REPORT A PROBLEM
We drove for hours in a driving rain. We were going to see some of her old neighborhoods, down there in Pacific Grove and Castroville. She needed to face the places where some of it happened.
Our small children in their seats, we arrived after dark at a motel in Monterey.
She came back from the office looking grim.
"They gave away our room," she said.
"Those-- ! What?! Now we've nowhere to stay!"
My road-weary overreaction and his grasp of the situation started my younger son crying.
She shook her head at us credulous children.
The spirit finds you in the damnedest places.
In a parody of Critical Mass, the women of Burning Man hold the Critical Tits parade and, painted and topless, ride bicycles through the city. At the end they enter a female-only drum circle and celebrate their sisterhood.
The choir sang them into the sacred space. We wore white, and bridged our arms over them as they walked in, and we sang.
Women young and old, thick and thin, fine and not so. All beautiful. All joyful.
The joy on some faces so touched me, I choked up and couldn't sing.
Speaking to my ex recently, I learned there was possibly more ugliness at Burning Man than I thought.
By the time she arrived, I was close friends with many people, several of them women. Some were very attractive.
Friendship grows easily at the Burn and is often expressed with hugs.
When she saw these women hugging me, her usual suspicions were proven. Her reactions, expressions of distrust, and rudeness to my friends, helped me decide it was finally time to put up with no more.
Someone had told her I was sleeping with these women. I was not. They lied.
The gay men of Comfort & Joy had built a trellis: A frame tall enough to walk under, hung with a rubbery solid tubing that quivered in the breeze. The frame and the tubing were fluorescent orange and yellow, glowing in the spotlights.
When Anna saw it, she gave out a delighted cry. She walked through it, the tendrils brushing over her upturned face, eyes closed, wearing the happiest, most childlike smile.
It seemed like a lot of innocence for a woman who'd just taken shrooms and told me all about the unplanned and nearly anonymous sex she'd had that afternoon.
She loves deeply, and she loves deeply inside herself. For whatever reason, the love doesn't want to come out bodily, out where it's dangerous. Just a hand and a word and a gesture and a series of loving acts ... but the whole body of love? Mm, no, it's okay staying inside.
But sometimes, that body of love leaps out all the way, and says a bunch of stuff all in a rush, and then jumps back inside again.
And I wonder, are those mammal eyes peeking out to see what happened, if it's still safe?
I love when that happens.
Spent a pleasant evening working on my mobile loveseat.
Basically it's an electric wheelchair whose frame and wheels have been replaced with parts cut from four bicycles and an old porch swing. I made the seat cushions myself. Very comfortable.
The lights work again! The headlights are a couple bright white LED assemblies I ordered online, same thing but red for the taillight, and there are blue LED strips underneath that illuminate the ground. I put all that in while in the desert after partying all night. It needed some serious rework.
In particular, a new switch. Now that's done!
I cried over a news story tonight. Just a little.
There was a house fire. An 8-year-old boy and his mom died. The father was disconsolate.
He'd never married the mother. Each had married others since their relationship ended.
He loved his son. They played basketball together. They cooked and ate together. They were important parts of one anothers' lives.
His little boy died and no one yet knows why.
I had little boys. Nothing was ever so precious.
There is no suffering in death. Experience ends. But the living remain, and it is for them we grieve.
Keep wanting to write little Stories, but ...
My tail is wagging too hard. She's coming to visit! She's coming to visit! I get to see her! I get to see her! Can't think! Can't think! Wag wag wag!
The trip isn't even for me. But I get part of it anyway. I'll take an hour, a minute. As it happens, I get almost a full day! Yay!
Working from home, assembling a technical datasheet, completed an expense report, got electrical validation questions to redirect ...
I don't care, can't think, can't think, I'm a good boy on my leash, but! Yay!
The house was built in the 1870s.
My great-grandmother bought it in the 1930s when she retired from teaching. She moved there from the City to be near her daughter.
She died during WWII. My grandmother moved in. My mother lived there during high school.
In the 1960s my grandma had a color TV, and a tall TV antenna with a dial that turned it by electric motor to better pull in the four available stations.
The house passed out of the family in 1979.
I drove past it today. The antenna and its motor are still up there.
"The role of an artist, said Chekhov, is to ask questions, not answer them."
"This is apropos of what?"
"Look around you."
The gallery was brilliantly lit. On shelves and pedestals sat sculptures in porcelain, pots and bowls in fantastic shapes and odd colors. The light fell on them from such angles as to eliminate shadows.
"That one." A finger pointed. "Chekhov would have made that one."
"No, he wouldn't. It's junk. It looks like a kid made it for his mom." A lip curled in disgust. "Who would ever call that art?"
"That's the question! My point is made."
