I drove 450 miles today and thought about everything. Money, art, people, et cetera. I mulled over the discussion Android and I had about property. I thought about composing, and what a twit I'd been for exposing my art to my family. What had I expected? As my anonymous friend said, "There's no point, because they're not your audience. They'll only just misinterpret it in their own individual ways."
Halfway down highway five I realized that I'd left most of my cables in Sacramento. Perhaps I'll be able to pick them up soon.
I just spent every minute of the last six days in close contact with four of my old friends. I was startled when I realized how effortlessley the time was passing. Our numbers diluted the intimacy of most of the discussions, and the focused nature of our itinerary kept us in close quarters, ... but it still felt like slipping into a comfortable old shoe. I got to notch the profanity level way way up -- back to normal, actually -- and we riffed off each other all day long.
In general terms, it made me realize how uncomfortable I am, on a basic level, with the deliberate blurring of the line between content and appearence in this modern social climate. Yes, I know the human race is fundamentally wired to confuse content and appearance in many cases. I'm aware that it's useless to decry what I consider an inbuilt flaw. But what I'm talking about here is the deliberate blurring ... especially the deliberate act of choosing appearence over content, as though their nature could be swapped on the basis of preference alone!
In practice, this is tricky, because it tends to perpetuate itself, the way a feedback whine can grow until it drowns out all meaningful sound. If everyone at your company allows a fruitless meeting to pass for paid time, why should you speak up? You earn just as much twirling your pencil as you do taking notes. If your patrons don't care about authenticity in decoration, why not fill the room with fake plastic plants? If your relatives engage in endless gossiping instead of simply addressing grievances directly to their source, how can you ever get ahead with simple honesty? You have to worry, and worry, and worry, about what they might say ... how it might look to them ...
I understand that many people value harmonious human exchanges over authentic ones. I suspect this is encouraged by the demeaning workload of the middle and lower classes ... people who have to serve ice cream, collect tolls, sell magazines, and deliver newscasts ... with a smile and a nod, no matter how rude the reception, no matter how angry and confined they may feel inside, because their paycheck, their survival, is directly linked to their appearance. ... and why not everything else, as well? This ascends the wage scale right up into the corporate politics of the flourescent cube farms we holler like monkeys from.
Perhaps I feel this way because of my engineering background. I've never gotten along very well with management that beats around the bush ... I always feel vaguely irritated by these exchanges, where they first ask me about the weather, then about some irrelevant project to make the appearance of interest, then they tell me some anecdote about squirrels and coal tar, before finally telling me what's broken, and what's next. It was like that at my first real engineering job, in Mountain View. Good god that was bad. I was probably the happiest working for that small company in Santa Cruz, where my boss's entire dialogue with me often went like this: "The headers you generated are good. The perlscript seems to be broken though. Focus on that for now, but before you start, see if you can get the laserjet to come up in appletalk, because I need to print a few things." Perfect! I immediately know what's broken, and what's next!
Current management is good, but the quality seems to taper off in every direction from there. ... his boss, his boss's boss, the other department's bosses ... I feel as though I'm sitting under a beach umbrella with a wine cooler, watching other people wrestle with krakens.
Good lord, I have got to remember to escape from that place. I thought Mountain View was purgatory,... hah! The people around here make Mountain View look like a Conan The Barbarian film.
It may be coming to a close in a few months anyway, though, for me and my boss. We do it for the money, and they're thinking of yanking that carrot back up the string. Somewhat inconvenient for me right now, truth be told. Lord knows I'm gonna get stabbed by the tax man soon.
Stab stab! urgh! Beatings! BEATINGS BEATINGS BEATINGS