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At a going away lunch, in Oakland

February 17th, 2002

Here In Oakland
I went into the office this morning after breakfast and arrived before eight so I was able to park near the front door of our building. I discovered two things: one, the software I needed to do what I thought I needed to do today was nowhere to be found and I'll have to ask MRM where he keeps it in the morning, and, two, what in the hell am I doing in the office on a Sunday? Stupidity doesn't appear to be one of those things that goes away with time and repetition. Should I not have learned this lesson sooner? Or have I learned this lesson before, many times, each time surprising myself at its latest iteration? There's probably some rule about asking questions to which you already know the answer.

Rained last night, just winding up this morning around seven when I went out for breakfast. It's nine-thirty as I write and there are dark clouds outside through the window to my left, blue sky and white clouds to the right. A good day ahead, maybe, clear, interesting clouds, a day to shoot pictures. Maybe get in the car and drive somewhere.

Later in the afternoon. I drove over to Berkeley and walked around looking at things. I had a camera, but I might as well have had a brick over my shoulder, no urge to shoot, just watching people on the street and thinking this is not good, this is not good. I've been here too many times, been on this street too many times, seen variations on these people too many times to generate any interest.

I've been thinking about this particular feeling, turning it over warily, poking at it at a distance, a problem that might not have any made in America, lived happily ever after solution. What happens when I'm old and tired and retired and I have every day to myself as I have this day to myself and yesterday to myself and the world out there seems simultaneously bland and edgy? Uncomfortably edgy? I break my solitude going to the office, and that's good, but when the office goes away, what then? Or, perhaps, when the people I know at the office get jobs with other companies and go away as they do from time to time, what then?

I don't think these thoughts are particularly unique, we've all heard them, read them, written them down, dreamed them and eaten them with consternation over dinner. It's just right now, at this very moment, you understand, I'm down here on the matt with these feelings and I'm a little worried. Or depressed. Or something. Are they coming more often these Sunday afternoons and evenings, a product, I assume, of being on my own and isolated for the weekend? I don't really think there's a solution other than to deal with it and find relief where I can.

What's different about right now and my situation back in the late seventies when I left San Francisco and moved on with life to Napa? That worked for a good ten years, making the same mistakes, of course, but in a fresh environment, just as my time here has worked pretty well for seven years. Can another move or change be a solution? Yeah, maybe, we'll see. Not all knotty problems come with answers tied up in a pretty ribbon.

Later still, in the early evening. The weird thoughts and feelings have passed, almost as if they were chemical. The edgy around the edges mood has disappeared. The room is warm, an 8 X 10 print of the banner photograph is coming off the printer and I'm thinking thoughts of the coming summer. Life is strange sometimes, here in Oakland.

The banner photograph of fellow techie MSJ was taken at a going away lunch in Oakland.