Just As I Thought

Let’s all go to the lobby

As I sat down in the living room just now with a lovely lunch salad of endive, greens, and radicchio, I realized that when my living room is clean and neat, it feels like a lobby.
Maybe that’s because I’ve been working at home nonstop for the last week, doing freelance for the old job, for Sara, and for other clients. I’ve gotten a lot done — a CD-ROM, 60 DVDs, promotional brochure, pocket folder… it’s starting to become satisfying to finish off a project and move on to the next one, and it’s starting to bring me out of my sit-around-the-house-with-nothing-to-do phase.

A few notes from a California newbie:

  • There are reflectors in the road lane markings here, lots of them. Every time you change a lane or make a turn across other lanes, you begin to think about the possibility that California has a lower average tire life than other states.
  • Despite the fact that this is the tech capital of the world, a large proportion of businesses here don’t accept plastic or electronic payments. For example: the post office counter beside the grocery store: cash or check only. The Subway sandwich shop: cash only. The light rail: cash or tokens only. The Century movie theatres: cash only (and end-of-run movies are $9.50). Pacific Gas & Electric: gotta mail in a check, no e-bills. And yet, you can use your debit card at McDonalds. Weird.
  • I got a new postal box today for my freelance work, and it suddenly hit me: my business address is on Branham Lane, down the street from my grandparent’s old house. I got this weird feeling driving over there today, a little bit of what I felt when I visited them here in San Jose as a kid. It’s a kind of California feeling when the sun is bright and the air is clean and the palm trees are planted in a row; the familiarity of the street signs and the curbs. But it was tempered a bit: I’m no longer a kid, and it’s hard to bring up the same feelings of non-responsibility. My grandfather is no longer with me to drive me to the library, my grandmother is no longer here to make Cream of Wheat for breakfast. I wonder what they would think of me making this drastic change in my life and ending up in their old neighborhood?
  • One of the new habits I’m training myself to do in my new life is flossing. Twice a day. Good for me!
  • People are friendlier here, but I am finding it difficult to give up 38 years of distrust and antisocial behavior. I mumble greetings in my usual way, I avoid eye contact, and I shuffle along like I don’t want anyone to notice me. This may be the next thing on my list of life changes.
  • Since I’ve been here, I’ve abstained from Outback cheese fries. This is not because I am trying to be more healthy, but because the local Outback is too far away.
  • In the same shopping center as the Outback there’s a CompUSA. I think that they are beaming out some kind of super-strong wifi or something: I’ve been to that shopping center 4 times now, and every time my car’s smart entry/start system is disabled. My car has mini transmitters in it that sense the key in my pocket, and open the doors. Doesn’t work there. In fact, the regular push-button remote unlocking doesn’t work, either. I have to fish the emergency key out and unlock the doors manually. This has never happened anywhere else, ever. And the problem persists throughout the parking lot, not just in one spot. The other day I got my hair cut there, at the far end of the lot by the street. Still couldn’t unlock the car.
  • I’m still waiting for an earthquake. Sounds morbid, really, and I probably will come to realize it’s nothing worth wishing for. But to think that the one earthquake I’ve experienced was back home in Virginia is a little odd, isn’t it?
  • Can you tell that it’s Friday afternoon, I’m all alone with no one to talk to, and the first weekend of summer is here?
  • I was going to go see Bewitched with Jann today, but he took off to his in-laws for the weekend. Then I read the review this morning, and figured that I might wait for it to come on cable. After all, movies are about $10 here, so they’d better be good. And people wonder why movie revenues are in the toilet.

Okay, time to go back to work. I’ll be back down to the lobby in a few hours.


  • Actually Grandma would be worried sick so we’d all have a big, over-hyped pow wow and decide not to tell her, but Grandpa on the other hand would be saying ” ’bout time.”
    I told my wife about the flossing (she’s a dental hygienist) and she’s tickled pink. Ironic since you’re gums are probably secreting a pink substance after your done flossing- flossing, until your gums get used to it, really tears you up. But trust me, the end justifies to path. BTW, she says you really only need to floss once a day- at night. So, if you miss one day don’t sweat it.
    One thing I’d suggest trying is to get in a little exercise. Even if it’s just a brisk walk in the evening, a few times a night, feeling healthy (and looking better for it) does wonders for one’s self.

    ..and if you’re wondering, we’re all very proud of you.

  • Life in Seattle is 100% debet card. I can’t remember the last time I carried cash.

    I won’t spend $10 bucks to see a movie and $12 for popcorn.

    And trust me on this one (I’m from Alaska) you don’t want to wait for a quake.

    Just once, lift your chin up, looksmeone in the eye, smile and say “good morning”

    And Grandma would be proud.

  • Actually PGE does have e-bills – that’s how I pay.

    As for the reflectors in the road, I hear they’re horrible for motorcyclists.

    Also, it is the excuse for CA not to have any lighting on roads like 280. Look out for deer with your own headlights!

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