It's 5am. I got up and came into the living room with Joshua because he was wakeful, and now he has fallen asleep again without being fed, and I'm sitting in a bare, echoing room that has been emptied of all the things we own. Without the pictures and the books and the rugs, my keystrokes sound so loud. The only other sound is the constant rumble of a French gunboat's engine from the river outside. It's been out there for days. French marines in white hats with red bobbles have been showing tourists around their boat, guns hanging casually from their belts where tourist children have been staring at them, tempted to grab, knowing it's a bad idea.
All our stuff is in transit now, and we're in limbo, waiting for Tuesday morning, when we drive out of here and on to the ferry and over the Irish Sea and then from Holyhead to Yorkshire. I worked my last day as a Dublin IT contractor on Friday, and I hadn't realized how much I'd been looking forward to that until the very moment when I was coming down the stairwell at 6pm, and started grinning and singing and wanted to call everyone I knew and tell them how happy I was. It wasn't so bad a job, and it wasn't so bad an office. It's me, I'm the problem. In some fundamental way, I don't suit the regularity and the environs of the normal office job. I can keep up that kind of work for maybe 2 years at the longest, and then I need a break so that I can remember what it's like to be a human being and not part of a machine. I called my boss and best friend and he laughed and said how lucky I was to be leaving the most fucked-up project in the world just before the shit really starts to hit the fan, and I said I know, I know. He's leaving too, in about two months time. He will just about have time to come over to Yorkshire for Joshua's christening, and then he's off to Brazil for four months to work in a kitchen on the coast and learn to surf and try to get rid of the headaches he's been getting. He's a mutant too. He can do the office thing very well, but only for a while. Then it's time to get OUT.
I said it wasn't so bad a job, but it was. I've never worked on any project where so much money has been wasted due to sheer incompetence, and where so much bullshit was exchanged every single day. Some day I'll write about it. Anyone who works in IT might know what I mean when I say that on this project, the project managers were given too much power, and ran riot, losing touch with reality entirely in the end.
E2 has been very important to me lately. I returned to noding after a four-year absence (which was actually longer than my previous noding career) and I think it's been an important part of my figuring out what has been going on in my head lately. I don't instantly know, necessarily, what I need and what I feel, without writing about it and getting it out in paper or on screen where I can look at it. E2 has given me a purpose and a structure lately that I've really needed. Also, it's reminded me that the Internet isn't just a thing on my laptop that I use to look up addresses and definitions and book trips and buy books. It's the greatest means of interpersonal communication that has ever existed. That's how I used to use it, and that's how I'm starting to use it again. I don't know exactly where I've been, but my life went to some odd places. I regret in some ways the strange thoughts about this place that led me to decide to stop writing here for so long. I've missed the stories of most of the events here over the last 4 years. Jack and Katherine are in charge - that was new to me. There are new gods, and old gods whose divinity has been lost. There are lots of new names, and a couple of familiar names, in the catbox. It turns out that now, I'm an old-timer, but only in terms of bare figures. Really, I'm something more like a permanent newbie, I just have more votes and C!s.
I like this place because it stays unpredictable, yet beautiful. I read in Joyce that St. Augustine said that for beauty three things were required: Integritas, Consonantia, Claritas. Wholeness, Harmony, Radiance. Beauty requires structure and integration, and if there's one thing E2 is amazingly good at — one thing it exists in order to do — it's integration. There are other unpredictable places on the Internet, but they tend to descend into a chaos of stupidity. There are other beautiful places, but they tend to be static and predictable. E2 is a steady stream of new things, even if that stream has slowed somewhat since the "old days", and those new things become integrated very quickly into the whole. I need new things in my life, because if I fall too much into patterns I start to get depressed. Hence the empty apartment, the echoing keystrokes, the drive across the water on Tuesday. I need new things, but I need to be part of a whole too.
I can't believe Paul Newman is dead. I know he had greater roles, but I'll always remember him as Sidney Mussberger in The Hudsucker Proxy. "Sure, sure!" I still buy his salad dressing, and now I probably always will.