where freedom becomes a reality through Glass.  They wear Glass but it frames rather than contains them.  Patrick did not say “Here is Glass, use it this way.”  He said “Here is Glass, create your future and let it be a partner.”  

Project Glass has set us loose to create, form bonds, and most of all explore using Glass.  Some of our fellow Explorers will develop software that extends the interactions between Glass and daily living.  Others will augment the lives of people challenged by life. Teachers will delve into the minds of students and pour knowledge through Glass. My own journey will be focused on the interaction possibilities between the spirit, will, and dreams of myself and my furred companions.  Glass will punctuate, illustrate, and aid my queries.  Glass can free my hands to soothe away fear as I communicate with my vet over a critical need.  Sky blue rather than blue sky dreams because of the catalyst of Glass.

The future beckons and I will put on my Glass and step forward with a smile that can be seen for miles.  I am Glassed.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Step Lightly Please

Par course for a Friday, the bus was packed when I got on to head home tonight. I hunkered down in a back corner and swayed from left to right in unison with the other standees. There is an unwritten rule frequent commuters follow “Thou shalt not stand on the toes of others.” When the ride is particularly bumpy we tend to look like a flock of cranes bowing and shifting around each other. This evening I successfully evaded the splayed feet, bunions, and fallen arches laid out around me and emerged with victoriously unscathed toes and heels.  It was the second high point of a day punctuated by more shadows than shine.

The end of a fiscal period is always hectic, and this is a quarter as well as month end.  With being out next Monday the day was flowing faster than to does were getting done. I felt like Alice in Through the Looking Glass, running full out yet not gaining ground.  The department phone was pealing cries for help from the business community and our position as support felt precariously akin to trying to balance on quicksand.

I finally got a breather at noon and called the Glass XE support line.  I finally will see and experience Glass this coming Sunday and wanted to get a bit of reassurance before I fly tomorrow to San Francisco.  The Glass Guide who answered the line might have been given another name at birth, but for me she will always be “Wondrous Gentle Google Glass Guide”. Her sense of pride in Glass was palpable, her excitement infectious, and her happy laughter was balm for my frazzled nerves.  She exuded happiness with the wonder that is Glass and without giving away any secrets about this coming Sunday at the Embarcadero, fine tuned my excitement and pointed me firmly toward the future I fly to tomorrow.  

Working a call center requires a certain charm, the art of listening and reflecting back the knowledge gained.  Some skills can be learned, some taught, but the underlying talent either is or is not there.  Like +Sarah Price ,, my Glass Guide today has taken empathy and bonded it with information to forge a support for Glass that will carry it safely through beta into production. Google is one of the few companies that know technological leaps must interface with social science to achieve mass acceptance.  Wrapping wearable computing devices with gentle humor, intelligent answers, and responsive Glass Guides builds loyalty in many and excitement overall.

As we shared laughter the Guide allowed me to see again how very lucky I am to be a +Project Glass  #ifihadglass winner. The interaction rejuvenated my desire to do well by Glass and show off its charms through written, verbal, and pictorial interactions. She turned a call with questions into a conversation that left me smiling. I hung up knowing that I had just been in the company of a master at not standing on the toes of others.