Life (Some Assembly Required)
I know what I said. I said I’d have a lot of time on my hands while things were “coming together.” I said that I’d probably be posting a lot more because I’d have nothing better to do, and I wasn’t lying. Exactly. I mean, I fully expected that I’d keep up with my voracious audience’s desire to know everything there is to know about me, to detail when I was buying new underwear and from wear, what I was listening to while I bought it and who I was thinking would enjoy that particular style of underwear, but none of that happened (including the purchasing of underwear) because you know what?
Changing one’s life takes a lot of time and energy.
But here I am, in the New Year, taking stock of things and realizing that being alone affords one a much greater chance of lying than not being alone as much.
For example, it’s entirely true that none of my friend’s sites are bookmarked. I rarely look at their pages because, well, I don’t know why, really. It just doesn’t occur to me to, but it does now because Derek and I were sitting here in my apartment in Hayes Valley drinking rather strong vodka-and-cranberry drinks (because although I am well stocked with liquor, I am not well stocked with things to put juices in (AKA pitchers) so Derek was forced to open a container of frozen cranberry juice and attempt to mix a glassful on concentrate at a time with the vodka and it doesn’t work as well that way, no fault of his) and he took control of my computer and attempted to bring up his personal site and made note of the fact that the URL didn’t autocomplete, meaning that I had not been visiting regularly.
Which, I had to admit, I had not been.
Will It Go Round In A Circle?
It’s weird that the Web, as I know it, has come back around to the way it was four years ago. (Almost) All my friends are again updating almost daily, providing links to stuff they’re looking at. The main object of personal sites seems to be this practice, rather than making new and ingenious things to read and play with. The interest in making collaborative sites is waning, but maybe that’s just a phase, too. And you’ll note that I have not given in to temptation and started updating more frequently.
If anything I’m updating less frequently. Like, once a month. If that. Let me assure you that it’s not intentional, but let me also stress that the reason is that I try to refrain doing exactly what I’m doing now, which is writing about the reasons I’m not writing more. Which I think is completely boring—so I’ll stop and get back to where I was before this meander.
So, Derek looked a little hurt by that. Did I know he’d bought a Webcam and pointed it at Sutro Tower? No, I did not. I was not aware of his latest Web Life Update, although I knew other stuff about his Real Life Updates which never make it on the page. And I know I’m probably missing out on a lot of my friend’s Web Life Updates, but I just got out of practice.
Use to be that I collected friends as I collected sites. I’d write someone to tell them something about their site, and they’d write back. Sometimes (often) that was the end of it. But sometimes (less often) the emails would continue for a while and suddenly we were friends, albeit friends who’d never met nor even spoken. I can still remember the first time I spoke to Maggy, and how her voice was higher than I expected. And the first time I spoke with Alexis, which was an extremely long call with me in my apartment in Vermont listening to the trains pass outside trying to hear her over the crashing metal and rumble.
I never write anyone anymore. I rarely answer my own email. I’m lazy as all get out. That’s just got to stop.
What’s The Haps?
So, what exactly has been keeping me too busy to keep this thing updated in any sense?
Well, for one thing, my sleeping habits are all screwed up. I keep drinking coffee really late (like, 10PM) and then I’m up until 3. This, in itself, would not normally be problematic since I am now “self-employed” (those are sarcastimarks) and can lounge about in my sheets until, well, basically I never really have to get up. (Laptop computers! Yeah!) But whenever this happens, when I find myself up at an unGodly hour (meaning even God is asleep for God’s sake) one of three things will inevitably happen:
- The phone will ring at 9:00 AM. I sound groggy and it took over three rings to answer and everyone knows if it takes over three rings, either no one will answer and it’ll go to voicemail or whomever you’re calling was otherwise engaged (on the loo, asleep, having sex). Since I am never having sex (with someone else) and if I were on the toilet I’d just stay there (way too enjoyable to leave, especially in the absence of the sex) so I’ve been awoken. The person always asks “did I wake you up?” and I always answer, “of course not!” If you’re reading this and it has happened to you, I was lying.
- The dog will start barking. Someone in an adjacent building has a dog, and I think it is a new dog, and since it is trying to announce its presence with authority like in Bull Durham, it starts to bark once the owner is gone to work and no longer paying it attention. It will continue barking until the owner gets home. I hate that fucking dog. That probably goes without saying, but I feel better having done.
- Some construction will start somewhere. This takes one of two forms:
- They’re clearing a lot on my block. They’re using a bulldozer and a dumptruck. Each is equipped with one of those back-up beep-beep-beep alarms. A bulldozer does a lot of backing up. This particular bulldozer has that cold that’s going around. Consequently, its beep-beep-beep alarm more closely resembles a beedle-eep-burreep-beep alarm. As if it is dozing bulls under water. Then the dump truck joins it. And I go mad.
- Or, the guy upstairs or in the back starts hammering or sawing or some such nonsense. Things here seem to be in a constant state of renovation. Bang, bang, bang, saw, saw, saw.
Even now, it is 2:12 AM. I am not sleepy. I am doomed. Someone will call tomorrow morning. Guaranteed.
I am also getting hundreds of deliveries. Everyday, FedEx or UPS or Airborne or the U.S. Postal Service buzzes my buzzer and another box from amazon.com or CDNOW or Crate and Barrel or Williams Sonoma or living.com arrives. Or it’s Webvan with groceries, or kozmo with rented DVDs. I have everything delivered, I never go out shopping (except for shoes). It’s wonderful and sick at the same time.
But I always have all these empty boxes cluttering up my insubstantial living space. And my bike is stored outside and I noticed today the gears are starting to gather rust in the constant San Francisco drizzle of winter (Note to self: check out REI to see if they have bike covers). Oh, such problems I face.
Why is so much stuff finding its way to my humble abode? Well, I got several gift certificates for Christmas/birthday this year, and luckily they were all with merchants who have online presences. Shopping was never easier! It’ll all end soon, but in the meantime I can look forward to every afternoon when another box arrives and I can look at it and ask myself, “what the hell is this?”
Everyday is like Christmas!
Only without the Jesus part.
Life Goes On
And, yes, I also work on occasion. It comes in spurts. (Another sexual reference! I think that’s a record.) Sometimes I have nothing to do so I phone up one of the other freelancers and we take in a matinee or have lunch or get drunk in the afternoon. (Not really.)
Other times I’m juggling multiple clients, telling them all “you’re my only priority right now!” and I mean that when I say it, because I’m on the phone with them and it’s only after I hang up that my priority changes. And I’m a complete lunkhead about business. Just a wasteoid. Pixels, colors, coding, that I have cold. Contracts, proposals, invoices… I’m a lost little child in a vast wasteland.
But I’ll make it through. As long as we agree on a price and they send me a check, it’s all good. That is until I have to get all that paperwork together for the accountant I haven’t hired and the lawyer I don’t have to look at the contracts where I signed away all my rights and promised to work for free beyond the initial development period.
January 18, 2000