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Sunday, October 29th, 2006

Freaky Day

The plane pulled into the gate. I turned on my phone, which has auto update on the time, partly out of habit and partly to make sure I had got the change on time zones right on top of the passing of daylight savings. I nervously scanned the faces as I walked into Lindbergh Field out of pure paranoia. This was my first time back in San Diego since I left.

I was almost to the men’s room when the phone beeped. Voice message. John had called, and the message just said to call him as soon as I landed; it was important. John doesn’t exaggerate. I feared the worst. I called him back right away.

“Guess who just called me from a payphone in Kansas City?” he said.



Son-of-a-bitch. We discussed the possibility of whether she knew how to fake caller IDs. I can do it, which means I know how difficult it is. I didn’t think she could do the same, but then, she might have found traces on the home computer. Still, the odds worked out that she actually was in Missouri.

John admitted that he had lost his cool. “Remember the worst chewing out I ever gave you?”

I cringed. “Yeah.”

“Well, I topped that talking to her. Sorry. That hasn’t happened in along time. As soon as I realized that I had lost it, I hung up on her.”

Well, that was probably for the better. If the two of them really got going over the phone, it would probably lead to either bleeding from the ears for both parties, or a cascading shutdown of phone systems on half the continent.

So she traced me to Missouri. That’s not good, but thank the gods for double and triple cutouts. The irony is that at that very minute, I was back in San Diego, at least for an hour or two. And everybody was worried that I would break down and go drive by the place, just to see how things were, and end up sucked back into the morass. I briefly considered stopping by to pick up some things, and maybe hook the computer and phone system back up, but I realized that seeing the kids would probably lead to a breakdown. “That’s not fair to them,” said Mum, “You can’t just stop in and leave again.” She was right. Besides, I still didn’t know if it was a trick. I stuck to the plan.

Almost a hundred klicks later, I got an update. “She’s definitely here,” said John. “I’m going to go meet her at her hotel. Who do you know who drives a white Honda Civic? There’s one here in the parking lot with California plates.” Nada. Who knows? Juan could run the plates for me, but what difference does it make?

I don’t know how that conversation at the hotel played out exactly, but I hope she was convinced of the truth. I wasn’t in Kansas City. Yeah, I was in San Diego today briefly, but I’m not anymore. Not even in California.

This must change things on how I figure the situation. I haven’t had time to consider all the implications, but I always figured that if it came to it, I would just throw a dart at a map of the world and go wherever Chance dictated. I have a passport, and I figure you can get by any place in the world today speaking English until I could pick up the local lingo.

So much for a freaky day. Tomorrow I’m on the road again, moving on. Call it tactical maneuvering.

Posted by Greg as Family & Friends, Posts About Me at 20:49 PST

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Saturday, October 14th, 2006

The Door into Summer

I discovered science fiction in 1974 in fourth grade at the Karingal Primary School in Frankston, Victoria, Australia; soon after I had become such an avid reader that I was searching the shelves of the school library for anything and everything that might prove to be entertaining. I distinctly remember the first book – it was Catseye, by Andre Norton – a hell of a great introduction for the young reader to the genre. It was a natural fit – my fourth grade teacher (damn, I wish I could remember her name) had undertaken to read The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien to us all over the year – and she succeeded.

It didn’t take me long to fall into the grasp of the science fiction classicists. Because my family couldn’t afford to buy a lot of books, a trip to the local library on Saturday every two weeks (the length of the loan time) became a staple of our family life, thanks to the dedication of my mother. I suppose it’s still true today, but when you’re maxing your loan limit on every trip (even if I went through the dozen books in three days or so), it becomes statistically more probable that you’re reading books that had been published 20-30 years ago. So I became well acquainted with the works of Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein, the two granddaddies of a long list that, if I took the time to enumerate, would stifle any chance of me finishing this already drawn-out post.

Although I would later discover that I had mixed feelings about Heinlein and his entirely too-progressive social ideals, thanks to a twelve-grade English paper I set out to write (switched at the last minute to Roger Zelazny), early on I discovered a clear favorite that would endure – The Door into Summer. I’ll spare you the analysis, but a passage that struck an enduring chord in me was when the protagonist, Dan Davis, travels back in time to defeat his nemeses, and for some reason that I forget now, sees fit to draw the teenage girl Ricky, with whom he has some avuncular relationship, out of her girl scout camp and persuades her to leave everything behind in her own best interest. Putting aside the predatory nature of this summary (it seemed to make sense in the book), I was overwhelmed by Davis’ assertion that, in order to be true to oneself, one most be prepared at all times to forgo all worldly possessions and connections if circumstances dictate that doing so is the only way by which one can escape the influence of the manipulators that do not have his or her best interests at heart. (I hope I have presented this summary with the intent of the author.) I strongly remember this assertion as being one of the foundational principles to the most macho parts of my life – the time when I was encouraged to put my body in mortal danger, consider the lengths to which I would go to save to lives of my buddies (or recover their bodies), and, as best as I could, to face the volcano (catch the Firefly reference?) – in short, when I was in the US Army. So, with more elucidation than you could possibly desire, I have established the foundation for an otherwise quirky concept.

Thus we get to the point of my story.

On Sunday, 1 October 2006, my wife kicked me out of the house.

At the time, I was in shorts and a t-shirt, without shoes or wallet, but fortunately, I had some money in my pocket, about US$100. She locked me out of the house, and had just given me the key to the expired-registration truck that I had purchased for her a couple of years ago. Looking back, I would have to say that it was a maneuver on her part to try and make a point that I needed to look at our situation and rededicate myself to making the relationship work; in that instance, I evaluated the situation and decided whether the relationship was worth pursuing. I did not come up with the answer that she was hoping I would arrive at.

I left, and have not come back. Instead, I separated myself from our situation emotionally and geographically. No, I’m not in San Diego anymore. My meatspace coordinates can, at this point, considered to be classified. You may note that comments on my posts have become restricted to registered users – if you really want to comment, I invite you to register. It’s pretty easy.

My few regular readers and the search engines may have noted that my posting has dropped off of late. This is due to the crescendo that was building to this point and its aftermath. I hope to start writing regularly again about the same issues that I advertise in my blog’s subheader – Linux migration, security, corrosion engineering, surviving cancer, website construction, and life – in that order. I don’t see the benefit in publishing a “woe me” account of my travails through domestic separation – but I had to get some of this off my chest. If you are desperate for the other side of the story, my wife has started her own blog. For fans of my technical work, this can only mean that I have more time to dedicate to your issues.

(I can only hope hope that with this post, I have truly earned the appellation that I selected long ago. Ramblings. Be thoust forewarned!)

At this point in my life, just like Petronius the cat, I find myself checking all the doors, looking for the one that leads into summer.

Posted by Greg as Family & Friends, My Website, Posts About Me at 22:47 PST

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