February 03, 2008

Selling the car

Today I'm selling my car. Or at least offering it on Craig's List. It's a pretty 1992 Cadillac Deville and I've enjoyed it greatly. Silver-gray with a sparkly silver pinstripe down each side. It fit the image of the older, grayer, thoroughly established juggler/publisher very nicely. (When I picked Millard up from the airport when the Caddi was new he raised an eyebrow and said, "I see Juggling's doing well for you.") My first thought when buying it was to put little UN flags on the front bumper and drive with my headlights flashing continuously.

The new car gets twice the milage and is at least as pretty. A different style, though, but elegant in its way. It's a 2006 Scion xB, in Arctic White. My first thought was to paint it like an Animal Crackers box, like a circus wagon. My second thought was not to.

It too has all the room needed for wife and wheelchair, thanks to Tardis technology. It's bigger on the inside than seems possible from the outside; you sit down in it as if it were a sedan, but you can see over all the other cars, even the other xBs (which I don't understand at all). The ride is exactly like my 1974 Toyota Corolla's was: stiff and precise, and it has the same power as my long-departed MGA. I'll just have to drive more gently when Judith is with me, which will also keep her chair from rattling.

So I was getting the Caddi spiffed up to sell when I got stuck in the carwash lot because I played the radio really really loud while vacuuming it, and the battery died. Waiting for the Better World Club people (so much saner than AAA) to come rescue me, I called home to say I'd be late and not to worry. Judith was writing haiku, and suggested I might pass the time by doing the same.

She shouted and clapped when, in my best dramatic voice, I read the first line to her in my deepest sepulchral voice.

Now, the parking lot
lines delimit mine from thine,
polishing the lines
of my ghost-gray, silvered, car,
only sixteen MPG.

February 02, 2008

It's a wonderful whatever it is.

I began posting to Usenet in 1985 on various newsgroups, but especially in rec.juggling. Almost from the beginning I signed off as =Eric. (The form used to signify an author's name in The Enigma, a magazine I've printed for about twenty of its one hundred-twenty very odd years.)

Usenet and the early listserves, then Yahoo groups, and now Tribe and MySpace (and Facebook, and Google+), have always struck me as performance spaces, where one might strut and preen, share knowledge, spread rumor, enchant children, seduce friends, and tell lies. Just like real life.

It helps to have been a clown, an entertainer, a teacher, and I've been all of those things.

What always surprises me is how many 'net participants don't seem to realize that it is simply a beautiful and boundless playground, where we have the great good fortune to be the children.

Our tools and game pieces are words and ideas and images. We get to wear any costume we can imagine, and to make up all the rules we can enforce (which limits us entirely to rules about our own behavior). And the object of it all is not to score or to win, but to have fun and make it fun for others, too. Just like real life.

That is what it's all about, isn't it?