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They have better beds on the A ward.


A container ship engine room.

July 29th, 2000

This Silliness
As I walked into work Friday morning there were Xeroxed signs taped along the side of the Oakland Convention Center warning that the second annual three day jazz festival scheduled for this weekend, three days of jazz music in the streets, had been cancelled. Nobody bought tickets to the scheduled indoor events. So much for music in the streets of Oakland. This news, throwing off my weekend plans, probably lowered by resistance, because when I later argued against taking BART over to San Francisco to shoot the last Friday of the month bicycle "Critical Mass", I succumbed to my own arguments. BART during rush hour, even running against the commute, isn't, you know, anybody's flavor of the month. Friday, after a long week, you're looking for something more than punishment. Which is too bad, because once I'd have gotten on the train, I think I would have enjoyed it.

Next week I take a Windows 2000 class in San Francisco. We will be responsible for testing all of the various crap we run on our desktops throughout the company to see that it works with Windows 2000 Professional, Microsoft's baby elephant of an operating system designed for the "corporation". Part of me wants to do this and part of me wants to do something else, anything other than learning another operating system, which version number of this, which version number of that. I'm not good at remembering numbers anymore and although some of this is due to age, some of this is due to who in their right mind wants to deal with this shit? I think people are meant to do things for a while, a few years, a decade, and then move on to something else. Sloth would be my choice if I wasn't sure it wouldn't kill me dead in twelve months. I need some stimulation. I just may not need Windows 2000, amateur, professional or vegetable.

My landlord called today. He asked, since this was (it turned out) the last month of my one year lease, what my plans were, would I be staying on a month by month basis? My question for him, the A maritime academy intern. thought of moving pushing me flat back into my chair, deep seated fears and urges shifting inside for the first time in months, flicking my eyes over the yet unpacked boxes from the last move still sitting in the living room corner, calculating what money I had in savings, asking, finally, what were his plans? For the apartment? He said he'd know in two or three months, that he didn't think he was coming back to Oakland, but he might and he'd do his best if he did to give me 60 days notice. Sixty days notice. Three or four months. Reality over the phone. I remember reality, but I don't keep a regular correspondence. I don't have it for breakfast. I don't pay it attention unless I absolutely must and now absolutely must appears to be looking at me two or three months distant, sixty days prior notice. This is coming, this year, next year, so maybe I'd better think about it.

The problem isn't that I've moved myself into a corner. I do that all the time. You can move yourself out of a corner. Might take time, might take effort, but you can do it. The problem is finding some place you want to go. I look back over my life and realize that I really haven't connected much with anything. I've had some good friends, but no place I've ever called home. Home disappeared somewhere in my teens, maybe earlier. I don't know when, I don't know why. I can't think of any place to which I would like to return. I can think of people I'd like to see again, but none with whom I'd like to take up where things left off. Maybe that's the human condition. Maybe I always thought I'd be dead by now, follow in the tradition of the male line of the family, and there was therefor no reason to worry about it. Sounds like a rationalization. Maybe I didn't think at all. Maybe I'm not thinking now. "Male line of the family". Grow up. What a wuss.

So it's Saturday night (if you haven't already guessed) and I'm having trouble getting to sleep. It happens, always on a weekend, but not often. I had a good day. Not much in the way of photographs, but a good day. I suspect tomorrow will be the same, except I now have to think about the possibility of moving. Yesterday I was finally vested at the company, the last 20% hold back of their matching funds in my 401k and retirement accounts now mine and, if I leave, they leave with me. Do I want to leave? Do I want to find something else in perhaps another city where the rents and commutes are not ridiculous? Start over? Again? What is there about starting over that won't put me exactly where I am now? Nothing. That I know of.

Starting over is a dream. You don't have to move to start over or at least every time I've moved Somewhere on a container ship. somewhere else to start again, I've repeated my routines and ended up lying in bed looking at the ceiling and thinking, well, here I am again. Different bed, different ceiling, same feeling. Feeling pretty good, otherwise, no real aches or pains. Health fine. Feel good in the mornings. But where is it going? The passions of the past no longer have the same ability to move me. That's OK. It's probably natural. Passions change with age and experience. No reason they shouldn't. But where are the passions, if not for the future, then for today, this very evening? Or does the passion for passion ebb and wane? Does it all just feel OK in the end, grinning like an idiot in a chair, some poor soul dabbing the drool from my lips. Maybe just get a good night's sleep, wake up early, do my grocery shopping, get ready for class. Move if I have to, but stay with the job. And quit writing this silliness.

The photographs were taken recently on a container ship in Oakland. The quote under The Sole Proprietor title is anonymous.