Out in the Cold

Sara and I saw “Cats” last night.  Special thanks to Haley for the xmas gift tickets.  I admit I was a little lost for the first act, which was mostly about cat personalities and not necessarily a story at all.  Not being a cat person, I think it was interesting and there were a few good jokes, but not all that entertaining.  Looking at Goose this morning I realized, cats make you laugh and shake your head at their antics, dogs make you well up and talk baby-talk and hug them.  The second act was worth 10x the ticket.

We were walking back to the car and it was a pretty cold and windy night in Boston.  We parked in southie so I told Sara to stay in South Station as I walked to get the car to pick her up.  I cut through the building to get a little warmth on my way across the Summer St bridge.

Inside the station, nearest the train platforms I saw two homeless men on the benches with their belongings and two dogs.  At first I admit I was a little miffed about the dogs.  But then I looked back and saw that they were wearing heavy coats, and the guys had brought them into the station to warm up with them.  They were super well behaved.  I walked to the car, picked up Sara and we drove home.  I’ve had the tune of “Memories” stuck in my head since last night.

When the dawn comes

Tonight will be a memory too

I’ve been processing this scene all morning and I had to look up the lyrics to the song so I could really understand what it meant.  Because I admit, I teared up watching it performed last night and I wanted to learn more.  The metaphor of death as expressed through a grumpy old cat who just wants to relive her past and share it with others, is extremely powerful.  It made me think of the homeless men and their dogs.

All alone with the memory

Of my days in the sun

I’m sure they weren’t always homeless.  They probably grew up playing with dogs, throwing sticks and wandering through the forests playing hide-and-go-seek.  I become a blurbling mess when it comes to dogs.  I love them.  Why shouldn’t these guys get to have dogs like me?  Why don’t they get some little piece of reliving their youth?  Why can’t they have unconditional love and affection?  Why did I judge them?

I can dream of the old days

I was beautiful then

I remember the time I knew what happiness was

Let the memory live again

For the past year I’ve been on a journey (with the help of therapy) to get in touch with my emotions and how to incorporate them into my life.  It’s changed a lot for me.  I’m slow to realize it, which is why seeing the homeless men last night bothered me, but it took until this morning to process it.  I still don’t believe in the Liberal construct of a handout, but I REALLY want to help those that are less fortunate.  And I believe more than ever that a combination of basic needs, plus education, mentoring, friendship, understanding, accountability is the way to get there.

For too long I have heard the Conservative mantra of ‘self-reliance’ (which I believe whole-heartedly), without affording a person the knowledge and resources to affect change.  It’s the same problem my company faces.  I’m not asking for a handout, I want to be self-reliant. But I can’t do it without capital, and you best believe I will be accountable to generate a return.  I live in an industry obsessed with funding ‘serial founders’ aka those that have failed.  Investors that won’t get near me because I am outside their network.  In the cold, begging for a ‘warm intro’.

And I think of the homeless guys.  Who we all walk past and try to ignore.  Imagining that they chose to be there because we read some story about how a percentage of homeless people actually want to be that way.  So surely the law of logic by anecdote implies that these guys could be like that.  And we keep them at arms length.

Touch me!

It’s so easy to leave me

I’m not sure what this post is about.  Like I said, I am still struggling to process emotions.  But I know that I am seeing things in a different light.  With empathy and compassion.  That doesn’t make me weak.  The information/computing age is based on the power of network effects.  Interconnectedness.  The power of teams and structured coordination of effort.  Connecting with other humans can only make us stronger, more effective.  Just like a computer network.  Millions of nodes, connected by wires.  Try this metaphor out, the computer gets more powerful when the nodes are closer and the connections have less resistance.

Daylight

I must wait for the sunrise

I must think of a new life

And I mustn’t give in.

Someday soon I will fully awake and figure out what it is that I am meant to do on this earth.  I suppose everyone is searching for that same thing and we have been for our whole life.  Every year I say this will be the year for it.  The other day I heard that 2020 is “The year of good vision”, which I thought was pretty good pun.  Who knows, maybe it will be.

Look, a new day has begun

About Josh Rutstein

I am an aspiring entrepreneur and hopeful political candidate. Father of 2 very special girls, husband to an amazing woman, and passionate American. I snowboard whenever possible and follow a 20x mentality for exercise. I also play golf and ultimate frisbee and am a die hard New England Patriots fan and season ticket holder. Everyday I wake up wanting to make this country a better place, someday I hope to actually succeed.
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1 Response to Out in the Cold

  1. Jules Rutstein says:

    Josh, I think this is one of the best, if not the best. You make me very proud as a parent, to have such an insightful child. Not necessarily my credit, but certainly half my dna. I am still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. So, what I have found is that; it is always a process and it never ends. Not to bust the bubble on the song, but it was your favorite singer Barbara Streisand (Babs) that first released that song and made it famous….

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