William didn't worry about the one great mystery of the die-off. He was no scientist. There were no scientists left. No one would ever know why the disease -- probably created by scientists -- had passed him by.
Instead he ate Cheetos and sat in his cubicle, surfing the web. Figured once the networks went down and the power went out, he wouldn't get to anymore. May as well now.
Good thing everyone died at home. No bodies in the office. He ignored the bodies in the streets.
No deadlines, no expectations. Just ... what? An instant message.
"Aha i found u"
For years I thought of my workplace as a Darwinian shark tank. Only you own your career. Only the paranoid survive. Year after year I felt like a failure because my unique mixture of characteristics did not seem to fit the model that thrives.
Now the place is evolving. They recognize different personality types. They acknowledge that the corporation needs the unique strengths individuals bring. They've learned that they cannot just be a shark tank, where fishes that appear slow get eaten and discarded.
Once we were hardnosed while peer corporations were famously touchy-feely. Now the roles are reversing.
The weightlessness was not unpleasant. Jack had read some people felt sick. He did not. He felt only the thrill of falling, as in a roller coaster.
The fear and anger fell away too. The red-ochre cast they had given the world was gone, and the sky was blue again, the rush of air through the window almost soothing. Almost.
He pictured the road, twisting through its turns, heard again the squeal of tires, saw the deep inviting canyons beyond the guard rails.
Jack watched the earth rise towards him, and really wished he hadn't stopped taking his antidepressants.
Richard turned the corner and entered the pedestrian flow. People in business casual going about their day, walking to lunch, to shopping, a break from the office. Reminders of why they worked. They seemed content.
He kept pace and walked with them. Busy. Engaged. Productive parts of the world.
His eyes closed as he remembered what it was like.
His face smacked a lightpole, jarred his loose tooth. Panic washed over him, then fear, then anger. Unwashed hair fell over his eyes.
Richard cursed aloud. People looked. He cursed them again, cursed the world, cursed the meds he'd thrown away.
I borrowed a pair of pants. Probably for the first time ever. Not unlikely the last.
I've been told by a small collection of admirers that I need to wear tight pants at the party. Really tight. Show off the package tight.
I went to thrift stores. Nothing. Lost the time to go anywhere more exotic.
So a friend's boyfriend lent me tight stretchy light blue tights with fur on the cuffs. If I wear the right underwear, then yeah. Package. It's all about the package.
Whatever. Ridiculous wins again.
Two days late, I kind of have to catch up here. So this will be about 100words. Two things:
1) Often I wish I could comment on other entries. Not send an email. Just have a comment stream available. We are used to that not only with blogs but with news articles and opinion columns.
2) The beta rich text editor counts words differently than the basic editor. The former counts hyphenated words as two words whereas the latter as one. That's my observation, anyway. I haven't been scientific about collecting data.
Joshua grabbed his lunch, thought schedule. Metal layers would finish Friday afternoon China time. This required logic validation green light Thursday evening California time. LV didn't sound optimistic.
He paid, carried his plate, considered doubling LV with the Bangalore team. Short notice, but fab delay was expensive.
He held a fork tines-up in his soda hand. Went to the elevator. Vashna would object to her team's redirection, but schedule was paramount.
All this worry made him thirsty. He lifted his drink to his face.
That his how he became One Eyed Joshua.
A placeholder. At a fundamental level, that is how I have seen myself.
The youngest and most leftover child after the firstborn died.
My high school girlfriend's only source of stability, a substitute for family.
Unmissed by the social whirl when I was so shy ages eighteen through twenty two.
Self-suppressed through two college girlfriends who had problems with sex: I was never satisfied. I accepted the role of simply being there.
Following my father's example, being weak and allowing my wife to run my life.
And of course, acting like a seatwarmer at my job.
She insisted on climbing the tower for the view.
Too much work to remove her high-heeled platforms. He climbed behind her, watching her feet. She held on tight. No problems.
They embraced, enjoying the scenery.
"So who was she?" she asked.
"Friend of mine."
"'Friend'? Pretty kissy for a 'friend'."
"Yeah, she's fun."
She stared at him.
He matched her cold stare.
She sighed and swung around to the top of the ladder.
She forgot to hold on tight and her platforms caught on a rung.
He didn't watch her go down.
She tried to slit her wrists, bandaged them up again, drank a pint of isopropyl alcohol, stumbled to the Greyhound station, and bought a ticket to Portland.
But she got off the bus again and wandered around the streets awhile, and from a pay phone called me and called me until I was home, and told me her story.
I didn't know what to say.
Thirty five years later my son doesn't know what to say either, but his mother sure does.
"You can't save her," she said. "Only she can."
I wish I'd had a mother like that.
