There is an apparently apocryphal story about the actor John Wayne, who was required to deliver the following line for the film, The Greatest Story Ever Told:
JW: ‘Truly, he was the son of God.’
The director asked him to try the line again, but with more awe and called action:
JW: ‘Awww, truly, he was the son of God.’
It is not true, but it is a great story.
Listening to a podcast, I heard another story on the way to work this morning, which I thought was true, but I have not since been able to verify. During a discussion about the solar system and space, one of the presenters revealed that when NASA was developing protocols for EVA work outside the ISS, they had miscalculated the time required. They had estimated correctly how long the tasks would take, factoring in the whole weightless and unflattering boiler suits stuff, but had failed to accommodate for the humans inside – that once outside in space, they would pretty much respond by taking a while to think, ‘OMG. I am TOTALLY in space and there is the EARTH,’ before asking their colleague to pass the spanner.
They adjusted the parameters by factoring in ‘awe-time’ a period of time long enough for the astronauts to be amazed and awestruck at their circumstances before carrying out their duties.
Whether this is true or not, and I tried and failed for a while to find it – I can’t think but imagine what a better place the world would be if we could all, just once in a while, experience a bit of awesome in our everyday work.
I am lucky enough to work in a job that allows me to meet a huge variety of people, a number of whom inspire me occasionally, but I think it has been a while since I experienced awe.
Still, life does offer smaller pleasures on a daily basis. After the really hot couple of months, this morning was cooler and for the first time in ages, there was dew on the grass as I walked the dogs. It was no pale blue dot, but it was nice to feel a relief from the searing heat.
Work today was unfortunately not too inspiring – I was able to give one person some unexpected good news, which undoubtedly changed their day for the better and I brought in a cake for a colleague who was celebrating her birthday. It is a really simple recipe for a lemon drizzle sponge but everytime I make it, it goes down a storm. For the twenty minutes it lasts, sitting becrusted with sugar in its silver foil tray, on a table where everyone can help themselves I am visited by a number of people who introduce themselves and explain apologetically that someone has told them that they ‘have to try’ this amazing cake. The answer is always, ‘Help yourself!’
Oh and the recipe? Every now and then I arrive at work to find that someone has left two lemons on my desk. I take the lemons home and the next day bring in a cake. Everyone in my office loves this recipe. They think it is great.
One of the girls tried a slice this morning. ‘Yum!’ She declared, ‘This cake is awesome.’
Well I am glad to be of service – it seems as if I do get a bit of awesome in my work after all.