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Friday, October 11, 2002

Operation Overload

B-Day, aka Operation Overload, came off smoothly the other day. Its high point was when the man at the U-Haul place chose to take my California license over Niles's Texas one because, as he said to me, "You look like you're over eighteen."

This comes perilously close to lack of tact. Southern gentlemen just aren't what they were. But forget that. Niles hasn't been eighteen for twenty years. Ye gods, I've known him for sixteen years, and he was a grown man when we met. But it's true that he does look youthful. He's been on scientific review panels where the fate of millions (of dollars) is decided. Once, after a hard day's fund allocation, he went with a group to a restaurant where he was carded when he tried to order a drink. His colleagues, needless to say, were most amused.

I think he bathes in the blood of undergraduates.

More than once I've been mistaken for his mother. Fortunately, the dire humiliation of these incidents is overshadowed by their comic potential. Whenever this mistake is made I'm always tempted to beam with maternal pride, then put a lip-lock on him. Right now, the apparent difference in our ages is just slightly embarrassing/amusing. People must wonder if he's my toy boy. If this keeps up for another twenty years, though, and Niles continues to look eighteen while I age like a normal person (or perhaps faster), it's going to start looking downright creepy. "Come give yer ol' Granny a smooch, ya little studmuffin." Aaiiieeeee!

As for the actual box part, that was OK. They managed not to lose any, and only one box was broken open, and another cut open. Fortunately the weather was cool---only 80 degrees on Tuesday---so that wrestling with the boxes did not cause heat stroke. When I left California we drove the last 30 hours or so without sleeping, and immediately had to unload most of the stuff into the storage unit. It hit 100 in Houston that day, and I began to exhibit signs of hyperthermia. Niles had never had it, and thought I was faking. "Cold? What do you mean, you're cold? How the hell can you be cold?"

Once again I wonder where did all this crap come from. I bought hardly anything in Australia, for a variety of reasons. Where did I get all this junk?

"How did I get all this crap, Niles? Why do I have to have this crap? I should've just dropped it in Coogee Bay."

"Well, it couldn't have been like the other day, when we passed a Book fair. 'Oh, look! Book fair! Book fair!' And then all the books jump on you and beg you to take them home. 'Love us! Buy us!' They never say, 'I'm heavy and boring and will never get read!' No, they say, 'We're books! Buy us! Buy us! Buy! Buy! Buy!' "

There was a long pause.

"Maybe I should just let you write my blog from now on."

This is so true. I've had books gang up on me---twenty, thirty at a time, at the Silicon Valley library sales. They ambush me and drag me to the sale table. One gets out my wallet and pays, and then they force me at page-point into the car. The sale people, of course, pretend not to notice (they're trying to get rid of the little thugs, after all). Then they'd make me dust them, and buy shelves for them, so that my apartment was made up almost entirely of book shelves. Horrible.

Man, I wish I lived in Silicon Valley again.