Communication is the secret to a happy marriage

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Originally posted January 2004

Posted in The Bug



If you read this blog, then you know that I hate cars. Mainly because they have moving parts, and cost an arm and a leg. The weather here today… nice fall days, really nice ones like today, with a sky so blue and foliage so golden, are hard to beat in Austria, let me tell you. I’m sitting here listening to the breeze sussurate through the trees outside at this very moment. Do you like strolling along the sidewalk, kicking through piles of leaves as you go? That sound your feet make kicking through the dry leaves? I love that. And all that fresh air. Despite all that, though, it was all I could do to walk down to the corner store for something to drink at lunchtime, and a bag of tangerines for the skinny receptionist, and a second bag for me, because I figure if you want to be skinny eat what skinny people eat, but also some peanuts because I was hungry for peanuts, and not just sit in my brand new car smelling that new car smell, which is probably carcinogenic but so is toast.

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So, anyway

Got mad at Beta on our drive into town this morning because she asked me why I was doing that, doing what, that thing, what thing, that thing with my hand, moving my hand like that, like what, what hand, that hand, doing this?, no doing that, you’ve done it like ten times or twenty times, doing this?, yeah, hm, maybe it’s a nervous tic no i see now i do it so i can see the speedometer it’s still a new car and i don’t have the steering wheel adjusted right yet, why not, because as i just said it’s a new car and you know what i’m tired of taking shit from people and i don’t like your tone, except i didn’t say the last bit i just sulked. And drove in silence. And noticed how wonderfully beautiful a field full of fog still is in the sunrise and looked briefly for deer before keeping my eyes glued to the road because, new car, that would really suck to slam into someone on only my second trip into town with it and boy do I like this little car.

Later I patted her leg a few times, not too much, I didn’t want to get punched. And I took the long way to work so I could let her out at a spot where she had a faster commute into school, because she has a test today and you figure, can’t hurt to get to school a little early. And I told her I love her even when I get mad at her and she said she knew. And I got to work and did stuff and checked my stats and see Teh Bgu is #1 in a google image search for fatherly love, at least as of this writing, and it was as if life had forgiven me. I cheer up easily, maybe.

My new car is a dark navy blue Mazda 2. I love it very much. I have this CD of some Italian playing Vivaldi on a cello made (the cello) I assume in Venice because that’s where most of the good ones were made; the recording was also made in Venice, which is also where I bought it, on our recent trip there, in ye olde Vivaldi shoppe, and it sounds just perfect in the new car.

I had a dream about Venice a couple nights ago. George Clooney was in it. In fact he starred in the first half, as himself. But first I want to say “hi” to all the Swedish readers who dropped by while I was gone over the weekend; that’s always the way it happens — someone famous links you or something, and you get a spike of traffic, and either you’re gone or tongue-tied when it happens, or your site goes down.

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Notes from the storm

She stands on my feet and looks up at me. I hold her head with my hands where skull meets neck and she leans back and stretches her arms out and grins while we dance. Slowly, just the two of us here in the eye of the storm, for as long as it takes.


First of all, a critique of international organizations: congratulations to the IAEA and its director general for winning the Nobel Peace Prize… Also: what bugs me about the United Nations? The blue marlin is dry, in the cafeteria, although the pasta was okay; and the vending machine? It’s been out of peanut M&Ms for four days now. Four days.

Sitting there at the conference taking notes on a laptop on my lap, I got no reception on the headphone/receiver set that is supposed to receive the simultaneous interpretation and I figured out that was because I was wearing it around my neck, it was too close to the laptop and getting jammed. I moved it away and reception was fine. Which made me realize they’re not calling them notebooks now for nothing. Calling them laptops suggested to users that you should be able to keep them on your laps. Imagine what that field does to your johnson, man. To your poor testicles, toasting all day in that field. And I was sitting like that for a week.

I’ve got some odd electrical field action of my own going on. I burn out lightbulbs a lot. Turn on the light, and blam. Walk under a ceiling lamp, and zzzt. Like Yul Brynner walking down that hallway in Westworld with all the lights going dark.

This would explain all the electrical problems my Fiat had, if I wasn’t convinced it was just a piece of crap. The muffler just went out last night, by the way. Did you know that? When did I have that fixed, just a couple months ago man.

