High WIndow

I found myself trapped in a small room
dark except for the light
from one small window far
above my head

it was summer outside as
I could see a flash of
blue sky a tangle of
white cloud and the stream of light
through the glass was solid in the
pool of darkness that
rose around me

there was no sense of time beyond
that single moment I tried to
calculate the distance between
myself and the light above but
could not

I felt no fear nor
panic simply disappointment

There was nothing else

If at the end of the day you think you've accomplished nothing or think you've affected no one's life in the least, try this: remember the day with a three-year-old child.

"What we do a day, Daddy?"

He lies on his back in his crib. Yes, at three I know it's time for a big boy bed, and Lovey is picking out the right sheets and comforter for it this week. I'm lying on the floor next to the crib, my arm squeezed through the slats, holding his hand.

"We did a lot of things today, great guy."

"Nike what?"

"Well, after you woke up you helped me with the boys's lunches..."

"And den we wake up a boys."

We woke the boys midway through making the lunches, then returned to them as the boys dragged themselves in pieces through the house to the breakfast table.

"Then we made them waffles for breakfast..."

"Me too. My ate waffles too. And you not eat any of mine."

"Yes. You had them all to yourself."

"And then we wake up Mommy..."

On it went.

So he in his old-soulish way got me to thinking. Thinking and letting go, actually. Thinking about the number of things we as people -- single or familied, young or old -- do each day. Letting go of the self-imposed cage of lousy self-esteem I allow my miserable job to push me in to.

I'm no saint. But I'm starting to think that my job on this planet has nothing to do with a paycheck or a title or a resume. Even though there is no road map, that is somewhat comforting.

He squeezes his tiny grip tighter around two of my fingers.

"We had a good day, Daddy."

"Yes we did, my guy."

"Tomowo we be strong working guys adain?"

"Yes indeedy."

I find myself drifitng to sleep, the kiss of death because I have a few things to do before I hit the hay. Slowly I pull my hand away and get to my knees.

"Where you going?"

"I've gotta check on the boys."

"And feed Spencer?"

"And feed Spencer."

We trade our "I love yous", and with a stifled youch! I step on an errant Lego in the dark. This makes us both giggle. I shut the door quietly and step down the hall, one note in the song ended, another about to be played.

Sales Order Processing; my body is trapped, and so is my mind, yet there is much to be said for constraint

Hedgehogs are remarkably placid creatures, given their fierce appearance and arsenal of spiny barbs. Then again, this placidity is less surprising when one considers that these spikes are defensive in nature. Unlike the fox, the squirrel or the French foreign exchange student, the hedgehog has grown to take its defences for granted. It does not have to struggle or fight in order to survive, it merely curls up into a ball. Thus, stripped of its spines, the hedgehog is revealed for what it is; a pathetic creature, a fattened, bloated parody of a badger, naked to the world in front of every kind of girl and shivering, shivering in the cold and in the shame of its uncovering. Yes, I mock the hedgehog. What of it? I do not possess spines, yet I am weak also, for my spines are provided by society. Unlike the hedgehog, the spines are not solely for my benefit, indeed I believe the government would allow my death if it suited them. I am nothing to them. The spines are imaginary, psychological, conditioned into me. I do not have barbs of my own.

This is why I respect the American. The American is not a hedgehog - the American is instead a peacock, being brightly-coloured, bulbous and extremely visible, but possessed of sharp claws in the form of handguns and small arms of the type he is constitutionally bound to own and maintain. I do not care for the moral arguments as to the ownership of such weapons. Weak men argue, weak men complain. The strong man acts, and I am not strong, and this shames me. 50 Cent does not debate the pros and cons of his actions. He does, and he is respected for it. Neither the law nor society constrains him. There is no God keeping score, no-one is punished or rewarded after they die, and society is weak. There is nothing to prevent any man from acting according to his impulses, provided that man accepts that his active life will be short.

