October 11th, 2009

Montecristo Captain Quixote

Third Floor: Doctors, Epidemics, Excursions, Visitations, Cell phones, Quotations, Tires, and Dating

Observations and Quotations

I noticed something Friday morning, when I got to work. I'm one of the few people where I work who backs into the parking space. Most people pull in nose-first and back out. I back in and drive straight out when I leave like only two or three others in the lot. I never thought about why or even noticed that I was in a minority. I wonder why so few back into the spaces. It's six of one and half a dozen of the other, right? If that were the case though, I would expect that half the cars in the lot would be backed-in. I park the car in the garage the same way.

I encountered an interesting quote today:

"The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled."
Shannon Is in da House

Shannon came down for the weekend of the 26th and 27th. Saturday, we were considering going to the beach. Shannon pointed out that she didn't have a swim suit. It surprises many of the natives that people do consider swimming in the Northern California surf without a wet suit. So, we spent much of the afternoon cruising malls and clothing stores, to no avail. All she found were clearance remnants and none of those impressed her, so we came home after about an hour and a half of fruitless shopping. While we were out, she saw me staring staring across the parking lot and I explained I was looking at a woman with a cute shape. She looked around at the people in the general direction I had been looking and says, "The one in the dark outfit."

"Yes," I replied.

"She's five-foot-five, tops," she observed. I just didn't beat her enough as a child....

I have the suspicion that Shannon thinks she herself is "too tall." She doesn't look tall to me, even if that were some sort of flaw, which it most certainly isn't. I pointed out that she was only on the high end of average at 5'9" and she informed me that she'd grown an inch in the past year and that she's now 5'10". That's as tall as my dad. Okay, she's officially grown into the lower end of tall. Shannon is a tall girl. Why are so many tall women sensitive about it? It never seems to stand in the way of fashion models getting dates or their share of male appreciation. It's funny. She compresses herself into such compact shapes when curled up watching movies or sitting and drawing that you don't realize that she's longer than she looks until she stretches out on the floor or the couch. When she's standing up I don't notice because I'm 6'2". Shannon is certainly an irony, because she has such a quiet, non-imposing personality. She's very comfortable to be around. Her sister has always been more of the rambunctious Amazon and yet Jackie is at least half a head shorter.

She rolled out of bed at ten twenty Saturday morning. I heard her rummaging around in her room. For the first fifteen minutes after leaving her bedroom, she didn't say anything at all. This is not a morning person, even if her mood is not particularly vile in the morning. She just felt like being quiet and not talking. She came into my room looking for something and we played an impromptu round of charades so she could explain that she was searching around in my room for a hair scrunchy she misplaced yesterday. Half an hour later she was noshing on cold leftover pizza out of the refrigerator. I usually have to reheat mine these days. I can still hanker for a slice of cold pizza but the mood doesn't strike me as often as it used to do so.

A few minutes earlier than before deciding that breakfast was in order, and after deciding that she was feeling like using her voice, she was regaling me with Death Cab for Cutie: I'll Follow You Into the Dark" and then Great Big Sea: "Ordinary Day." Shannon has a clear, lovely alto voice although she doesn't project as well as she could. Her soft-spoken-ness is a characteristic she's had since she learned to talk. Sometimes I wonder if a little more assertiveness wouldn't be good for her, but then, she's distinctively Shannon, her own person. She is what she will be. I think who she is makes her happy, and that is what is most important. I love listening to her play and sing. Like her artwork, it seems, her guitar work gets better every time she picks it up. She keeps her acoustic steel stringed one that my mom got her here at my house. I'm proud of my daughters for having the discipline and desire to stick with learning a musical instrument. Sometimes, I wonder about how nice it would have been to have stuck with either the piano or saxophone or both, in my own case.
Jackie's Turn: Go Back Three Spaces and Collect Four Tires From the Player on Your Left