Static electricity. In winter, I get lots of shocks when I try locking the car after getting out after a drive. And Beta, you don’t want to come anywhere near her upon getting out of the car. She inherited it from me. We climb out of the car, we avoid each other for a while.

The radio mouse we have on the computer, it went on the blink again this morning. Beta was home all day from school yesterday because all she had scheduled was an hour of French so she just decided not to go to the trouble and sat home and chatted on the PC or something all day probably. And now the mouse is broken.

“It’s all Beta’s fault,” said Alpha. “She and her electrical field.”

Apparently what Beta’s electrical field does is sap the batteries in the mouse, because I just inserted two new ones and it works again.

Lazy shaman

Someone is going to find this entry through a search engine search for “soul retrieval” or something. Here’s your disclaimer: if you believe anything I say you get what you deserve. That said, I have been looking into soul retrieval and other shamanistic activities. Actually, I’ve long had an interest in this field of esoteric pursuits but recently having been told by a mental health professional that I appear to have lost bits of my soul somewhere and having discovered, through a search engine search that one of the symptoms of this condition is a general feeling of spacedoutedness among other things I had previously attributed to midlife crisis I have begun to take it more seriously.

But you have to be careful with this stuff. You can’t just get out the drum and drum for a while and then go into a trance, grab your spirit animal guide/protector/power animal and start picking up bits of soul here and there. I once went on an out of body trip and stuck my head into whatever you call the zone where all the spirit stuff goes on and whammo all these psychic parasites were on me like Scientology missionaries in the pedestrian shopping zone on a nice summer afternoon. Took me forever to get straightened out from that.

So I leave the drum on the shelf and don’t fuck around with that at all. I don’t hire a shaman somewhere, either, because how do you know who’s genuine and who’s a charlatan, for one thing, and for another I’m just too cheap and above all lazy to try to find one. Half those guys I figure are just in their line of work to get bored forty year old women on spiritual journeys into the sweat lodge, if you know what I mean.

So I do it through sleeping. I do this. Before going to sleep, I think for a while about how nice it would be to have a complete soul once again. If I ever had one. Then I tell my wife to turn off her lamp because she always tells me to turn off my lamp when I’m trying to read and she wants to sleep, and then I fall asleep.

In the morning I wake up and forget anything I might have dreamed, except for a dream about being covered with firebugs under my suit, which later change to orange mites. I run downstairs and write in my journal if there’s time. I make coffee and boil water for tea. I take a shower and go to work after getting dressed. Maybe I drive Beta to her train, maybe we chat a little on the way.

I talk to someone at work. I talk to someone else at the music school. I tell one guy how I’m in this trough. I notice I’m speaking to more people. I notice more people are noticing me.

At the conference, a beautiful woman my age stumbles right in front of where I’m sitting. It makes me feel good to see I’m not the only one who stumbles, and to realize that when you stumble, not everyone laughs and looks down on you for being a klutz, but could theoretically sympathize with you. Because I’m not uncharitable towards the woman, I realize the world isn’t necessarily uncharitable towards me, either. I notice more people noticing me. The distinguished delegate from somewhere (30, female, sort of hot). A platinum blonde 50 year old at the mall. Various people notice me in various ways.

Either more people are noticing me, or I’m noticing more people. It’s like having pieces of my soul back.

magic words

I still catch myself believing in magic words.
Wondering what one could say in a situation to make it good, make it better, optimize it. To make something good again. To fix something. To make someone go away, or come back. Get parents back together, make a kid stop crying.
The closest I’ve ever come is making something spit their drink, maybe once squirt it out their nose, and that had as much to do with timing as with the words themselves.
This idea, where’d it come from.
I don’t just mean something better than, Sorry I hurt you or Where’d my goddamned soul go. I mean, Something really great, Something exactly right.
I still haven’t given up the belief, just the hope, I just don’t think I’ll ever find the right words.
They’re out there, I think, in any given situation. Words to change someone’s beliefs, not just their opinion. Words to change bad into good. Words to make someone quit smoking, or realize they love you, or you realize you don’t need them. Words that change according to the weather and time of day and phase of moon and people involved. Words that might be totally different depending on whether a #32 bus is driving past or a #41 bus or a plane overhead or a bird has a nest in that tree.
Something totally unrelated someone might say accidentally, like Look at that snakeskin or I couldn’t find my other shoes this morning that somehow end up changing someone’s life in a remarkable way.
Words to make you eat less butter, words to make you nice, words to make you sleep.