REPORT A PROBLEM
I wake to discover that he has left me his e-mail address slipped under my door while I slept, thoughtful man. I have no idea what will come of it but I send him email and wait to see what develops. A few hours later I am entranced by the cast reunion of Farscape. It is quite obvious that this crew cares about to each other. Science fiction has an odd way of creating families between people who begin as absolute strangers. It seems likely to me that next year I would choose to be larger part of Dragon*con, and to perhaps officially the part of the staff at some level or another. Like any relationship, it takes time and effort to pull off something like this, and right now I cannot imagine a life without Dragon*con.
I think I am likely to dream about the Con for least a week. It was not perfection but in the replay of dreams I can make it perfect. Of course, to make it perfect I would have had to sleep even less and be even more tired today than I already am. I find it interesting and hopeful that I did not pursue the party of my favorite Klingon. And that without trying to pursue, I still discovered someone. Although I think that he discovered me; I certainly had no assumptions about the outcome until the very last moment.
This is not obsession. It is merely reflection and wondering of the "what if?" variety. It gives me an escape outlet and a cause to hope at the same time. I have no expectations, I am just window shopping, shall we say. It might be a good fit, or maybe not, but I need to look around more. A lot more. It may help me come to a decision, a final committed decision, about staying in New York, or more specifically Long Island, or moving somewhere else. There is still time to take a few calculated risks in my life.
And as one door opens another door closes. The subtle questions never openly phrased were correctly interpreted and I received my answer this morning. It is hardly surprising for many reasons, not the least of which is that whenever I am interested they are not. The other door is professional, tied to a difficult question posed yesterday: would I choose to pursue that most difficult, nearly impossible dream if I knew I would eventually succeed, or would I give up on it instead, look for something a bit easier and more secure? It would seem I would choose the dream.
In some strange way, it just occurred to me that it is Mercury retrograde, the time when communication becomes confused at best and misdirection rules the stage. It is been retrograde for nearly a week and my ability to communicate in my favorite manner has been severely impaired by the splint on my hand. And, of course, it has been during this period that I have had some of the best opportunities for communication in quite a while. Opportunities to meet to people, to write about strange goings on, to give professional advice, to share the misadventures of Gotham Muse.
It does not seem possible that it has been a week already. Seven days and seven nights since a glorious, rollicking evening full all sorts of wretched excess. Once again it is the little things that seem to mean the most or to stand out in memory. It has been so very long since I last had unrestricted social, literate and engaging conversation in real time and face to face with people who share my interests. And it has been so much longer since there was a man in my bed who reached out to me in the morning sunshine.
Twilight on the porch. It is one of the things I like best about this House. A glass of libation in my hand (Mondavi Fume Blanc, a last taste of summer), Echoes playing on the stereo, I spend an hour on the phone keeping in touch with people. After a day trying to be productive it is a very nice reward. It could be better if I could knit all the while, but I have not figured out how to do that with the splint. As the sun shine in fades into cool evening but I remember again last weekend.
I dislike having to make monumental decisions in a rush, especially decisions about my life. There does not seem to be any alternative at this point however, I just need to make a choice, to commit to a course of action and then do everything I can to make sure that it turns out to be the right choice at the right time. Two weeks is not a particularly long period of time to simply burn the candle at both ends. I've done it before and this time it is the only thing I can do to further my goals.
Contingency planning is a useful skill, one I have honed to a razor sharp edge over the many years. I will be using every contingency plan I have to get though the next 11 days and have warned everyone not to expect much of out of me until the other the side of the equinox. I am encouraged by everyone's positive thoughts and well wishes, but between the sheer scale of work to be done with and the second anniversary of the World Trade Center collapse fast approaching I'll admit Ms. Indominitable Spirit is a bit daunted by the prospects.
It is the little things that make us happy and it is the little things that can turn us upside-down. The up-and-down, back-and-forth, the give-and-take that is currently going on in the office is just an added burden I do not need now and so I'm trying to ignore it whenever and however possible. I have always needed a little bit of distraction, background noise when I study. I am trying to view all of this nonsense as being nothing more than background noise to my life, as every minute for the next ten days will be spent study setting.