I took vacation for the last three days of last month. On Tuesday, the 29th, I went up to get Jackie and bring her down to visit with me. She didn't have school or work on Tuesday or Wednesday, although it was the middle of her week. She's not been having a good time of things. She's under a lot of stress with her school and work. She and Joseph have "cooled off" again. They're still very much in each other's business and "friends" but from what I understand, they're not a couple. I don't think Jackie is taking it very well. I am certain that she is a lot more ready for commitment than he is. They're the same age, but she has more life experience than he does, and I think this bothers him. He also seems like he doesn't know what he wants, from life or from Jackie, which is understandable, at his age, to a certain extent. Jackie can be very demanding. I suspect that she pulls their relationship in directions and to places that Joseph doesn't really want to go, or at least of which he is unsure. I think Jackie's desires for what she wants may cloud her judgment of what she has. It can be difficult to discuss such things with her as she can be sensitive about them, and I have a bad habit of offering my opinion when it hasn't been solicited.

She came down to the house with a pile of laundry and another pile of homework. She started her homework and laundry and then we got hungry. Jackie doesn't really care all that much for fast food, or pizza, for that matter, so we went to Applebee's for dinner. We had a pretty good time and the dinner was good, even though Jackie wasn't interested in finishing hers, despite still being interested in dessert. All told, it was a nice outing and for a very reasonable sum. When we got back though, Jackie developed a case of indigestion, or something. She was also complaining of a headache behind her eye which had been bothering her for some days. She wasn't feeling very good and went to bed early. The next day, she wasn't happy about the amount of work she got done while visiting, but she she seriously hadn't been in any shape to do any more of her homework that evening. On the brighter side, she got a little more finished but still went back to her mom's with some more schoolwork to do and a load or two of her laundry remaining unfinished.

Fortunately, she was feeling a little better by Wednesday, although she was still complaining of the persistent headache behind her left eye. We were going back to Sacramento where I was going to get new tires for her car for her birthday. The alignment was out on the thing and the tires were a wreck waiting to happen when her mother gave/sold the car to her. We got ourselves cleaned up and on the road, stopping at Peets Coffee here in Livermore for coffee before heading out. As is typical for my dear elder daughter, she did some arguing with me about the scheduling and whether we were going to make the tire appointment on time. She can be touchy, definitely a control-conscious person, and frequently high-strung, but she can be reasonable too, and I haven't had too many failures in being able to pet her hackles back down when she gets bristly. To be honest, I am a procrastinator and notoriously bad at schedules, some times. As it turns out, only the tire appointment went off on time, but it ran very long and they had a bit of time on the work on the alignment for the car, which caused her to miss her evening class and me to pay out about twice what I had figured on spending. She was not happy about missing class but I told her she did manage to get about $400 worth of car work and good tires out of the deal and those things really needed to be remedied.
The Bug Factory

I called the ex and the girls today to get an update on what's going on up at her house. According to Crystal, the dreaded H1N1 virus has struck down most of the people in the house. Her two little boys, Colin and Zach, have had it for the past several days and may just now be getting over it. Her husband, Chris, has it. Richard, the house-mate, has had it, and hopefully hasn't passed it onto his immuno-compromised girlfriend. Shannon is either getting over a bout of it, or else coming down with it, they're not certain which, and Jackie may have just gotten over it, which may have had something to do with the headache she was having. According to Jackie, the intractable headache behind her eye evaporated by Friday's doctor appointment and the doctor says that it was probably sinus. The eye doctor she had seen prior to the regular doctor told her it wasn't an eye problem. Crystal's boys appear to be the worst hit. They'd both lost weight, approximately 10% of their body weights, which was very problematical and alarming. The doctor told the ex that they're not even bothering to test anymore because everyone coming in with the symptoms has tested positive for H1N1. I wonder if that is what I had last month on the 10th and 11th. Heh. Assuming I believed in the efficacy of the government's flu vaccinations, they still would lose for being late! Apparently, the vaccines are a week or more away. Oh yeah, politicized medicine — great idea! NOT.

