By lex, on Wed – January 12, 2005
The sun has finally broken through in sunny SoCal. For quite a while there, it was feeling all too much like Seattle, without the coffee. Day after day of rain fell upon the ingrateful and unaccustomed turf, until it seemed like we would all be washed away. But today dawned clear and cool, and it felt wonderful to be in San Diego again.
Had an all day conference at the fleet commander’s headquarters.
It sounds so cool when you say it that way, doesn’t it? “Fleet Commander’s Headquarters.” It feels like maybe Darth Vader is somewhere just around the corner, choking some subordinate admiral to death for his disturbing lack of faith.
Which is maybe truer than it ought to be, but anyway.
Decided to go for a run up by the homestead, rather than driving down to HQ and thrashing about in the vain hope of a knowable distance and warm shower afterwards in that hostile and unfamiliar environment. Which the author can now reveal was a hideous mistake, because the traffic at 0730 is ever so much more monstrous than that at 0630, the time of my normal commute. Tens of thousands of us, steaming at the ears, beating the dashboards with our gnarled fists, shouting at the radio announcer with an anguish that boiled up from deep within our cold and gristled loins. If the flesh-eating zombies in those George Romero movies could drive japing and jabbering through creeping traffic, I’m afraid to say that we’d be essentially indistinguishable.
So. Back to the conference. A bunch of old farts like your humble scribe, trying their best to solve all the world’s problems in an Era of Austerity and Diminished Resources. Like maybe we invented it. Like it hasn’t always been hard.
You know, it’s only now, this very instant, occurred to me that you, oh honest tax payer, have a military run by boomers and manned by Gen X’ers, and Why?-ers. And we boomers, as self-absorbed as ever (did you know we invented sex? And child bearing? And venereal disease? And taxes? And weight gain? And aging? Just wait ’til we get our hands on retirement / social security. You’ve been warned.) have suddenly become the first set of military officers to discover that there isn’t enough money to Do Our Jobs Correctly. Nothing like enough. DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND?!?!?
Anyone want to buy an aircraft carrier? * Slightly used, mostly highway mileage, well maintained. Always garaged.
No. No, I can’t back that last bit up.
So anyway, spent the day mostly chin wagging about stuff like that. Pursed lip chin wagging. Which is exactly as much fun as it sounds.
And then, when it was over? Hurled myself into the highway traffic on the way home, trying to keep up. Which is a lot easier to do, now that the rain has stopped. Because while there are no shortage of SoCal psychopaths who refuse to moderate their driving habits one little bit or leave the house ten minutes earlier during inclement weather, your narrator has reached the point in his life when he has broken all the limbs he ever cares to break. But that’s simply not good enough, because the sociopaths who are looking to have accidents can’t necessarily count on finding other sociopaths at exactly the right time. You, yourself might have to do, in a pinch. Doesn’t matter how you feel about it.
But, made it home. Participated in all the usual domestic obliquities. Asked the Biscuit if she needed any help with her homework. Got the usual, “No, thanks.” And then, moments later, “Dad, can you help me with my math homework?”
God, I hope so.
Stuffing my heart back into my chest, I sat down and played, for the first time in many years, with eighth grade algebra. Found, to my delight, that it was a great deal easier than I had remembered. Discovered, to my profound gratitude, that I could actually be of some use to my eldest daughter. Basked in the very momentary light of adolescent gratitude.
Called to supper, gave thanks and dined heartily. At their request, drove the Biscuit and the Kat to CompUSA. Acted as though it was a bit of an imposition. Fooled absolutely no one.
Embraced my inner geek.
Finished a blog entry. Moments away from snuggling on the couch with my best girl, and maybe watching a movie. Or Law and Order. Whichever.
It’s small stuff. But even so, sometimes I’m afraid I don’t deserve it.
*07-04-18 Link gone. No replacement found – Ed.