Sunday, March 15, 2009


Can't seem to get to writing as much as I want ... so I used an old trick of writing in my head as I walked the dog. It was raining today, so we did our long Fisherman's Wharf/North Beach Walk. That's where the pics are from.

Perhaps I do not feel like writing because of all the writing I do for work ... lame excuse. I have always written for work. As I noted in the immediately preceding post, the economic crisis is simmering at MRU (the major research university where I spin silken tales for a small but sufficient pile of dinars). We know there will be layoffs, and it just gnaws at the soul. I am reasonably secure that I am safe ... but safe today is not safe tomorrow. And safe means constantly ratcheting up the workload. I have long relied upon my own infinite capacity to work ... I am taking a break as I write here on Sunday afternoon between a couple cleanup jobs that will clear some space for big projects tomorrow.

The infinite capacity for work. I don't believe in it ... I would prefer the European approach of 32 hours, long dinners, time for the café. But that is not reality in these here United States, and the economic crisis can only possibly lead to even further intensification of work. Don't get me wrong ... I love my job, and the constantly evolving challenges require genuine ingenuity and commitment.

But what happens if I lose out next year, or the year after ... what happens to me. Multiply that gut-fear by tens of millions and you have the present conjuncture.

So when in doubt, shop. Well, not so much for me ... except for the ceaseless shopping for books. I went to Macys, I bought pants and shirts and socks and shoes and a new belt. I feel best about the belt. The idea is that the intensification of work requires an intensification of fashion. If I going to be carrying bigger projects to greater powers, I should look the part of where I want to go. I dress like a schlump ... a clean, respectable schlump, but a schlump.

And so there I was last night, rummaging through the second drawer in my dresser, which is dedicated to sundry baubles and accoutrements of a life that has been by parts hippie, gay guy, leather dude, uniform collector, Renaissance Faire goer. I was looking for cuff links. I found 15 pairs of abandoned sunglasses ... mostly aviator things that I would use to add that special soupçon of class to a well-turned out uniform. I had the good sense to pile them up and consign them to the Community Thrift store. I also found something like a dozen earrings ... I have never worn earrings. They're going as well. I now have a bowl of badges ... over a dozen. I always had the badges, but now I will have them out for display and perusal and mirth.

What I did not find is cuff links. So I will have to wear the cool new shirt tomorrow with the cuffs turned up ... I do that all the time anyway ... I have never been able to work or type or even walk around without rolling up my cuffs. But what with the new clothes, the new glasses ... did I mention I have new super-slick MyKita-frame, German bifocals ... I thought I would go for the whole look. Oh well.

The glasses have been good overall ... it is really cool to be able to read stuff without fumbling around for reading glasses ... and I like the style. But I have to watch it. I have had two little accidents that I blame on them. I actually walked into a door because I was looking down and thought I had another six inches. Ooops. And yesterday, I tapped the bumper of a car in a parking lot as I turned into a parking spot. Very unnerving. I looked at the other bumper and there was not even a mark ... I mean it was a brush-by at 2 mph. But I never do that. I am a very careful driver. It really got under my skin. I had been shopping all day, and I am genuine shopaphobic, so I short-circuited and headed home.

The only cure is a good long walk ... nearly 3 hours of which half an hour was spent at Caffè Puccini at a sidewalk table, awning-protected from the threatening drizzle.

This is two gloomy posts in a row, and separated by two weeks. I have a half-written thing on Charlemagne, and I have just finished the deliciously written Justinian's Flea, which looks at Justinian and the terrible plague that decimated the world in the latter half of his reign. More to write on that. So I promise ... at least I promise myself ... to write more and not allow myself to be so cheaply unnerved.

Photos by Arod, all taken today at Fisherman's Wharf or North Beach.

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