In Which Our Heroine Hopes To Be Wrong

19 March 2003

I got Mark from the airport. The last several times I've done that, no matter how early I was, his flight was earlier. I showed up at 8:40 for a 9:00 flight (after having paid over $20 to fill our little Saturn with gas -- and it wasn't even scraping by on empty -- all right, oil industry, I get it, we'll buy a hybrid next time). Mark was already sitting waiting for me. So that was nice, only $1 parking and home sooner and all.

This morning I take Timprov to the doctor. That's the major component to the day's plan. I'll take F&SF with me if I haven't finished it by then, also something else -- my big ol' saga book, maybe, or one of the remaining library books. Don't know how long it'll take, but I'm glad we're getting him in there. He felt a whole new level of cruddy all day yesterday, and I can't say I was doing particularly well myself, so maybe we've got a touch of something around here. Or maybe we have touches of different somethings! Wouldn't that be fun. Then maybe we could trade and stay sick (or, in Timprov's case, sicker). And then Mark could get both somethings at the same time. Woohoo. Stress is great for the immune system.

And then we wait to hear on things I've sent out, and we wait to see what the doctor has to say, and we wait to hear from the schools where Mark has interviewed, and we wait for the bombs to start falling.

You know what? I would love to be wrong about this war. I would very much love it if very few lives were lost on either side, if peace and prosperity and tolerance spread from vanquished Iraq through the rest of the Middle East, if the oil fields didn't burn and pointlessly pollute the air, if food and medicine arrived smoothly to the children of Iraq and a government that allowed dissent arose swiftly from the Iraqi people and required a minimum of international effort. I would be very happy if all that happened. I would be very happy if the French never joined in because Hussein never used chemical or biological weapons against American (British, Spanish, etc.) troops. I would be very happy if this didn't push more Muslims into the arms of radical fringe groups, and if those fringe groups didn't grow stronger in terms of local repression and international terrorism. I would be very happy if Israelis and Palestinians were all individually better off after this war.

I would also be thrilled to death if Ashcroft shouted, "Psyche!" and said, "No, seriously, folks, I love civil rights, I just wanted to see how much of this shit you'd believe. Wow, you're really cynical, aren't you? I swore to uphold the Constitution, and you thought I was doing all that stuff to undermine it?" I would be pleased as punch to see those seeking asylum in the United States granted it without months of interrogation, without doing jail time for heaven's sake. I would applaud if no one associated with the U.S. government ever used torture again, no matter who the suspect was and under what circumstances he/she was captured. I would also do a little dance of joy if Saddam Hussein abdicated and went into voluntary exile on some small Mediterranean island. (Hmm. Maybe the Mediterranean has some bad precedents....)

I don't see any of that happening. But I would be quite, quite pleased to be wrong, and if I am, please do expect me to come forth in these pages saying, "Hurrah! I was wrong!" And if I don't, you're allowed to poke me about it.

So I'm trying to focus on the things that I can anticipate changing for the better, which is probably most of the stuff for those of us who live here. I've been sending psychic messages at Institution1 for months now: "Offer him the job! Offer him the job!" (Note to any hiring committee members from Institutions 1 and 3: I make a mean pan of bars. In case that influences your decision.) Alas, to no avail as yet. Either I'm not very psychic or they're not. Now I suppose I can start in on Institution3 as well. Especially because if either one of them offered him their position, he could contact the other and see what they were thinking. Maybe. I think. So I don't have to do a (public) total ordering.

It makes me uncomfortable to do total orderings anyway.

Speaking of (eventual) total orderings, I've been trying to catch up on 2002 books for the purpose of Hugo nominations, and I read Greg Bear's Vitals yesterday for the sake of completion, and also because I figured I'd want to eventually. Ummmmm. He decided he didn't want to write an artsy-fartsy book, I think, so he decided to leave the artsy out, because that was the fartsiest book I've read as an adult. It was positively intestinal. It was something of a page turner, but...very much concern with the colon, is what. And also he pulled a major historical figure out of some orifice and then stuffed him back in again, and also the ending was unsatisfying. Sigh. Mark informs me that Chindi is exactly like every other Jack McDevitt book, which means I may read it eventually but probably will not make sure I do so before I send in my Hugo nomination ballot. So I have The Scar on my pile, and also some library books waiting for me.

Oh, wait, no: I can't stop thinking about war stuff. It's amazing how much we have paradigmatic wars: if only you can get away with enough analogies about World War II, this will be a good war, and if only you can get away with enough analogies about Vietnam, this will be a bad war. It's all about the analogies.


It is partially my job to be The Optimist -- not just an optimist, mind, but the locally designated one. I'm needing a fair bit of support with that lately. Still, I enjoyed Mark Tiedemann's "Scabbing" in F&SF (haven't read the rest of it yet, and the story in question is a union reference, not a bleeding wound reference). And I enjoyed getting things a bit more in order in Dwarf's Blood Mead. The second draft may still be appalling. I really don't know. But I do know that it'll be better than the first, and that's why we have drafts: to fix things up. So. I'm going to get a bit of work done before I take Timprov to the doctor. Maybe. Or maybe I'll just read.

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