Fear the Intermittent

Something has gone wrong. It’s okay, nothing works forever, it isn’t a perfect world. And we have gifts, talents, abilities… We can fix things!

All we have to do is to have the right perspective. We need to approach the problem with an open mind, analyze the issue, look for the obvious, track the flow, watch for the break… Then we make the repair, replace the part, mend the tear, heal the wound.

Unless the problem is intermittent. I fear the intermittent.

This is unreliability at its worst. It is the father of instability, and for me, it is the birth of despair.

I want a world where I go to the car in the morning, I turn the key, and the car starts. It starts every time, until it doesn’t, then I fix it, and it starts again for another year or two. Then it breaks and I decide to fix it or replace it. Want I don’t want is a car that sometimes works, then sometimes doesn’t. I don’t want the intermittent flaw.

You can’t plan with intermittent flaws. Not that plans make sense anyhow. The world can change in an instant, we certainly need to approach things with a “God willing…” attitude. But intermittent throws a complete curve at you. It says that things aren’t working at the moment, but everything might be fine in a few minutes, and stay fine for several minutes, hours, or days. It’s maddening.

And you can’t fix it, because while you are looking for the break, there isn’t any. It’s gone, it mysteriously vanished. It’s the worst.

Cars, electrical appliances, anything that has three or more parts… all these things that are made can be intermittent. We just had a microwave go south, it passed through the intermittent zone on its way. It was interesting to watch. The first step was that the turntable would start to turn as soon as the door was opened. That was fine, I can adjust to that. The next time the door opened, the turntable turned and the microwave engine turned on. That’s not so good, the door acts as a shield for microwaves so that was a problem. Time to fix or replace the microwave. The next morning everything is forgotten and the door is opened, the light goes on, the cup of water is placed inside, the timer is pressed and the microwave engine starts.

Everything works like normal! My mind wakes up and I realize I’ve witnessed a resurrection. The microwave has remembered the years of faithful service, wants to continue being helpful, and has fixed itself. It works for several days, then stops dead. Complete heart failure. Because intermittent is not intermittent forever.

What is true for our appliances, for our vehicles, is also true for people. People are reliable as well, but there are times when an intermittent flaw appears. It’s not always there, but sometimes it is, and it’s hard to deal with. It’s hard to fix from the inside, and it’s hard to adjust to from the outside.

Unlike the microwave, the solution is not to replace the people. We live through the intermittent, we encourage, we find the stability of the past, and we try to extend that stability.

We learn to adjust, we learn to yield, we learn that intermittent means that this too shall pass.

About johndiestler

Retired community college professor of graphic design, multimedia and photography, and chair of the fine arts and media department.
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2 Responses to Fear the Intermittent

  1. Anonymous says:

    May God’s bless and keep you always
    May your wishes all come true
    May you always do for others
    And let others do for you
    May you build a ladder to the stars
    And climb on every rung
    May you stay
    May you stay forever young.”
    ~ Bob Dylan

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