Socked In


Now that nobody's flying, we can all experience collective jet lag by screwing with our clocks.  I've had less and less patience with daylight savings time as I've gotten older--it just seems like too much effort for not much gain.  And now the process of going around the house changing clocks I forgot I had seems to have little to recommend it.

It's time for a reframe.  Perhaps we could see this as a twice-yearly ritual that honors and makes conscious the effects of time in our lives by fucking with our internal clocks.  Without daylight savings time, we would live in time without any comprehension of its effects on us--like fish in water, we would not be conscious of the medium in which we all live without this twice-yearly ritual.  We go around the house, setting clocks forward or back like priests fiddling with sacred objects on their altar.  We ..     Oh well, you get the idea.  It does help, a little...

Diana has been down in LA for several days, and I've been staying with her sons Yson and Eson.  A foretaste of what family life will be like when we are married and finally get our house situations figured out.  They are good kids, and I was able to help them get off to school on time and put the frozen food back in the freezer and go buy milk when it ran out, and so on.  The dad thing.  I did it for years, and it's a nice way to live.

Yson's spelling, however, is unbelievable.  He's in 9th grade, and has struggled with spelling since he started school.  It is totally phonetic.  I mean TOTALLY!  I was a terrible speller--I didn't learn to spell until I was in my 20's, and actually wrote one of the early spell check programs to help me correct my spelling.  But Yson is in another league.  He tests in the 93rd percentile in vocabulary, and is quite a bright kid, so what he's trying to say is much more complicated than "run spot run".  But his phonetics don't even get close to the spell checker in MS Word, and homonyms are just totally beyond him.  When you ask him whether the word that he has spelled 'ther' should be 'their' or 'there', he looks at you like a deer in the headlights, and is clueless.  This will be an interesting challenge...

I talked to Diana yesterday, and she managed to find time to buy a wedding dress!  This is a huge relief for both of us, since I expected that she would be checking out every store in San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland before making a decision (with a possible side trip to Sacramento if she thought she could get dresses a little cheaper there...).  So I feel like I (or, more likely, she) has been given a month back.  She sounded very excited and delighted about the dress, which is a burgundy color that she says she will be able to wear for other elegant occasions.  Burgundy is one of my favorite colors, and looks outstanding on her, so I can hardly wait (although we decided to be traditional, so I'll not look at the dress until the wedding...).

The title relates to the current state of my house.  The first storms of the year approach, and I'm so ready for some rain!  East Coast fall is such a nice season--beautiful fall colors, days that are not too warm and not too cold.  In California, it's my least favorite season--I seem to end up with allergies, and everything looks dry and dusty and kind of blah.  So this morning, harbinger of the storms that are on the way, I woke up in the middle of a cloud.  Couldn't even see the street.  Even the bird feeder on the porch a few feet outside my window had its plastic edges softened by the fog.  Somehow, the birds were finding it, though, appearing through the fog like they were pulled from the sleeve of a magician's coat.

And the fog so totally matched the contents of my head--it was almost like I was projecting it.  As I sit here typing, feeling the first growls of hunger, and slowly getting more and more awake, the fog outside has slowly dissipated.  I can see the street, although my neighbor's house is still hidden by it.  Perhaps he is still asleep!

I forced myself up this morning since I'm going to Boston tomorrow, and on Tues. will awake about 4 AM California time, get some breakfast, and then give a technical talk at 6AM.  The very Daylight Savings Time that I reviled above actually will make this a bit easier on me--it will feel a bit more like 5AM and 7AM.  Still, even 7AM is about 6 hours away from my preferred time to give technical talks.  So we shall see, about a job there and about living there.  I'm looking forward to the trip...

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2001 Pete Stevens. All rights reserved.