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Monday, August 26, 2002

Having not heard from the Boss since last Thursday, I had a pile of notes, messages and memos to fax to him, a pile that was growing by the hour. I knew he was on the road, but I didn't know where he'd ended up. And of course he hadn't checked in with me, so I was left telling people things like "I'll have him call you back as soon as he can," which is not technically a lie but not the whole truth, either.

It's only natural that he'd phone at the least convenient time. I'd just called Mom and asked her to meet me at the mechanic's, because I was dropping off my car. There's nothing wrong with it (other than the front right-turn blinker, which no longer blinks), but the registration is due next month and it has to be smogged first.

Smogged. If my car doesn't pass the smog test, I still have a few weeks to get it corrected. That's why I'm doing it now, instead of waiting until the last minute the way I do with everything else.

As soon as I sent Mom off to meet me at the mechanic's and hung up my phone, it rang again. The Boss, checking in at last. He's camped out at his ex-wife's house in Rohnert Park, about five miles to the south of where I'm sitting at this very moment. There's no danger of having him call on me and catch me napping on company time. He's much too busy and important for that.

I started reading off his messages and going over some questions that I had about a new contract, but I finally had to tell him I was on my way out the door. It only took me another ten minutes or so to get him off the phone. I thought that was pretty good, considering how loose his thinking gets late in the day. Anyway, I still beat Mom to the mechanic's, but I didn't have to wait long for her to give me a ride home.

As we were pulling into my driveway in her ancient Plymouth Sapporo, I thought I saw something shiny at the edge of the road. After she let me out, I walked out to get my mail and found three large pieces of broken glass, window pane thickness, looking as if they'd been driven over a couple of times.

The only mail I had was in a manila envelope just the right size to scoop up the pieces of glass and carry them back to the house for disposal. I bent over in the hot afternoon sun and carefully picked up every shard, shaving and splinter (except for the ones too small to do anything about but bury in the gravel). When I called to check if Mom had made it home her line was already busy, so I knew she had.

So I'm without wheels tonight and most of tomorrow. If I pass the smog test, that's all the time I'll be grounded. And when I get my car back I'll be able to make right turns again. There's an intersection near my house where the city has been putting in a walkway, and it's been monitored by a flagger in recent days. I wondered why the guy always tried to wave me to the left when I was signaling right, until I checked the light and found it not working.

I avoided that intersection until they were finished working there and had moved farther on down the road. When I get my car back, I can drive wherever I want without any further embarrassment. I'm just glad it wasn't a left turn light that went out, or a rear signal. You can sometimes make right turns without anyone paying attention to you, but you're liable to be rear-ended if you try to make a left turn without signaling.

I'm one of those people who hates being behind a driver who doesn't signal a turn. Some of my most colorful language has been reserved for people who don't let me know which way they're planning on steering their thousand-pound piles of tin. And now, for at least the last couple of weeks, I've been one of those idiots. I apologize to all the other Santa Rosa drivers (except the ones who never bother with their own turn signals).


This is some kind of butterfly, I guess.

Impostor is an unpleasant little science fiction flick that I wasted a couple of hours on last night. Too dark, too loud and too violent, it did make me think. It made me wonder, in fact, how such a bad movie could be made with such a good cast. I mean here's Gary Sinise, Tony Shalhoub, Madeleine Stowe, Vincent D'Onofrio — how could everything go so wrong?

One thing, though. It's a whole lot easier to buy into a Big Brother-World Dictator-Orwellian cautionary fantasy like this since September 11, Bush, Ashcroft and Guantanamo. In the movie, the earth is under devastating interplanetary attack and responds by circling the wagons, restricting individual rights and putting its faith in the good intentions of those with the power and the weaponry to defend it.

As implausible as the plot of this movie is, the premise isn't all that far-fetched any more. (If it ever was, I guess.)

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