Take a Break

Unexpected consequences. I’m referring to the effects triggered by COVID-19 on the automotive manufacturing supply chain. An article posted yesterday on AP Online reported that GM and Ford have halted some production in response to a worsening chip shortage. Both automakers have temporarily closed factories in response to disruptions in the supply of chips needed to build various automobiles. Disruption of the supplies was caused by COVID-19 closures of primarily Asian factories that supply chip components.

Unintended consequences get to the heart of why you never really understand an adaptive problem until you have solved it. Problems morph and “solutions” often point to deeper problems. In social life, as in nature, we are walking on a trampoline. Every inroad reconfigures the environment we tread on.

~~ Richard Pascale ~

Even before the supply interruption, COVID dealt some blows to production in the form of forced factory closures, productivity declines due to staffing shortages (a result of both sickness and the fear of sickness) and related matters. Will this long-lived catastrophe ever play itself out? And, even if it does, what other unexpected consequences will surprise and startle us and otherwise cause grief and trauma and mounting stress? And what chain reactions will those emotional tolls trigger?


If I had sufficient money and youth (and its attendant energy), I would use this enormously chaotic economic period to start a business of some kind. I do not know precisely what sort of business I would start, only that it would go against prevailing wisdom as to sure-fire failures. Perhaps a pricey, exotic restaurant steeped in international flavors; struggling for staff and product deliveries. Or maybe a hydroponic tomato farm in New Mexico or Arizona, where water and reliable employees can be extremely hard to come by. Instead, I might opt to operate a radio station devoted to news and entertainment with a focus on evangelical atheism. The point would be to go against the grain; provided, of course, innovative market research revealed an unmet demand for the products/services the business would offer. And provided the unusual aspects of the business could successfully generate newsworthy “buzz.” But who am I kidding? I have neither enough money nor enough lifespan left in my respective accounts to see the new business through to completion. So, instead, I’ll just fantasize about it. And maybe I’ll use an imaginary business or two as fodder for some short fiction.


Hurricane Ida did a great deal of damage and ruined a lot of lives. But the worst of the storm may not have been its impact on the Gulf Coast. The worst might have been the horrendous flooding that is taking place in the Northeast. As of this morning, media reports say 48 people in five northeastern states died as a result of floodwaters from the dying storm. That is on top of the thirteen deaths in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Ach! What tragedy.


I woke this morning to the sound of pelicans scooping up fish as the birds glided over the early-morning stillness of a coastal lagoon. It was a dream, of course, but it felt and smelled and sounded absolutely real. I was in a small boat on the shore, alone, just about to launch into the water. It was an idyllic scene until I turned to discover that I was on the edge of a golf course where a tournament was being played. The attention of the crowd of spectators was on me as I slogged through the muddy periphery of the course toward my boat, which had drifted away from me. Apparently, I had interrupted play on a key hole. I was angry and embarrassed until I woke up to discover I was in bed. My embarrassment faded, leaving only anger.


We got a great deal done yesterday, but there is so very much more to do. Suddenly, this morning, I do not care. I do not care that the house is messy. I do not care that we have so much work to do. I just want to relax for a week or two, though I know I cannot do that. Next week, I have to deal with long-delayed obligations. And I have to have my Mohs procedure done on my little skin cancer. And I have a required doctor’s appointment in preparation for a referral to an ENT doctor. Perhaps the following week we can take a road trip. I feel a need to hit the road and let the world behind us just molder while we’re away.


Once in a while you need to take a break and visit yourself.

~ Audrey Giorgi ~

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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