Tim McVicker is a quiet guy. Not in the way of shy people, who hesitate to speak, nor is he uncertain of what to say. Actually, when you speak with Tim it is very clear that he is listening to every word you say. He takes a genuine interest in people, their stories and their ambitions. He's had a long and winding road, like so many of us, but he is happy with where he is walking right now. Tim loves connecting with people.
He wants to meet everyone in Charleston.
Tim admits that is a huge goal, perhaps impossible to attain, but to him it is something worth every minute of the long uphill climb. During our talk he ponders the creation of a spreadsheet to help him keep track as well as the difficult aspect of dealing with everyone moving in and out of the city. I have to be honest, to declare that goal to a guy meeting 100 people in 100 days, it's an automatic win, a quick way to bond, There are a couple of these for Tim and I, quick ways in which we bond.
We are veterans.
Tim served in the Army. We both talk about our service and the impact it had on us, the good and the bad. We talk about how we are accustomed to making do with our current situations, not thinking so much about personal happiness. I tell him that, until now, I didn't fully understand what it was to do something that you loved, to see how powerful that can actually be. Tim gets it, his road has been winding as he has continued to move about leaving bad situations and enjoying happy ones. We talk about our similarities and differences.
We have some of both.
The topic that begins that part of our conversation is simple, sports. Tim is a USC fan, and he talks about the Clemson rivalry, his friends and how it affects dynamics, but only in a fun way. I tell him the story of watching the 2015 World Series, a die hard Royals fan, next to an old school Mets fan. We joke about fun-loving trash talk, quick ribbings and the camaraderie that is found in those playful disagreements over whose banner should fly in victory on any given day. Tim and I both use a phrase, "that's how it should be."
We all know we have different opinions. We disagree. In point of fact, we all have some clever saying about opinions, usually involving an unpleasant smelling body part. (See, I can be classy when I choose.) More and more though, I hear people talk about division, about our differences and how we argue more, how we disagree more vehemently. It seems, at times, that we focus more upon our differences than we do those things we have in common. Maybe it's because we are able to focus on our own worlds, our own drives and concerns, so we can block out the people we disagree with, and view their opposing opinions as crimes befitting exile from our worlds.
In the military we focus on a mission. The best way to spend some time with a person you dislike is to bring that point up and ask not to work with them. Disagreements and differences cause huge problems, and so we actively work to address and resolve them. We are given very little choice about where, when and with whom we work, so we learn to just get along. In those moments where we lack choice, because something more important than our latest argument is on the line, we learn to focus on what makes us the same.
This is a big part of my talk with Tim. He truly does love people, but it also breaks his heart a bit that we are so focused on our differences. You can see it in his eyes.
For Tim, you should do something you love and invest time getting to know people. He loves the idea that my conversations are without agendas, because he thinks we should all have those same kind of conversations more often. Time passes quickly, and I feel like there is so much more to learn from him. He feels the same way. We shake hands and continue talking into the parking lot, talking about how we should do this again. I know we will.
It is the nature of connecting, once you have connected with someone, you want to do it again and again. To grow and cultivate a relationship because, to quote a friend of mine, "they are a mess worth making."
Favorite Dinosaur: Brontosaurus
Why: They are big, happy, they don't seem to be hunted much.