Pat Linhardt
Interior 64ac12a187a67

Do You Suffer from PTET?

June 22, 2023
It didn’t take me too long to work out my self-diagnosis with changing a few initials.

It occurred to me again this morning. I was on my morning commute at about the same place I first self-diagnosed myself with PTET. That morning was my first day back on the job after a two week vacation, the first two weeks in a row off since I can’t remember. The Kid did a great job while I was gone, so there weren’t going to be any pressing problems when I got back to the office.

Jetlagged from the flight home, I was vaguely thinking of the trip as I was making my way to work. It felt like something wasn’t right. Nothing as conscious as a toothache, but bad just the same, more like a nagging feeling of anxiety. It definitely seemed related to my vacation experience.

My wife and I flew over to Geneva, Switzerland and flew back from Milan, Italy. The photo was taken at the duty-free Gucci shop in the Milan Airport. As we passed the shop, she had noticed the bag I’m modeling. My wife is hard to shop for, so I took the opportunity buy her a gift. The modeling was for a running joke of a committee that I am on.

Questioning Oneself

On the nine-hour flight back home, I was reading a self-help book, 12 Rules for Life, an Antidote to Chaos by psychologist Jordan B. Peterson. I think the word chaos in the title got me to buy it at the airport, where my wife and I combined our remaining euros and spent them on the book and Peanut M&M’s, our favorite travel treat.

Through the book, Peterson gives advice on life, but more importantly also gets the reader to ask questions of themselves. On that first commute after vacation, I was questioning why I was feeling anxious after a wonderful European adventure. Instead of paying attention to traffic, I was re-living my recent experiences to see if any could be affecting my mood.

I had a great time with my Swiss cousin and her English husband exploring the Lake Geneva area in Switzerland. We stayed at their apartment and went where he suggested. It was four days of not making any decisions, which at the time seemed perfect. The four of us then took the train to Florence, Italy where we met my sister and brother-in-law.

A Pattern Emerges

The six of us spent the weekend eating local foods, drinking wine, and viewing the ancient art, which consists mostly of naked sculptures. Again, I wasn’t making any of the plans, just going along with the crowd. Are you starting to see a pattern?

After Florence, my cousin and her husband took a train north to Bologna for a week’s stay before heading back to Switzerland. My brother-in-law rented a car for the four of us to travel south to Montepulciano, a small hilltop town in the middle of Tuscany. He had an international driver’s license, so he would drive while I would navigate.

My dear sweet sister insisted that we first go to the Mediterranean coast for lunch. She remembered that was the one place I really wanted to go. Thinking back on the whole trip, it was the only place that we actually went to that I was the only on my list. The rest of the week in Tuscany was spent going to wherever somebody else wanted to go. Are you noticing a common theme?

Green Issues

We stayed at a wonderful Bed & Breakfast in Montepulciano. At B&B’s you meet the other guests in the morning. One morning it was three industrialists from Zurich, Switzerland. They were driving their off-road vehicles in Italy, because they aren’t allowed to drive them off-road at home. They blamed the “Greens”, which are the environmentalists, for having too much control over their lives.

Another morning we met a couple from Hamburg, Germany. He spoke very proper English, with a distinct German accent, while sitting with the most erect posture. We commented on the cooler and wetter than normal weather. He explained that the weather was being influenced by a disruption of the pressure zones, high pressure shifting north of the Alps while low pressure sunk south, or something like that. I was too busy watching my conservative brother-in-law’s blood pressure rise, thinking the guy is a socialist or worse.

Then, the Hamburg man surprisingly said they were on a three month sabbatical after he sold a major part of his real estate business because of the “Greens” in the European Union. Regulations regarding a home’s energy rating were changing too quickly. Some homes were facing major renovations or complete tear downs, completely disrupting home values.

My brother-in-law, a practicing architect now with lower blood pressure, commiserated with him about zoning and permit approvals. I found it interesting that the EU, like the US is giving our industry mixed signals. Like, move to electricity to heat our homes, but don’t move to save any energy in the production and distribution of the electricity. One of our government’s agencies, the EIA, estimates the distribution loss at 65%.

From reading Peterson’s book on the plane I realized that the Hamburg man’s whole posture and demeanor were to establish a dominance hierarchy, like a lobster. You have to read the book to understand. Nothing wrong with that if you are the dominant one. But, is there a problem when you’re the one being dominated?

Diagnosis and Recovery

When I started answering some of these questions that morning, I drifted to PTSD, since it’s in the news a lot. PT for post traumatic, since it happened in the past. S for stress, like the anxiety I was currently feeling. But definitely not D for disorder. That is a serious medical condition and mine at that point wasn’t anything like the suffering of people with that condition.

It didn’t take me too long to work out my self-diagnosis with changing a few initials. I stuck with the PT, but changed the D to a T for theory, since everything in science and medicine starts with a theory that needs to be tested. I don’t think PTET will ever be tested by the academic community.

The E stands for emasculation, that feeling as a man you’re not in charge or you’re weaker or according to the internet, you’re deprived as a man of your male role or identity. That’s what I was feeling, less of a man because I wasn’t in charge of anything. My work role, like telling the Kid what to do, was lost for two weeks. My identity had been overshadowed by other people being in control or me perceiving them as stronger.

Bingo, I had figured out my problem just as Deep Purple’s Machine Head started playing on the car stereo. As a true road song, it inspired me to mash the accelerator. The fast lane was calling and my answer was my treatment for PTET. My Mustang MachE’s instant torque put me back in my seat and on the road to recovery. Six passed cars later and almost double the speed limit, I was in charge and on the road to recovery.

Patrick Linhardt is a thirty-nine-year veteran of the wholesale side of the hydronic industry who has been designing and troubleshooting steam and hot water heating systems, pumps and controls on an almost daily basis. An educator and author, he is currently Hydronic Manager at the Corken Steel Products Co.

About the Author

Patrick Linhardt

Patrick Linhardt is a thirty-seven-year veteran of the wholesale side of the hydronic industry who has been designing and troubleshooting steam and hot water heating systems, pumps and controls on an almost daily basis. An educator and author, he is currently Hydronic Manager at the Corken Steel Products Co.

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