Anna Switzer was right: September 11th lasted not one day but an entire year. Seeing my favorite Klingon at DragonCon made me remember that day, finally making it home, my neighbors clapping as I pulled into the driveway, the flurry of phone calls to reassure people that I was still in one piece. Mostly I remembered talking on the phone for hours as he tried to keep me from completely falling apart, coaxing me into a hot bath when I began to shake, and upstairs into bed when I finally could not stave off the exhaustion. Thank you, again, Ron.
Trying hard to find a moment of peace, beauty or otherwise quiet reflection, but I don't have much luck after this morning's episode of Babylon 5 turned out to be "Sleeping In Light" the series' final episode. I tried not to find significance in that selection, but between trying to study for this exam, yesterday's anniversary and given that the Thursday morning episode was from Season One, Ivonava's comment about "taking an active part in creating the future or others will decide it for you" seems entirely too relevant and appropriate to ignore. The universe is talking to me again.
My brain hurts. I do not remember studying at this hard, but even with BVB ten or fifteen years ago. Then again, I attended class every week and faithfully took notes, so preparing for the exam was a matter of review and recollection. Swallowing 150 pages on a single topic, especially one as broad as telecommunications and network security, is a bit rough. I have developed the rhythm and am keeping pace with the grueling schedule I have set for myself. If I'm fortunate enough to get more than a single day of vacation next week I should be ready.
I have no memory of today. Nothing. Nada. Day four of serious study has blurred completely with the three previous days. I'm sure there was a study-break trip in Garrison to Starbucks for some additional caffeine, probably including chocolate and whipped cream. I probably sat out on the porch for a while then pulled a few weeds as a diversion. Mostly, it was filled with symmetric and asymmetric encryption algorhythms, key size values, the differences between various security models and the increasing levels of security architecture described by the Common Criteria, and trying to keeping track of all the acronyms.
Retrograde is bearing down hard on me this time, more so than usual. Communication everywhere is garbled, no surprise there. It's not just the situation at work, which seems more and more Orwellian with every passing day, but my own internal thinking, reflection, planning and dreaming all seem to be turned upside down. I feel tremendously isolated, beyond what has become customary in the last year. Perhaps this is all just the impact of the study cycle I am in right now, I don't know. Either way, it all ends on Saturday and I'll spend the weekend recovering and celebrating.
The days are a blur, the evenings a rush. I tell myself it is only a few more days, then I can sleep, rest, and recuperate. In the meantime, my life is stripped to the bones in a vicious cycle. I am disorganized at work, unable to keep track of the simple details, but thankfully there is no major project currently in progress, everything is still caught in the planning stages. The lone spot of brightness: the refinancing loan is approved, we just need to set the date. Oh, and let's all wish a Very Happy Birthday to the Wizard.
Coming out of the House this morning I was struck by how light it was and then I realized it was still deepest dawn but that the moon was shining brightly directly overhead. The Half Moon on its way to a crescent sickle was dazzling in the clear, crisp sky. As I turned and looked over my shoulder to the east where the sky seen between the treetops was just beginning to lighten in its peculiar way that makes you realize that the night sky is not black but midnight blue. So once again I lived a Maxfield Parrish morning.
Still reeling from the possibilities explored during the initial meeting of the Advisory Board Trust, as I have come to think of it, reality as it currently is acknowledged at work exploded today. I cannot and will not tolerate a situation with so much two-facedness. There is no turning back at this point, the only way is forward, on to something new and different. I have done what I can to make my own choices, but I know that I must accelerate any and all plans once the exam is behind me. There will be no peace until I'm gone.
Single-mindedness and determination. It is amazing what you can achieve with little other than these at your disposal. It is easily a decade since I have had to become a subject matter expert almost overnight, and never have I attempted anything of this breadth in such a short time. Although many times in the last year or so I felt that my brain has begun to atrophy, it would appear that it is merely out of practice with serious thought. I am happy with the progress I have made in the last ten days. Let us hope it is enough.
Although I believe I have passed the exam I'll have to wait about six weeks to get the official word. I have become remarkably calm about the prospect of my imminent demise at the office, and now trust in the universe and myself to find alternate ways of paying the mortgage; perhaps this is the way I will finally learn to let go enough to handle a free-lance or consulting work. To be completely honest I look forward to a week or two of just going to the pool in the morning and setting things to rights around the house.
