I am including a shot of a cheesy looking cup of coffee placed on the hood of our Dodge Nitro, which we have just commandeered out of Manhattan. We have a rented car. We are experiencing the exhilaration of pretending we are suburbanites. Driving through the Holland Tunnel is heavy-handed symbolism for bursting the bounds of our usual existence. This is heady stuff.
Before I am through, I am going to talk about some really good
coffee. This cup of coffee, however, came from a cappuchino vending machine at a rest stop on I-78. Nevertheless, it is fantastic. It is fantastic because it is a marker of our emotions as we look back at the hard work we are leaving, and look ahead at the possible adventures.
I wish I had talked about George Washington in the book that just came out–Upside Down Leader. He is such a two-dimensional figure now, blinking at us blandly from the one dollar bill. I feel sorry for his legacy, having car salesmen dress up like him in the middle of February and dance around in low budget commercials. Nevertheless, he was an amazing person. He lost a lot of battles. There really was blood on the snow at Valley Forge from men with no shoes. His soldiers were really angry for not getting paid. He only went home one time during eight years of war in the Revolution. Yet we learn something from his experience, according to his biographers. To survive is to succeed. He survived, and we barely remember all the problems.
I think an upside down leader has to celebrate sometimes, in the middle of feelings of muted failure. Sometimes just surviving is a huge victory. Hence a tacky coffee cup perched on the top of our black vehicle in the glaring sun…
The Upside Down Leader