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Sunday, August 31, 2003

The Boss thinks we should get together more often. Today was the first time I've seen him in about a year, so maybe he's right. Not for the reasons he thinks, though. It's not because we need to meet face to face just to keep the business going. In fact, maybe it's better if we don't. The less scrutiny I get, the better I can do my job.

When someone has nearly total control over a large part of your life, it's probably better to see him often enough to remind yourself of what he isn't. God. A wizard. A rock star. Your daddy. (Or your grandpa.) He's not an ogre and he's not a clown. He's just a man, getting a year older every twelve months, just like you. And just like me.

That's funny because I was so nervous this morning I wasn't sure I was going to get a chance to see him at all. I had no reason to be afraid. We have a good relationship, and it's even better from his point of view than it is from mine. I believe it's part of my job description to keep things that way, to make sure he doesn't see the creases and cracks unless it's absolutely necessary. So I shouldn't have had that sick cramped feeling in my stomach while I was trying to get ready to leave.

It happens every time I'm going somewhere I haven't been lately or meeting someone I haven't seen for a while. It has nothing to do with the Boss, specifically.

He phoned this morning as I was walking out the door to meet him. He'd bought a new fax machine and wanted to test it. He faxed me a pencil drawing and asked me to bring it with me. I waited for the fax to print and then raced out the door before something else could make me late.

It was a good thing I got a kind of early start, too, because as usual I missed a turn-off, got in the wrong lane, drove past the entrance to the restaurant, and ended up going several miles in the wrong direction before I could find a place to turn around. As usual? Yes, that happens every time I'm going somewhere new, also.

I did get there a few minutes before he did, but I waited in the car because the restaurant was closed. We'd managed to choose the only place in town that wasn't open for breakfast on Sunday. We made use of their parking lot anyway. He left his truck and I gave him a ride in my "new" car (which I've had since January but which he'd never seen).

As we drove along, I pointed out several places that were open, but he said, "We don't want to go there. We want someplace fun." When he did see a place he liked, I couldn't find the way in. I had to make a U-turn in the middle of the street and then go all the way around the block before I found a driveway which didn't quite connect to the restaurant directly.

Eventually I found my way through the maze and discovered the arrow that pointed to the restaurant parking lot. The worst part of all this was that I had to do all my swearing under my breath. I wouldn't want to blow my super-cool image in front of the Boss. (You know I'm not that cool, but he doesn't.)

All I wanted was a place that would start pouring coffee and not stop until I started twitching. And despite my earlier stomach problems, I was able to eat all the French toast they could pile up in front of me. I don't eat breakfast, but if I'm going to get up early on a Sunday morning, there might as well be some kind of reward involved.

I started getting nervous again after we finished eating. He wanted to sit and talk, and all I could think about was the fact that the tables all around us were filling up and soon the restaurant would have nowhere to put any more customers. He was yammering on about this and that; I stopped paying close attention after we'd finished the business we came for.

I thought we'd never leave, and I really wanted to get out of there. All that coffee.

31 August 2003

The roses, inside the fence.

It was a good meeting and I'm glad it's over. He quizzed me about the cash flow situation, and I nagged him about messages he keeps forgetting to answer. It wasn't anything we couldn't have handled in a long-distance phone call. In another few days he'll be far enough away to burn the phone and fax lines as always.

He says he wants us to meet more often, but even though he's in this area eight to ten times a year, he always has something more important to do. It's hard for him to take time out for something as low on his priority list as I am. That's okay with me. I'll make the sacrifice.

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There are some wonderful moments and some stirring performances in Nicholas Nickleby, but the title character isn't among Dickens' more interesting creations. But the friends he accumulates on his journey through life are fun, but the villains of the piece, suitably nasty and hateful, evoke the strongest emotions. If there's a more evil person on film than Mrs. Squeers as portrayed by Juliet Stevenson, I don't think I want to see that movie. On the other hand, Jamie Bell is beautifully chilling as Smike, the character whose spirit drives the narrative. This is a worthy adaptation of Dickens.

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Watch Your Step
"I usually know what's going to happen next, but if you can't step on a curb without having your life turned upside down, who knows what other realities you can no longer believe in."

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