End Grain Wood


The retreat center’s lobby floor was beautiful but it made me uncomfortable, listening to someone that seemed like a venue coordinator asking the receptionist in the lobby about why that party of guests had been put on that specific lawn. And more urgently, who made that call? Because if it wasn’t him or his co-worker, then really who would it have been? And which person should he ask to find out. The tone was familiar to me, of hunting down both missing information and responsibility at the same time but not entirely certain what chain of command to seek. Of a certain arrogance, perhaps, too. Of an unknown decision happening with you, and being unclear how it happened without you, or unclear that it could happen without your say so, and if there were unintended consequences or information you didn’t know but out to have access to.

I wouldn’t have known to call out the end grain wood on that floor unless I had spent all that time in the venue, where we refinished similar end grain slats on the first floor.  I wouldn’t have recognized the arrogance, either, and made so specifically, uncomfortable by it, if I hadn’t also been a venue manager, for a time, and caught up in all of those fretful musings about staging and blocking and decisions of movement.  You try to keep things in control, but things happen without you. And sometimes that arrogance, in seeking out the who and the why simultaneously, had been my own obvious visible edge.

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