But one can act with one's mind. Einstein did not have a posse and was never involved in a nightclub shooting incident, at least not as far as I know. But he acted, he acted with his mind. And with his pencils. And his typewriter. And perhaps also his secretary acted as well, in those cases where he dictated notes. Also, he might well have used chalk. And a blackboard. Einstein was a strong man because he acted, he acted according to his mental impulses. He rode the wave of thought and today we have nuclear weapons. But I do not act with my mind. I do not act at all. Perhaps Einstein could have stabbed people with his pencils, or dropped his typewriter on their head. If he had done so, would we remember him today?

But we don't really remember Einstein at all. Most people 'remember' an image of Einstein, either the photograph of him poking out his tongue or other photographs of a small man with a big moustache and casual clothes. Only a small percentage of the human population stood within the same airspace as Einstein during his life, perhaps only a handful of people truly knew the man, insofar as a man can be known. The things which make a man are trapped forever in that man's skull, and can neither be preserved after death nor transferred to another man. Only the simplest of men can be understood, which explains the continuingly popularity of soap operas, for they contain simple men and simple women, albeit with complex life stories. The inhabitants of television are defined by a handful of attributes - Spock was logical, The Prisoner was terse and contrary, Sergeant Bilko was smart but lazy, KITT had super pursuit mode whilst Michael Knight himself was not defined at all, he literally was his car and his clothes. Real people are complex, which is why so many of us prefer television to reality, because it is easier to understand and easier to like. How does one describe a man? I have read books about George Harrison, the guitarist, even a book written by George Harrison, yet I do not know the man. If I had met him at a social event I would have had to learn him from stratch.

I often wonder how different life would be on Earth if Earth had been slightly closer to the sun, and Mars had also been slightly closer to the sun and larger, so that both Earth and Mars supported life, and that the people of this other Earth could look through telescopes to see another world floating next to them in space, another world like their own, with oceans and clouds. Perhaps the astronomers on this other Earth might notice night fires in the deserts of the other Mars. How different would Earth's history have been? For a long time the other Mars would merely be a bright star in the sky. In our society the discovery that Earth was not the centre of the universe was jarring. If we had also discovered that Earth had a twin - and we would surmise that this other world of cloud and oceans was like our own, notwithstanding that we would not have yet seen Earth from a distance - what effect would that have had?

When would we have got there, and how?

Do you remember in the cartoons where characters will sometimes inexplicably have dark rain clouds just right over their heads? This would often happen to Wile E. Coyote - usually accompanied by a lightning strike that would reduce him to a pile of black ashes and two big yellow eyeballs.

Well, this unusual meteorological event seems to have befallen me and my office-working bretheren. Upon hearing the rumblings of storm rolling towards us and the rat-tat-tat if the heavy raindrops against the window, we checked weather.com to see the exact scope of the storm that was threatening us. Much to our amusement, the weather map showed our entire area virtually free of any precipitation - or even clouds for that matter. However, there was one exception to this: a tiny green dot on the map in downtown St. Louis. That's right. We were cursed with a storm that rumbled right over our heads that rumbled the floor and flickered the lights, and then it moved on. No, the power did not go out, but still we worried...

Save often, guys.

Save often...

Save often...

She was sitting 4 stools down at the bar, chatting with a group of friends and drinking a Sam Adams' Winter Lager. She had on a maroon t-shirt, one with the V-shaped notch cut from the front collar right above her cleavage, and a pair of stonewashed jeans, lowcut and showing a slice of panty when she leaned forward to take a swallow of beer. She was purity and innocence sitting on a bar stool, and I fell in love immediately.

I was there with my usual group of friends, throwing darts and working on a hangover and accompanying heartburn. Hangovers had by this time began to be classified as "noon'ers", "one'ers" and etc... depending on when I'd feel capable of rolling out of bed the next morning. Tonight I was working on a two-to-three'er as I sat and watched her between tosses — the angle of her arm framing the curve of a breast and the dark feathering of hair across her cheek as she laughed at some joke or story.

I saw us waking up together, the gentle brush of that raven hair on my chest as she turned to burrow deeper into the sheets, away from the intruding sunlight. We groused about our hangovers, talked about why I hit on her and why she'd decided to come home with me, and found out that we both loved Pynchon. Later in the kitchen making pancakes, me in my boxers and her in panties and that t-shirt, we made love after she bent over to pick up a dropped spoon. The pancakes charred and we ate Cheerios instead. There was a sense of warmth and happiness which I'd not felt in a long time, and I was content to watch her move through sunlight so brilliant and diamond-hard that I knew it would cut me, deep and golden.

