October 16th, 2002

The gentleman is always properly dressed

A propos of nothing

I’ve recently taken to typing with the keyboard on my lap while I’m writing. I fold one leg under the other to create something resembling a flat surface and sometimes lean over the keys as my fingers tap out the thoughts of the day or a quick note to a friend. This is decidedly not good for my posture, and if I’m not careful to get up, walk around, adjust myself, I easily end up with a stiff neck and shoulders. In spite of it, there is something comforting in sitting like this. It makes me feel almost as though I am digging within myself to find my voice, wrenching it out of me. I stand tall when my words are let loose upon the world.

As I type, my eyes light upon things I find pleasing and I let my mind wander.

Here, I stare rapt at the screen, watching my thoughts take form through the symbols on the page. I wonder if I had learned a different symbolic tradition if Roman letters would seem as exotic and elegant as Arabic or Sanskrit do to me now. Is it merely the unfamiliarity of the symbol that makes it beautiful, or is there something inherent in its nature?

People here have reminded me of my love for words.

Here, I watch my fingers, curious at how they seem to act of their own accord (finally.) I never really learned to type properly, and rely instead on muscle memories to guide my digits across keys, to create familiar constructions, to create what you see. I think of the keyboard as real estate for my communication to you and everyone, and my words the structures built upon it. I have built tiny huts and vast cities and peopled them with the strangest of characters.

Dear world, I’m pleased to meet you.
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The gentleman is always properly dressed

Responsible Chewing Pleasure

China recently went through a massive cleanup effort of Tiananmen Square to get rid of chewing gum remains. Laborers spent 18 days cleaning an estimated 600,000 spent wads that were placed in spite of the restrictions in place against the use of the substance.

Yeah, I know that a ban on chewing gum has been criticized as an oppressive social control, but I still applaud their efforts in this realm. It's only fair that I tell you that public gum remnants are one of my pet peeves. I hate walking down the street and seeing the sidewalk spotted with little black circles, every one marking a place where someone spat out a chunk of chewing pleasure sometime over the years. I imagine these rogue chewers lurking, waiting for the right moment to drop their spent wad. Capricious one and all, they revel in the idea that someone walking past after them will have to deal with that sticky mess on their shoe.

(More likely, they are being careless or just plain old lazy, but this is my fantasy.)
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