Wish List

23 November 2001

It still feels a bit early for this kind of thing, but it's the day after Thanksgiving, so many people will be out shopping. So I thought I'd give you guys a wish list. I didn't want to guilt-trip anybody, though, so it's all stuff you can't do anything about.

1) I wish for new inventions for cars in California. I think little blinky lights that indicate when you want to change lanes or turn would be a good start, and also lights on the front of the car that can go on when it's raining, lighting your path and indicating to other cars that you're present. I know it'll be hard to get all the cars I see adjusted to these newfangled contraptions, since a good 60% of them have neither just now. But many good things take a long time.

2) I wish for ASL lessons for the old woman behind me at the grocery store, who was obviously a mute who didn't know sign language, otherwise she would have apologized in some fashion when she rammed my butt with her cart, twice, for no reason at all. Actually, I wish for communication lessons for everyone who behaves badly and doesn't apologize.

3) I wish for music education for radio request show callers. It can be localized music education, that's all right. But I never again want to hear, "Um, can you play 'Chocolate' by Melissa Morisette?" when the caller wants to hear "Ice Cream" by Sarah McLachlan. (Melissa Morisette. Isn't that a scary pairing.) Actually, this one extends, too: I wish that more people would know what they were asking for, lest they get it.

4) I wish for three or four book deals. I was going to wish for one, but as long as I'm starting big with the car lighting thing, I might as well be honest about what I really want. I have two books that are the beginning of a series of four, I have one entirely finished book, and I have a work in progress. But six book deals just sounds greedy; I'll wish for three or four.

5) I wish for the ability to write a poem. Not poems, just the one whose idea I got yesterday, because it's very cool. But I don't write poems.

6) I wish for ribs that don't hurt. Also, I wish muscles on the other side of my chest that don't hurt due to compensating for the gimpy side. Also, I wish for a way to express this stuff without feeling like a whiner. Also, I wish for a way to deal effectively with aching muscles that are located under breasts.

7) I wish for a new back for Timprov, and for me while we're at it. He said, "Your readers were so good with the tapas question -- you should ask them where to get a new back." I think that's a higher order problem, though. Santa Claus...? (If S.C. knows whether we've been bad or good, has he read our journals to find out?)

8) I wish for a cushy, happy professorship for Mark. In a sane and comfortable location. So that next year I can wish for a puppy, because that's what I really want, on my "honest and for true, stuff you can actually act on" wish list. Just not in this apartment.

9) I wish all of my friends and family members would not have bosses who were great big jerks. I can't say who here, but there are at least two who are close family members whose bosses need a visit from the Cut It Out fairy. I imagine the Cut It Out fairy as a burly guy, about 6'2", hasn't shaved in awhile, who has tiny paper wings taped to the back of his holey T-shirt and runs around smacking people with his magic 2x4 of Cluedness. Maaagic. Really.

10) I wish that people would stop assuming that everyone has the same response to any given tragedy, whether it's a tornado, the loss of a family member, or suicidal zealots crashing planes into buildings. Everybody can agree that an event is sad; that doesn't mean that political perspectives are going to snap into lockstep as regards that tragedy. Nor should they. We're not all alike, and hooray for that. That should go in yesterday's entry.

I think ten is enough. Oh, and speaking of yesterday's entry, I lied. Can you ever trust me again? I'm really sorry. Thing is, I said we wouldn't be eating turkey this weekend. And for appropriate definitions of "we," that's true. Unfortunately, that would be the ones that don't include me. See, my great-aunt called and invited us up for turkey leftovers tonight. I was hoping we could hang out with her and Uncle Rudy and the godfathahs at a nice restaurant or something. But Aunt Doris is half personality and half force of nature, so turkey leftovers it is, for Mark and me.

Thanksgiving dinner was small and quiet and nice. Timprov's apple sludge turned out well, and it was really the only experiment of the night. The lefse was subpar, but Daniel loved it. The rest of us were a bit surprised. He asked where I got it, and then said, "I never ordered bread over the internet before." Well, no, but it's not really the same thing. Ah well. Next year I won't order this kind, but it held us for the holiday.

Here's me and Mark.

Here's Timprov and me and Mark.

And this is Mark with Daniel. Daniel is a really nice guy. It was funny, though -- we were talking as I was clearing the table, and I was giving him the thumbnail sketch of how long we'd lived here and what we were doing before that. Which involved mentioning that I'd been in grad school and why I'd quit. I told him my standard brief complaint with UCD: "We spent a week on combinations and permutations in my Math Methods class! In grad school! For physics!" And he was with me, he was nodding and listening, and then he stopped. "You were in grad school for physics?" I said yes, and went on putting things into tupperware.

A few minutes later, he asked me, "Why did you get your degree in physics?" I said, "I love physics!" He said, "I know, but you seem so...." And then he just waved his hands. Tried to encompass me, all the books in the living room, the book manuscript that migrates around the house until a new manuscript comes along. I know. I know how all of that looks, and it's how things really are with me now. But -- it's like if someone said to me, "You're from Nebraska, really? Wow. I never would have guessed." We're not planning to move back to Nebraska. But it's still a part of me, and it's always going to be a part of who I am. I feel that way about physics, too.

I think it's easier for people who are part of the SF community to go with the idea of a physics degree preparing me to write books. As a result, few of the people I've run into lately have been at all surprised by my physics background. But I know that's not the way the outside world is likely to see it. It'll come up again. Ah well; it's good to be able to surprise people. I do feel like things have been turned upside down, though: it used to be that the physics part being the known and the writing being a surprise (though not a big surprise to anyone paying attention).

I read some Nabokov yesterday, borrowed from David, and it was, well, it was well-done. I never once cared about any of the characters, but the sentences were very nice. I switched to Wodehouse. If there's anything that will cancel out with Nabokov, I think it's Wodehouse. I will come out of the late part of this week as if I had read nothing. Well, not really. Just stylistically. The one I'm reading now is The World of Jeeves, a short story omnibus. The author has recommended in his foreword that one not read the whole thing at once; we'll see if I listen to him.

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