In Which Pieces of Tire Fly Off And Hit Our Heroine Right In The Metaphor

26 February 2003

I'm very happy for my old friend Jim, because he's engaged! Yay! And because his fiancée, as I've said, will be in charge, which is good, because he shouldn't be. Yay, Melissa! (I asked Jim via e-mail whether his folks have stopped dancing in the streets yet. Haven't heard back yet. Assume dancing continues.)

Mark arrived safely in Denver, which is good. We haven't heard any news from his grandpa's surgery, and I assume we would if the news was bad. I finished Gun, With Occasional Music (good, but I wish he'd done more with the babyheads) and barely started Kate Wilhelm's Crazy Time. When I put Timprov to bed, I decided to call a couple of people at the last minute to see if they were free. They were not. I worked and talked on the phone and wrote a few e-mails.

Tried to stay away from the computer a little more than usual, and my back is a little better than it could be. It's hard to cut myself slack sometimes, when things are going slowly with work, but I'm trying to think like an engineer right now, not a theorist. I'm not finding a right solution to the wave equation, or even a superposition of right solutions. I'm optimizing all kinds of variables for the local conditions. I'm pretty used to eschewing engineer stuff for physicist stuff, but since now both groups are "them" rather than "us," it seems like a decent idea.

What I want to know is, why do we never buy just one box of cereal at once around here? Why is it almost never fewer than four?

Right now, I have half as many rejections in February as I did in January and twice as many as I did in December. How tidy.

Sometimes I also want to know why I read the newspaper, with headlines about how the Bay Area is not in the American political mainstream and how many teenagers are misusing alcohol. Tomorrow's top stories: water wet, many dogs furry. Sigh.

I feel like I'm keeping up my paper journal and my online journal now because I'm going to want to have done so later, but the two have opposite problems now: in my paper journal, I have already introspected to death on the things that are issues in our lives right now. It's not that I have things to work out, it's that I have things to do, and other people have things to do, too, and I have to wait on those other people for some of my things. There are only so many times I can chronicle that or write about how frustrating it all is, and I believe I have gone through all of them for this particular situation. And I don't want to do a lot of story idea development until I'm done with this draft and can maybe write a short story or two as a break. My paper journal has become increasingly laconic.

In this journal, it's more the opposite: there are some current personal issues that I've talked to death here, but there are a lot more that are off-limits. And while I can talk about some of them with references removed -- Mark's interview with Institution3, for example -- there are many more where I'd have to say, "And I'm doing all this because of that thing, with the person, for the reason." Not clarifying to anybody. When I called David's the other morning, Mary Anne asked if I was all right, because my journal sounded stressed. Well, yes. I am stressed. I'm not really all that all right. But I will be, I think. There's nothing horrible going on. Most of the stressful stuff is good stuff eventually. But anybody who says to me, "Well, then, it shouldn't be stressful!" is going to get it. "You just have to have perspective!" No, you just have to have perspective. I have to have these five things taken care of by this time, so you go have perspective over there somewhere.

I don't mean to be uncommunicative, and I really do love getting e-mail. I just prefer that it either talk about something else or bother to learn what's going on before offering advice. Very little generic advice is worth anything.

I feel like the time Phil Sass and I were driving back to Gustavus and Christopher had already locked the keys in the trunk of their parents' other car and we were in the middle of losing pieces of tire, though we didn't know it. It kept going thwacketa thwacketa THUMPETA THUMPETA. Phil pulled over and looked at the tires as best he could in the dark. Didn't see anything. Pieces of tire continued to fly off, occasionally hitting the car. We eventually pulled into a gas station in Mankato that was lit enough to show the problem, and Phil accidentally stole this lady's tire gauge. (Hee. Now he will google himself someday and find his misdemeanors chronicled for all to read. Poor Phil.) We drove back to St. Pete on the doughnut. A semi truck rammed into an embankment right in front of us. Phil spent the last hour or so mumbling about how PK was going to have his guts for garters.

So, yeah, that's how I feel today, metaphorically speaking, how are you?

Ah well. I keep trying to sing about the signs that might be omens, but I'm afraid that in my current mood, Tom Petty has the upper hand for theme songs, and I keep mumbling, "The wai-aiting is the hardest part!"

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