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Wednesday, January 14, 2004

As I sat in the coffee shop this morning, gazing absently out the window at the raindrops falling on the patio, I was trying not to overhear the pretentious pseudointellectual conversation of the young couple across the room from me. They were comparing life in various big cities — Boston, L.A., New York.

Somehow they decided that San Franciscans don't know how bad they have it, because in other places you can get around town without a car. This is apparently one of the qualities required for a city to be considered "great."

As you can tell, I wasn't trying hard enough not to overhear. They weren't the only other people in the room, just the only ones talking loudly enough for their voices to carry and penetrate and stick to the inside of my brain. I mean, I was thinking some pretty deep thoughts myself. I was wondering what I was going to watch on TV at 9:00 pm tonight.

Then I heard the guy pronounce the words "soulless suburbs." For a fraction of a second (a googolth of a second, to be precise), I nodded (in my mind; I didn't actually move my head) in agreement, or at least comprehension. Yeah, sez I, soulless suburbs. That's what I moved out into the country to get away from, right?

Well, no, not exactly. I can't call the people I shared my life in the city with anything like "soulless." There were interesting stories behind every door, and everyone there had at least as much of a soul as I did. There's a whole world of complex, interconnected lives, and each individual has something to add to the fabric and texture of humanity. Soulless, indeed!

14 January 2004

Is that a break I see in the clouds?

So obviously, I'm just as judgmental as those people in the coffee shop. But at least I'm thinking about my judgment of them, and reconsidering it, and not trying to impress anybody. (Well, you, but not anybody else.) I'm glad I wasn't listening to them, or they might have noticed that I heard everything they said.

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Today's cooking lesson: Don't boil eggs during the day, in case the phone rings and you get busy and forget you have eggs boiling on the stove. Here's what happens: A little later on you hear a cracking sound coming from the kitchen, and you smell something like burned eggs and you go in and see that there's no longer any water in the pan. Just burned, cracked eggs. That's why I do most of my cooking at night.

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Rays of Light
"I have an appointment to look at the car of my dreams tomorrow afternoon. If it turns out not to be the car of my dreams, please disregard all this rhapsodizing."

Two years ago: Inconvenienced
"And why am I suddenly so agreeable? Because now he owes me a favor, that's why. My generosity of spirit comes with a price."

Three years ago: Musical Barriers
"The music scene is so fragmented that one group never gets to hear what another group is listening to. Everything must be categorized, pigeonholed, marginalized."

Four years ago: Princess Mononoke
"While I'm no fan of the lightweight collection of major (or at least well-known) presidential candidates, I don't think that whether or not they managed to 'avoid' service in Vietnam should be an issue in the election."

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Trying to learn from what's behind you
And never knowing what's in store
Makes each day a constant battle
Just to stay between the shores.