Shannon had previously lost her cell phone in the pool up there, and as of today, Crystal just informed me that she got her a new one, after she had been phone-less for the past couple of weeks. Actually, its a hand-me-down from Chris, but still better than the one she used to have. So, Crystal got a new phone, Chris got a new phone, Jackie got a new phone and now Shannon has a phone again. Jackie really needed a new phone too, because hers was getting old and the battery was in danger of serious failure. It had started to swell up. My girls are hard on phones, as is my ex., whose old phone always managed to disconnect the first time you called and she answered it. I'll bet the phone company loved that feature, getting two calls for every time she was contacted, but it was starting to annoy Crystal.

While talking to Jackie, I found out that the whole menagerie up there, disease pandemic permitting, are going to do the Apple Hill Growers tour up around Camino next weekend and she invited me to go with them. This sounds interesting. I have always been a fan of apple cider. I guess I'm in, as long as the trip stays on.

Patricia, the lady on OkStupid with the nice eyes, wrote me back Thursday, October 1st. Apparently, she's got a really high-powered project going on at her job that has kept her at work insane hours. I really should stop with the doubting myself. I don't write much over there but when I do the results are pretty much positive. I generally get a reply, even from people who are indicated as "replies very selectively" on their information page. I wonder why OkStupid supplies that bit of information — how often someone replies to messages. It doesn't tell you what kind of people have written to the lady previously. Maybe she's merely attracted an unfair share of the mouth-breathers occupying that domain and hasn't felt like indulging them. Does OkStupid supply that information so people won't be surprised or disappointed when someone doesn't write back or do they supply it to encourage everyone to get one of those green marks which means that you reply often to messages? Frankly, I consider "replies very selectively" to be a mark of discriminating tastes and therefore both a value and a challenge. Heh.

I wrote her back on Friday. She didn't say anything back then, although she'd been on line since then and for some stretches of time. That's kind of hard to read. I tend to write more than many other people do, when I am inspired to do so. That's nothing new. When I correspond I write more than most people I know. Crystal used to be able to keep up with me. I have a large cardboard box of our mutual correspondence from the time before we were married. I can converse on a broad array of topics and frequently do, and I am an incorrigible romantic, when I am inspired to be so. So, I hadn't heard anything by Monday, and I felt like dropping her another note, just to say hi and make conversation. That one got answered. Patricia says she doesn't feel a connection between us. Hmm. Well okay. I suspect that Patricia is looking for someone just a bit more "metro" than I am but I can't be sure. As I said before, there weren't a lot of hooks on her page with which to work or pick up a conversation. I don't really know what she's like. As these things go, I don't see how there's a lot of information for someone to "feel a connection" when one is just scanning a profile or exchanging a couple of e-mails. Perhaps its a gestalt thing. I have seen profiles of plenty of people that cause me to decide that I'm not really interested. As I told her, it's quite all right. Darned but she is attractive. Heh. Better luck next time.

On Friday, October 9, I found myself in perhaps the same position as Patricia was with respect to myself. I got an e-mail from someone to whom OkStupid had suggested my humble profile. Her name is Michelle. She's got a long profile, like mine. I don't know, I'm not much moved by her physical attractiveness. She did the Meyers-Briggs test and it says she is an ENFP but her profile and the way she uses her words strikes me as being one of these athletic "S" types I generally don't seek out. What do I know? She might be an interesting conversation. She lives here in town, or more specifically, I think she lives on a ranch around here locally. This is both intriguing and gives me pause. On one hand, the logistics complication factor drops near to zero if we decide to meet somewhere. On the other hand, from what I've read of her profile, our life experiences sound radically different. There doesn't seem to be a lot of common ground there. She seems a little bit eager to meet. I don't know I'm all that eager to meet her yet, or if I will be. I'm not sure I want to get into a tap-dancing game of dodging around the issue in an e-mail exchange or if I should just shut up and answer her note and see where it goes. It's just coffee, after all, if she would like to meet. For all I know, she might decide otherwise after a couple of e-mail exchanges. I'll probably answer her later this evening.