Tom and Chunyu and Vishram entered the elevator, engrossed in conversation over a pending design change. No one thought to press the button for their floor. The elevator started upwards anyway.
They debated, posed scenarios, fretted over schedule impacts. They passed their floor and didn't notice.
The elevator stopped. They all realized they'd gone to the top floor. The doors opened on the man who had called the elevator. They stared at him.
"Oh," he stammered. "Thought this was going down."
"No," said Tom, "we're going up," and pressed the door close button.
Ahmad said, "Don't." But Kazim insisted.
"I will be fine."
He opened the hatch, climbed out. Ahmad heard his boots land on the ground, heard Kazim light a cigarette.
"They will see me come out," he had said. "They will realize we don't want to fight. By now they know how hard it is to defect."
"A sniper will kill you," Ahmad argued.
"Give them some credit," Kazim had growled.
Now he was out in the open. Ahmad held his breath.
A rifle banged. A body hit the earth.
Now Ahmad could only wait.
If there's anything I need to fix now, it's my ability to focus. I did that fine when I was young. But now?
I have a specification to write detailing an image processor that has been fitted into one of our CPUs, and I can't seem to do it for more than about three minutes at a stretch.
I have gasoline leaking out a fuel injector and I can't be arsed to fix it.
Suddenly, watching a video of Bach's St Matthew Passion, I wonder if performing classical music, as when I was young, is what is missing.
I left my car at the shop and set off towards home. I went into a convenience store with my left hand bundled up in a sweatshirt. I didn't want to leave it in the car.
"Walking?" asked the clerk, concerned by the novelty and my bulky hidden hand.
I put a can on the counter. He watched the bundle fall apart, and was relieved when it revealed not a gat but a digital multimeter and a bunch of LEDs. I didn't want to leave them in the car either.
He grinned. "Good day, my friend."
Finally went to the corner market today after six months living here. The trouble was they don't open until ten and they close at eight. I'm not generally shopping between those hours.
But today I telecommuted, so went in for lunch. Had Joojeh Kabob with saffron rice. I prefer stronger flavors than Iranian food provides, but it was tasty. Bottle of Istak peach malt beverage was good too.
They seemed a little edgy. Made me wonder if any short-on-brains but similarly all-American-appearing types have given them grief in the past.
The Jetta swerved around and in front of him and then slowed for traffic. Henrik had to brake his pickup hard. His face was impassive but for a slight frown.
The Jetta changed lanes, changed again, trying to get ahead. The driver was animated. On the phone. Music thumped out the window.
Movement, a gap opened, closed ... Truck and car sat side by side at the light.
The Jetta driver's dark face turned towards the swastika scrawled on Henrik's side mirror. Henrik stared back, watching lips move, ignoring the words.
He honestly didn't care.
The man in the mirror was furious. Lips curled in disgust. Angry eyes bathed him with hatred.
"Every time you turn around, you fuck it up. What'll it be this time? Huh? HUH?"
Elbows on the sink, he leaned over it, gripping his ears. Fear and darkness squeezed his chest and tears rolled into the sink.
He stopped time with a mantra. Wiped his eyes. Stood up straight. Did not look at the mirror.
In the ballroom he took the microphone with a flourish and, grinning wildly, announced record quarterly results to thunderous applause.
They met in the foyer.
"Oh, hey, Enos. This is my friend Dorothy."
"We were in school, gawd, forty years ago? Is that possible?"
"Fifty," Dorothy said.
"Didn't do us any good, did it?" Enos offered.
"Were we hippies?" Tenys mused.
"Not me," said Dorothy.
Tenys stared at her. They shared a laugh.
"Maybe a little."
Tenys said, "Enos was in ROTC back then."
"Yeah," he said. "I hated you people."
"Envious," said Dorothy.
"In other words," he said.
She smiled up at him.
Her face was smooth, almost youthful. A trick of the light?
I wouldn't have known a Royal Wedding was on for today except that several people on Facebook said how disinterested they were. I think I beat them in terms of being disinterested.
I'm not hating on it though. The Windsors are an important part of the British sense of identity. If they want to have street parties and so on, that's great. Everyone needs to celebrate something.
And granted, this particular event happens but once per generation.
And per a FB friend, we know Diana is looking down from above and thinking, "You stupid little fool, marrying a British Prince."
Daniel knelt on the ground and fished out his flashlight.
The victims had been wrapped up and sent home with grieving friends.
His friends had comforted him with reminders that they had been warned off, told the platform was full. They had jumped on anyway.
The marshals had completed their inquiry and determined Daniel was not at fault.
He built the platform, though, and felt responsible. He just needed to know.
He found the point of failure. Bent steel, a key strut out of place.
A weld bead was too shallow. It had snapped. Catastrophe followed.
His heart sank away.
The Tip Jar