Monday, December 15, 2003

I have a long solemn post in progress about free will & so forth, but I do not feel at all solemn today, so -- screw it. My first day in my new office. We've been moved from downtown Portland, which I dearly love, to the suburb "city" of Beaverton, which has no downtown -- which is one of those "cities," which, when dug up by alien archeologists, will prove conclusively that automobiles were the dominant species of the planet, since everything here was clearly built for their convenience, and human beings only scuttle through their spaces as timid parasites or grovelling domestic servants.

I went out (driving, of course) to find a restaurant for lunch and promptly got lost, driving down "boulevards" that all looked identical to me, which swerved around in obedience not to any topographical influence, but to some designer's feeble idea that a boring street could be made interesting by waving it gratuitously to and fro. So, since I tend to navigate by the sun or by the mountain (Hood, in this case), and to expect some kind of a grid, I experienced serious disorientations. The setting sun would loom up in the east: Mt Hood would appear, ghostly and white, evidently about where the seashore should have been. Going north on Murray Boulevard I eventually found it dead-ending -- we're talking five lanes here -- in the parking lot of a small carwash, well to the south of where I began.

Upon consulting a map, I discovered that, sure enough, I was actually going south on good old Murray Boulevard, which at least explained how I ended up on the southern side of Beaverton (though it did little to explain why a five lane thoroughfare would suddenly vanish into a carwash. ) I was seriously cowed by now, so I went meekly to a McDonalds, trying to blend in with the natives. There I read the newspaper about the capture of Saddam Hussein, whose end is apparently closely to resemble that of Murray Boulevard, and I tried to generate political feelings or opinions of some sort, but failed. A man in a hole.

And so back to work, where one of my computers threw in the towel, after having tried valiantly all day to make its ethernet connections. This is my good and deserving computer, the UNIX one, the one I named "Lyra" and think of as fondly as I've ever thought of a computer. I'm left with "Fritz," a malign and temperamental Windows machine. All in all this has not been a very inspiring day.

Good night, compadres! Dream sweet dreams.

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