My fingers reached for the sword hilt. A fine mist, almost rain, drizzled down from the oak branches in the cool winter night. My girlfriend and future wife stood at my side as the shadowy figure whipped his steel katana from its scabbard.
“It turns out,” he told us a few minutes later, “that because of the way people wore their swords in that era, the quickest cut you could make was the act of drawing your sword.”
A.D. is passionate about his art. Just because we expressed an interest in Japanese sword fighting, he spent three hours in the rain talking about the history of swords, describing how they were made, demonstrating the techniques and even letting us try out some basic moves.
You probably love something like this. An art form. A style of cooking. Band camp. Maybe (if you’re really lucky) your business or career. If someone asked you about your passion, you would be happy to give them hours of your time to answer their questions.
This is a blessing. While everyone else is getting the same information from the first five sources in Google, you’re getting deeper secrets from an experienced insider. They’ll tell you exactly how to reach a certain demographic. How to save ten hours or a thousand dollars. They’ll fix your problems and be grateful for the privilege of doing so.
There’s an A.D. out there for every topic you can name. The writer Anne Lamott once called up a winery to find out the name given to the wire things that you have to remove when you open a bottle of champagne. She spoke to a thousand-year-old monk (by her own account) who had stayed alive all this time just to talk to her about wine bottles.
Where do you meet these people? It’s not easy. If you’re self employed, especially if you work at home, it’s hard to meet anyone.
If you work a regular job, it’s even tougher, because for eight hours a day you’ll only see talk to those who work in the same place. Or maybe your colleague will turn out to be an A.D.
But you have to get out in the world. Go to mixers, take a class, join a group.
Your A.D. will fill your day with adventure, and more.
A.D. inadvertently cured my back pain. He steeled my wrists and tendons to handle hours at the keyboard. You see, after that misty night he taught me and Johana for the next two years. We both still have all our fingers, which is a good sign.
If someone ever pulls a sword on me in a dark alley, I might be able to hold my own.