Saturday 13 May 2000


Pic of the day: Yes, it is rather small, isn't it?

Windows of opportunity

OK. That's it. I'm changing the index page picture, as of today. It was almost a year old, anyway. I'm not a compulsory changer of webpages: Once they work, I generally don't fix them. But I have had one complaint about the old mosaic picture (namely the handgun) and after today I wish to be rid of the pic where I crawl in through the window too. I don't want people to think this is a habit, that I spend much of my time in windows.

I've said this before: Posting something on the Internet is like posting it in the local newspaper in the next to closest town. Not the closest one where you live, the paper which all your neighbors and family read. No, not quite that. Far enough away that you feel reasonably anonymous. And close enough that sooner or later it will all come back to your mother. Someone has seen it who knows someone whose aunt is a friend of someone's teacher. You know. Eventually, it all comes home. And when it comes home to the neighbors, I don't want them to think this is some kind of deviant fetish of mine.

(Incidentally, the neighbors that lived across from that window three years ago have moved away, not that I claim any responsibility for that, and a new family has moved in. They have a hairy mass of a dog.)


And anyway, what would you have done? I bet you usually have someone to open up from the inside if you ring the bell. I don't, you know. That really explains it all, doesn't it? If you come home and you can't possibly find your keys anywhere on your person, no worry. Just ring the bell, or wait till the spouse / parent / child / partner / roomie comes home to roost. No worry. Just sit down and watch the grass grow. Do you expect me to just sit down and wait for the miracle to happen, while my groceries spoil in the hottest day so far and my body is baked like bread in a coke black joggie? I bet you would. Sing along, all: "Waiting for the miracle to happen ..." Yeah. Right.

And it's not like I don't learn from experience, even when that experience is three or four years old. (I think ... I didn't have a diary back then.) And it's not like I don't listen to good advice. In fact, as I retraced my steps for the third time, along a path devoid of keys, I vividly remember my beautiful coworker (this isn't exactly revealing anyone's identity, at my workplace) telling me that I should have asked the neighbor for help before trying to enter the tiny shoulder-height window. Being a loyal fan of logic, I have no problem agreeing with her. So I thought about this as I very slowly wandered the steep path yet again.


I don't feel like telling you a story, though I could. Being me, I could probably write a short novel just about this one day. But I don't feel like it. It's not like anything bad happened. Just a minor self-inflicted humiliation. And it's not like I don't need to be more humble. You know me. "The world's only..." Perhaps another day, then. Perhaps not. But that picture is gone.

I don't feel so well this evening. It doesn't hurt. I just feel ... shaken. Profoundly disturbed. For a short while, my self image - my too glorious self image - wavers. I feel weak, stupid and pitiful. Not that I particularly want y'all to write and agree with me. I'd really need someone to tell me that I'm good enough. But there is no one, and anyway it would be a lie. Just another lie.

It's like a window of opportunity is closed and I'm on the wrong side.


I said to God: "You don't really do that, do you?" I was bathing my forehead repeatedly in ice cold water with my right hand. The room steadied. "You don't really torture people for eternity? I know they say that about you, but that would be morally inferior! You warned them that they would die, not that they would be tortured forever. It would not be fair. I don't believe that about you."

It was later in the day, nearly sunset. A wave of dizziness had assailed me, and I barely remember how I arrived at the bathroom. When I returned, I was half surprised to see that I had hung up the cap that had been on the floor. I can't say I remember taking the time to do that. All I thought was that this might be the end of it.

Even if that parable about the rich man and Lazarus is just that - a parable - there is still this disturbing knowledge that I am the rich man. It may not look like it, checking my bank account. (Found some more bills today, but small.) But presumably barely even kings in AD 30 had the standard of living we have today. "Remember, my son, that you got the good things during your lifetime." That certainly applies to me.

"It would be fair to punish people who do evil" I conceded, "but not for a very long time when they only lived so briefly." We do that, you know, live briefly. I thought 80 years was a lot of time. Now I've spent half that, and even in the extremely lucky case that I got as long again, it would still be just a passing through. A brief window of opportunity.


Earlier in the day, Windows hung up on me. (While I was playing The Sims, if you must know. Mette had just grown from a baby to a child. Did you know that the personality, and the hair color, are determined at the time of that transition? Not when the baby cradle arrives. Uh, this applies ONLY to Sims. Don't worry, young parents.) Anyway, I decided to write in my Diary and deride Microsoft for the rudeness of the message when I restarted. It tells me basically that this is what happens when I don't close Windows correctly, and next time use the Start menu. As if I wanted to have to reboot it. Instead, I thought, it should present a message like "We abjectly apologize for the inconvenience caused by this reboot. Please have mercy and don't switch to another operating system. We'll really try to do better in the future."

That was earlier in the day. I could have reminded myself that I'm not perfect either. And that I'm in fact not the Humblest Man on the Net. I could have humbled myself in my own thoughts, alone, unseen and unknown by anyone. Then perhaps there would not be the need for a more explicit humiliation. As the Christian dogma says: "If we judged ourselves, we would not be judged." Not that this was, like, Judgement Day. Rather ...
Windows(R) of opportunity.

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