But I never approached her, and as we left the bar I did not look back.

In the past, I've used the daylogs primarily to record major things that have affected my life. To that end, yesterday was par for the course.

A Brief But Important Fact to Preface The Major Thing

College Station, Texas (aka "home") is located approximately 90 miles south of Waco, Texas (aka "fiancee's place.") The drive between the two takes roughly an hour and twenty minutes, give or take.

After a fun weekend in Waco, I got up on Monday morning to drive home for finals. I had only gotten four hours of sleep, and I certainly felt kind of dead to the world, but not particularly drowsy. I got in my old Mustang and headed down the road, checking the clock idly as I did (10:21). The entire ride felt kind of zombiesque, and it didn't help that I had:

  • driven this road a hundred times before.
  • gotten stuck behind a truck going 8 miles under the speed limit.

So I finally broke free from my captive on a two-lane stretch of road just outside of Hearne (approximately 20 miles north of College Station). I had tuned to the classic rock station after wearing out my Shins CD, and Pink Floyd's "Young Lust" was on. The song came to a close, and the DJ came on. He began riffing off of the song, informing everyone in radio land that Roger Waters was now working on a musical, and that it would be ready for production in early 2005. At this point, I kind of tuned out on the guy, as I passed a police officer who had stopped some less vigilant driver.

About ten seconds later, I had an impulsive thought: I've been on the road a long time. I looked down at the clock again, almost in passing: 11:57. An hour and thirty seven minutes. This trip was becoming oppressively slow.

So I look up, and all of a sudden, I'm not sure exactly where I am. Now, if you've ever driven the same road a hundred times before, this thought can be particularly disconcerting. None of the obvious road signs, curves, buildings, or foliage were to be found. (This stretch of Texas highway can be nondescript when it so chooses, but the identifying features exist in muted form.) Then, I come to the first identifying feature: a sign informing me that I am now entering Navasota.

Navasota is twenty miles south of College Station.

So in the span of ten seconds in my mind, I had driven forty miles on a 70MPH highway and passed through my hometown without even batting an eye. It was around this point at which I began to panic.

I slowly exited the highway, and pulled a U-turn at the underpass. I resumed my journey to College Station (now heading in a northerly direction) and tried to gather my thoughts. It was pathetic, really, me trying to remember even driving through a town of over 120,000 people, with 10 exits on the highway. But even right now, I don't remember it.

When I got home, my roommate Mike suggested that I had fallen into a semiconscious sleep but retained full visual and motor coordination (he asked if I could "teach him that trick" sometime.) I jokingly replied that I had been abducted by the Tralfamadorians - but somehow, this fell nauseatingly flat.

Now, I'm not sure why this is a major thing in my life exactly. It had no real impact on me (besides wasting about 45 minutes of my time) and it's the only time that's ever happened. But it raises a lot of questions, both about consciousness and my brain, and even more ominously, my connection to this world. How did I drive all that way while essentially "not here?" I imagine I'll never get the answer to that; maybe that's what bothers me the most.

Dreams have an uncanny ability to alter reality.

I don’t think about her much anymore. There was a time when I couldn’t focus on anything else. So it goes with many different people, and their many different relationships, the world over.

The daydreams were relentless. Her unbelievably similar sense of humor. Her athleticism. Her interests. And she was so, so beautiful. Undeniably out of my league.

We were close our senior year of high school. I amazingly found enough courage to ask her to senior prom. In an infinitely more amazing turn of events, she accepted. Prom night came and went, and I would like to think we both had a great time.

But that’s where the story ends.

I couldn’t bring myself to ask her out to dinner in the successive weeks, and we both went off to separate universities. I got into another relationship (thank God that happened or I would have never stopped thinking about her) that ended badly, and so the shell was born.

The shell hasn’t come off for two years. I keep to my small core of friends, my computer, and myself. I enjoy my little corner of reality. And now, three years later, I have my first dream about her. And I haven’t stopped thinking about it all day. I hope you stay perfect.

And I never dream.

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