2000 Notebook: Transition VII
 
   

21 February 2000
Ill At Ease
Jonesy and I were walking down Sutter Street early one morning; we were quite thoroughly dazed. Jonesy was comatose because he'd been up all night installing new optical cabling to the subserver array; I was groggy because I hadn't had any reason to think since I awoke.

We were carrying cups of coffee from Café Saint Émilion, a café that never existed. A shell of an old man encrusted in golden barnacles stepped into our path from an imaginary hotel.

Jonesy froze rigid.

Jonesy spilled hot coffee down his leg with his left hand while he saluted.

"At ease," replied the puffy admiral.

Jonesy's been out of the navy for years. I wonder how sailors are programmed, and if it's possible to deprogram them. Probably not.

22 February 2000
Sexual Innuendo Jokes
Adults call sexual innuendo jokes "juvenile humor," and juveniles call such jokes "adult humor."

Tony said "innuendo" is the Italian word for "suppository," but I think he was intentionally misleading me.

I don't know what to make of any of this.

23 February 2000
A Nasal Whine Louder That Jets
I'm sitting in a noisy DC-10 near the business end of the jet.

An aside: when I say "business end of the jet," I'm not referring to the so-called "business class" section in the front of the plane, where people pay a thousand dollars extra for the trip across the ocean to drink mediocre wine instead of the wine-flavored vinegar I'm now enjoying. I'm talking about the aft section, where the jets and the drinks carts are positioned for maximum effect.

I'm enjoying the wretched wine, but not the aural atmosphere.

The grating, nasally voice of an English salesman sitting across the aisle penetrates the jet roar. Against my will, I can hear every whiny syllable of each of his obnoxious stories about "those ridiculous sexual harassment laws," his "stupid cow of an ex-girlfriend who got hysterical when she discovered she was pregnant," et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseam.

I can hear all the nonsense from the English twit sitting across the aisle from me when I can barely hear a single utterance from the women sitting next to me, who is descended from Nefertiti herself.

How can a machine designed by idiots so painfully oblivious to acoustics possibly make it all the way to London?

24 February 2000
London Tap Water
I told Calvin that London tap water tastes wretched.

"Ah, so that's why you're an artist," he replied. "You really do have a keen grasp of the obvious."

My smarty-pants friend went on to explain that by the time water makes it out of a London tap, it's been through seven other people.

But which seven?

I'd probably even like the vile fluid if I knew it had passed through seven cute art chicks. But what if it passed through seven thick blokes? The eloquent words of Michael the gorilla come to mind: "Stink bad toilet."

London tap water would be better if I knew its provenance.

25 February 2000
Slice-Ratio Considerations
Eric was telling some boring business story about a huge corporate brouhaha over some petty matter. He went on and on and on, and on some more until I stopped him.

"What's the problem?" I asked. "It sounds like they're fighting over scraps."

"You've been away from humans for too long, David," he replied. "It's the same with people and scavengers: the smaller the slice, the harder they fight."

Eric was wrong wrong wrong. I haven't been away from humans for long enough.

26 February 2000
Children These Days
A child came up to me in the park with the carcass of a rusty old typewriter. He told me it was an octopus from the Andalusian Sea, but I sternly corrected him.

"What you have there, little man," I explained, "is the esophagus of a diseased rodent, a rodent of no consequence whatsoever."

The surly urchin walked away without thanking me, let alone giving me the courtesy of a reply.

27 February 2000
Smart Whiskey
Julio gave me a bottle of "Smart Whisky" from the Advanced Distilling Corporation of Sunnyvale, California. He said it uses "intelligent bio-agents" that interact with cerebral synapses to produce a more positive alcoholic experience.

Interactive drinking! What will they think of next?

"It's like this," Julio explained. "Let's say you're really depressed but you don't know why. After a couple shots of Smart Whisky, you may go for a walk in the park instead of writing the depressing prose that made you miserable in the first place. Or say you're having a drink with some woman you fancy. If you're drinking Smart Whisky, you won't regret anything you did or didn't do the next morning. I'm telling you, this stuff's smarter than either of us!"

I poured the bottle of Smart Whisky in the toilet immediately after Julio left. I didn't get to where I am today by being smart.

28 February 2000
Cats and Brats
I watched Cherie read a few pages from my notebook; that's always an uncomfortable experience for me. I dislike being praised or trashed; those are the two most common reactions I've experienced on such occasions. I was pleased when she steered between the two poles to present me with an argument.

"You don't understand why your friends breed, do you?" she asked after reading a recent entry.

"Because they don't live with cats?" I asked hesitantly, then added some supporting evidence. "After all, who needs brats if you've got cats?"

We didn't have much of an argument.

29 February 2000
Linda at Eleven
Linda is celebrating her eleventh birthday today.

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday, dear Linda ...

Linda and I went to school together. Linda is almost my age.

Almost.

Had she been born a few hours earlier, or a few hours later, she'd be forty-four. But she wasn't, so she's not.

How about that?

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©2000 David Glenn Rinehart