As I drove in to work this morning, early (around 6AM) since this was a work-out day, I snapped on the radio (as is my custom) to hear the news on NPR. But it's subscriber-campaign contribution-begging time, so I switched over to the college station KFJC. The tapes of Jack Kerouac's readings were being played! This was delightful - Jack's rapid voice telling tales of Neal Cassady and his childhood in Denver, and then about both of them goofing around LA's Union Station. Hearing him is a humbling experience for any would-be writer - how can you top that? Why bother trying? I drove past an area of highway construction, blinking yellow lights atop the Jersey barriers, and thought how that scene would've appeared different back when Jack & Neal were driving around. Before those winking yellow lights, with their attached battery modules, temporary highway hazards were marked with these dark, spherical objects with a small flame burning at the top - crude oil or kerosene torches. Their usage faded in the 1960s, replaced by the now-familiar yellow blinkers. First I called them "bombs", since they resembled the kind I saw in the hands of cartoon characters (or in old illustrations of Anarchists). Later I called them "smudge pots" since I heard that term on the radio, in news reports from the South during wintertime cold snaps.
At work, shipping away the desirable computer (with its Photoshop software) has been delayed until Monday, so I do get this final weekend to play around with it, after all. The two new people they put in our office-trailer have worked out very well, the result being an all-too-familiar pattern in my career. At any job there's the focused, competent people who either have no outside interests, or they suppress them while working - these are the ideal, dedicated worker-bees. And there's also people like me, with a wide variety of exterior fascinations, and practically no interest in the specific job (unless the boss is watching). In order to keep the position, and to make the all-important good impression early on, I resist discussion about anything but the task at hand with co-workers, even at opportunities during the permitted "water-cooler" (or worse, the dreaded extra-curricular) activities. This leads to my acquisition of a rather "cold" reputation - until, as inevitably happens over time, people get to really know me. Once I open up, working becomes difficult because we'd all rather chatter away about what's really interesting. So lively discussion ensues until a management presence makes itself known, and we all get back to work, with only slight, easily overcome feelings of guilt. This is what happened today, and the only management presence was my coworker-supervisor, who's generally indifferent and apathetic. Everything changes at the end of next week when we begin moving to the new building - these new two will be in a different office.
The issue I'm been skirting around here is that old Theory X and Theory Y thing. I remember a talk with my older brother H about how hardly anybody is really into his job, how we all just act enthusiastic about them, as necessary. Granted, there are some interesting careers, but not hardly enough to go around, and even people who truly love their work (for which they have a matching aptitude) have off days.
Fatherland count clock is T-minus 25 days and counting. The itinerary is for flights to and from Düsseldorf via Chicago, with an immediate round-trip buzz up to Amsterdam and back, followed by a leisurely south-westerly transit of Germany with stops in Würzburg, München and smaller towns, then into Austria for Innsbruck either before or after the Slovenian adventure. Then back across Austria into Switzerland with a possible stop in Liechtenstein. Finally the mad dash back to D-dorf, where United (Rising) has advised me the flight back's time has been slipped several hours so instead of arriving at a reasonable time it'll be late evening of a very long day. That'll help getting over jet-lag, however - bed-time delayed until the destination-nominal.
KFJC - 89.7 Foothill College, Los Altos Hills
LA - Los Angeles
NPR - National Public Radio
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