A beautiful day, this anniversary, No. 38. I choose to celebrate by playing in my own way and fashion: On the porch, wrapped in my silk robe sipping coffee from a Swampwitch original cup and saucer. Playing in the dirt, planting bulbs, some of which may yet bloom this fall; others for which I will have to wait and trust and hope in the coming year to see them blossom. Dressing in my DragonCon velvet jacket and dress to pamper myself, just because wearing it pleases me, I head out in search of late afternoon entertainments and dinner at Trio.
I adore Colin Firth. I'm not quite sure what is it about him, but unlike my dangerous predilection for James Spader, I seem to have a simple and wholesome liking for that bit of him that appears in every role he has played. I just want to bring him home for keeps, for myself to enjoy. Since it appears that the Wizard does not want to come out and play any more, I do think I need to find a new companion, if I dare to use that word, although time and energy for that search are quite of lacking.
I've decided to grant myself one week of rest. Not that I'm taking vacation, mind you, I simply mean that every evening I will come home eat something that I did not cook, and do little else beyond going through the mail, of watching an hour of TV, and following up with some email before going to bed rather promptly at 9:00 p.m. I will not attempt to clean house, run errands or otherwise attempt being productive in the three hours I am home each evening. Significant progress on the job search will simply have to wait until the weekend.
I had lunch today with Lainie and had her shaking with laughter over my dry commentary on the adventures in Atlanta. When I shared with her the insight I had that Sunday morning that it seemed strange to have a man in my bed, which was quickly followed by the thought how sad it was that I thought it strange to have a man in my bed, I thought she might lose it altogether. No, she's not Helene, she's not Spilman, but she is good company for me in their absence. And Spilman doesn't seem at all inclined to return.
As the daylight faded, a cool breeze swept in. No, more than a cool breeze, it had that characteristic snap and crisp edge of autumn. The equinox is now long past and tonight brings a new moon. I am looking forward to weather that has a slight chill and bite to it, even though summer this year was remarkably short and mild. Somehow my mind has associated this summer with a season of torment and I just want it all to be over quickly. This weekend is suddenly looking quite booked, between the garden, cleaning house and the job search.
I spent the day at the office metaphorically and literally cleaning my desk. I decided it was the thing go do: firmly and clearly fix my current location on all projects for all to see, easing any worries I might have after an abrupt, involuntary departure. Having done so, what does the universe gift me with? A hint that I am not in such dire straights after all, that I may be allowed a few weeks grace to find a new position. There is no doubt in my mind that I want and need to find new prospects and possibilities.
Once again, the whispered urgings of the universe for me to take an active role in deciding my own fate have pushed me into yet another attempt to find someone to be with, in an ongoing, three dimensional manner. The weekend in Atlanta was eye-opening, to say the least: so many attractive men, whereas here in Gotham I can go weeks or months without having anyone catch my eye. I was also reasonably certain there would be shared interests with those men in Atlanta. What kind of success rate will a supposedly scientific method have in finding me a match?
Stephanie was right: "Clare" from Six Feet Under is an awful lot like me, or the me that would have been if I was a teenager under those circumstances. Instead, twenty years ago I was starting my first week in college. A very peculiar thought, that one. Trying to figure out JD after the semi-seduction at his house that summer, which was my real introduction to Pink Floyd. A half-empty bottle of Amaretto, birthday present from Kevin Andresen. Sharing a room with Scully. Getting an earful of the New Wave British Invasion sound through campus radio.
Twenty years ago?
I like learning about new places. I often wonder what modern life is really like outside the strange bubble that is Gotham, especially in smaller towns. I wonder about life without the lengthy commute on public transportation, remembering Philipp and company in Reinach, outside Basel, who could (and did) walk to work in an almost countryside setting. As all the best possibilities in my latest search effort seem to be located in small towns well removed from Gotham, it reinforces the perception that has been building, that the city is at the core of my difficulty finding a true companion.
Continuing my stroll down memory lane, twenty years ago during the first few weeks of college, there was much to learn, and little of it happened in class. How to cope with office administration during my work-study job at the Career Development Center (thank you, Carolyn Hornev). Learning which food served at Saga was safe to eat and might not taste horrible. Realizing that my new ultra-slim body was putting me into circulation with the college guys and that I'd better figure out what I wanted to do about it; I was not going to be a wallflower any more.
The Tip Jar