3.22.2007

Renaissance Man

For my day job, I try to keep on top of things related to urban
Philadelphia and to economic development. Believe me, I put in the
effort, squeezing the most out of what little discretionary time I
have to go to events, keep my network fresh, and devour the paper and
websites. And yet, I probably get 1% of all the stuff that's out
there.

Today, I got to take a one-day break from the sharpening. I had to go
to New York for some adoption-related paperwork, which ended up
meaning two two-hour train rides, plus a one-hour wait at the agency
while they were processing my requests.

What that meant was I got to diversify my information consumption from
work-related things to broader topics. I pored over two issues of
National Geographic and learned about elephants and Walt Disney and
Nigeria. I started a Bill Bryson book in which he visits countless
small towns in America.

Even my one free hour in New York fed my "Renaissance Man"
curiosities. The agency was a block from the main location of the New
York Public Library, an absolutely breathtaking building on the inside
and the outside.

What a wonderful place to kill an hour. I walked every hallway, just
to take in the quietness and scholarship. There were exhibits on 19th
century Russia, men's fashion through the years, and the colonies
before the Revolutionary War. Even the gift shop was a learning
experience.

So if I bust my tail and still don't touch 99% of the info out there
on issues pertaining to economic development in Philadelphia, today
was a nice change of pace: a leisurely grazing on a variety of topics,
reminding me that there's about another 99.9999% more to see and
learn. But that 0.0001% I did digest today made for a pleasant day
off.

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