Full moon today. Last full moon, I randomly sat down on the first day of summer school next to a really cute girl who's major is math, and I instantly decided that the power of the full moon had placed me in that seat so that I would meet her. Fate was finally working on my side. Last week, I found out she's 21 and married. Fuck you, moon.

My folks left home an hour before me today, granting me the opportunity to play some good wake up music, and also to face the dilemma of whether or not I should let the cat outside. My mother doesn't want the cat to ever leave the house, because the last cat she had was eaten by a coyote. This only happened because that cat ran away and left the yard in search of another cat who had recently died of a blood clot in her aorta, and these two had been allowed to go outside many many times before without getting into any trouble. But all the same, the new cat is forbidden to leave the house. Which sucks for the cat, because the inside of a house is extremely boring once you've managed to sneak outside a few times and see all the trees, rabbits, birds, and the "outside cat" and dog, the closest things to social equals you've ever met.

The cat just cries and cries and cries by the door, and I know that (a) it won't do any harm to let it out, (b) in a metaphorical sense, this cat is suffering from the smothering protection that my parents find themselves no longer able to force onto me (I am finally moving into an apartment next week). So I let it out and get ready for work. Half an hour later, I decide it's not worth the risk to my mother's mental health (if it got lost or died a week before I moved out, she'd be devastated) given that the cat is declawed, so I catch it and bring it in and instantly feel horrible. I'm not especially fond of the cat, but I'm enforcing rules I don't believe in and needlessly subjecting the cat to a horribly boring day, right after giving it the taste of Nature it yearns for more than anything else in the world. Not knowing what else to do, I put Kid A on the stereo before I leave hoping it might help the cat to relax.

Driving myself to work (for the first and probably last time), I notice at one point that there are cars within 5 feet of me in every direction, we're all going 65, and my head has been completely in the clouds. It occurs to me that people like myself, who spend every free second thinking about weird shit and stay relatively unaware of the details of their surroundings, are probably a much greater danger on the road than people with cell phones are. Maybe that should be part of the driving exam -- EEG read-outs while driving alone, and if your brainwaves dip too close to the alpha level you get stamped as a deep thinker, prohibited from driving any motorized vehicle. Hell, I like walking a lot better anyway. Maybe they'd start implementing special public transportation for the aware-of-all-the-monotonous-details-of-the-physical-world-ily impaired.

As usual, there's nothing for me to do at work. My immediate boss is gone for the week, and my pseudo-bosses (the "technicians", who know how to build things and give orders courtesy of their years in the armed forces) are busy fixing a wet bench and tell me to do "whatever I want". I check my pockets and discover that I'm not carrying any pot on me, so I proceed to waste lots of time by re-organizing all the Swagelok fittings that no one will ever use. After an hour, I go outside and pick up a copy of the campus newspaper, and flip through it until I happen upon this delightful advertisement:

Arizona Summer Wildcat: The U of A's # 1 source for news
Advertisers! Here's your chance to introduce your business or organization to incoming freshmen!

Campus Guide Issue
---publishes July 25, 2000
---summer circulation of 10,000
---5,000 additional copies will be mailed to incoming freshmen
---deadline July 20

The very best thing about the ad is the accompanying graphic, a hand-drawn picture of an incoming freshman with roller skates, headphones, a lunch pail and a Campus Guide. From his gaping, smiling mouth spew forth the words "WOW! Look at all these great places to spend money!" (Those who fail to see the humor here might be advised to check out some of my more recent write-ups... however they are not, due to the potential for hypocrisy)

If there's still nothing to do at work tomorrow, I imagine I can amuse myself for a few hours by making photocopies of the ad and adding clever captions.

Driving down a fairly major road during rush hour, I suddenly look up and see the next vehicle applying its brakes and getting closer to me. Untrained instincts call themselves to action, and I unnecessarily slam on the brakes on a wet road with wet tires and wet brake pads, and within 3 seconds I'm stopped half-sideways and half-way in the suicide lane. Noticing a large train of cars sitting still behind me, I drive the rest of the way into the turn lane and go down a side street. It's over an hour before I have to be anywhere, so after a little aimless driving around, I wind up at a Wendy's where I order a Biggie-Sized #4, and write down on a piece of yellow paper a couple thoughts that had crossed my mind in the parking lot:

  • Total independence (not having an immediate destination or any short-term goals) is still hard for me to come to grips with.
  • Being able to make arbitrary decisions (which way to turn in an empty parking lot) and seeing them carried out instantly amazes me. Much as the ability to manipulate objects amazed me my first time on DXM
  • The "moment of panic" when everyone claims to have a memory lapse and when instinct takes over is no different from the moments of boredom that precede it. Do you really remember with great detail what happened between mileposts 254 and 253 each day? Was anything but your instinct at work?
It is worth noting that today was the first time I'd driven a car in over a month, and that I've probably logged no more than 50 hours behind the wheel in my life.
Wow, I hit level 5 with this write-up. Yay!