More fun at Red Hat, trying Mirage, yoga, and mindful driving

by Rob Tiller

After the intensity of the trial in Texas and a great win, it was another intense week back at the Raleigh office of Red Hat, digging out of the pile of backlogged work and dealing with new emergencies.  Not for the first time, I felt on Friday as though I’d done a months’ worth of work in a week.  The range of activities was typical, but as always, varied — from solving specific IP problems to formulating strategy to addressing customers’ legal questions to being interviewed by reporters to writing and editing for to drafting commercial agreements to dealing with management challenges — and along with these dozens there were literally dozens more still on the short term to-do list. I deal with one interesting issue after another, some of them important, all day every day.  I am never bored.  Is it stimulating?  Yes.  Exhilarating?  Yes.  Stressful?  Yes.

So as a matter of surviving and flourishing, on weekends I try to find some space to recharge and rebalance — some social time, some time alone, some time to care for the mind and body.  As to the social part, on Friday Sally and I went to Mirage, a  brand new club on the ground floor of our condo building which was having its pre-grand-opening.  It’s large (capacity 650) with a dance floor, large island bar on the ground floor, sushi bar in the back, second floor balcony space with another bar, and various side rooms.  The decor uses Egyptian motifs in a Vegas way, large video projections, a mirrored ball, and the waitresses in short gold-plated dresses.  The over all effect was glitzy but not gaudy.  We ran into Charles, who did a short speech as part of the dedication, and Ann and several people who live in the building.  We enjoyed talking to friends.  The sound engineering seemed good — very loud, but somehow tweaked so that it was still possible to talk.  Also, happily, the sound was not audible in our apartment.

I woke up early on Saturday and started to head over to Pullen Park to swim some laps, but then checked to see whether there was a  yoga class at Blue Lotus, which is next door.  There was:  Yvonne was scheduled for 8:00 to do an hour and a half open level class.  From past experience, I’d learned that open classes with Yvonne are fairly advanced classes, and for less advanced students, there’s no quarter given.   So it proved to be.  Yvonne likes to share inspirational words on such themes as oneness and truth, and she pushes the class past known limits of strength and flexibility.  After the first half hour, I wondered whether I could just hang on to the end.  I did, barely, soaked in sweat.  But I felt good the rest of the day.  I have no well-developed theory of why yoga helps over all well-being, but for me, it does.

I took my little German sports car out for a run in the afternoon.  Just east of Raleigh, Old Milbournie Road winds through farm fields and pastures, forests, lakes, and country stores.  It’s got some great curves and hills — an excellent road for just driving for fun.   When I got there, there was a caravan of minivans and pickup trucks led by someone proceeding 10 miles under the speed limit (45).  I had in mind the possibility of exceeding the speed limit (no worries — not too much), but this was clearly  not going to happen, so I tried to practice patience and enjoy the beautiful countryside.  Coming back, though, I had a stretch of the road to myself.  I felt the subtle weight shifts as the vehicle took the curves at speed, and the G forces as I accelerated out of them.  The sound of the exhaust note rising and falling as I shifted between third and fourth was like music.