Content-type: text/html Ray Manning

Tuesday, July 24, 2000 7:27 AM

Why Do These Things Keep Happening?

I get home on Thursday afternoon to find Nopesterini having another party with some of his dog friends. The usual dogs are there - Alex from Stroh's (who brought the beer), Spuds Mackenzie, Buck Bundy (who brought the fish sticks and tater tots), some neighborhood dogs, and some backwater bitches that Nopesterini found down by the LA River. They are having a party to celebrate Taco Bell dumping the Chihuahua from their advertising campaign. (See story at the cnn news site at Rin Tin Tin and Lassie have already been thrown out of the party because they kept second-quessing whether it was okay to drink, smoke cigars, and watch doggie porn. ("They're such goodie two shoes!") I tell Nopesterini that I am going out for a bicycle ride and that his friends had better be gone and the house cleaned up before I get back. He complies.

The bicycle ride is uneventfull though there was a relentless headwind the entire way home that makes me work fairly hard. I step off the bicycle and feel the endorphins start to kick in. There's something about good hard work and NOT drinking that gets the endorphins going! I stumble around the house for a while as I take a shower and then stumble around Vons as I do some shopping - the endorphins doing their best to upset any sense of stability or caring in my life.

The notebook computer is packed up and I head for a coffeehouse. I make progress again on the cellular automata decomposition. Oh when is this effort going to come to fruition?

Friday, after realizing at work that I will be in charge of EOS all next week (Dushko having left for Astrolink and Garrett being on vacation), I go home and lift weights to relieve stress. And edge, mow, trim, and water the lawn. And take a shower and head for the Frat House.

The night starts out slow as people are late to arrive. But then things start building to a crescendo fever. My is back. Not giving up because he doesn't know the CPT Theorem, he tries in spanish to win my heart over. (I think about sticking to the tau neutrino or speed of light discussion, but decide to pursue other deterrant strategies.) I keep up with the conversation better than I thought that I would. I even keep up with the conversation when he is telling me what he wants to do to me and what he wants me to do to him. I have to repeat it about quince times (15 times), but I convey that I am just here to listen to music, that my life is emotionally chaotic (How do you say chaotic in spanish? - The best that I can come up with anarchisto), and that I have no room in my current life for a relationship (even for a few hours).

With that said, I am sitting on the outside patio wall (really just a concrete planter that people go outside to sit on to cool down) when Sabrina, the HVAC, and the desired introductee come outside. (Recall that I asked Sabrina for an introduction a few weeks ago and the introduction was postponed because of a current relationship.) The relationship appears to be over with. Sabrina sits down very close to me - almost touching me. And pushes the introductee to sit between us - in a space as wide as a photon. He complies and now we are packed in tight together. The introduction is made and we make idle chit chat for a few minutes. I feel myself melting rapidly from his smile - the only thing that matters. Until, with my cell phone set on both ring and vibrate, we are interrupted by my phone ringing. (There is no way that I could hear the phone ring when I am inside, so I have it set to both ring and vibrate.) Alex, the introductee, is startled and jumps up quickly when his leg is being vibrated - thinking, well, who knows what he is thinking! I reach over to pull the phone out of my pocket and Sabrina and I are still packed in so tightly that I accidentally reach into her pocket. Well, seeing that she is wearing a becoming silver and red wrap, I reach into where her pocket would be. And now she jumps up and lets out a brief "Oh sweetheart" scream. And it certainly was not a cell phone that I accidentally grabbed hold of. When I finally pull the cell phone out, they have a quick giggle and go back into the club.

On the phone are Mom and Dad - the people that I babysit for. They have had their salsa dancing cancelled and have used their annual Disneyland pass to go to Disneyland. Seeing that the Frat House is on the way home from Disneyland to Long Beach, I invite them over. They will think about it as they finish their fun.

I decide on my next course of action and....leave. Not wanting to cause a scene pulling Alex off the dance floor to hand him one of my three business cards. (Okay, there's one business card for TRW, one for the Bullet Racing Formula Mazda team listing me as the data acquisition guy, and one for the artificial life stuff listing me as Chief Scientist.) I'm on the freeway at 1:15 am heading for home when I have second thoughts and turn around and go back. Sabrina sees me drive up and asks me "What did you forget?" as I go back into the club. Alex is gone. The lights come up, the music goes down, and the DJ thanks us for coming to the Frat House and invites us to leave (seeing that it is now 2 am).

I walk out dejectedly. (Is this a word?) I am disappointed in myself. Sabrina sees the look on my face and asks "What'sthe matter, girlfriend?" (Sweetheart and girlfriend being the terms that she refers to me as well as a lot of other people as a matter of habit. I hope.)

As I'm driving home, there is an advertisement on the radio for a program at the Alex Theatre. Of course.

I'm asleep, from tears, by 3 am.

Operating on just a few hours of sleep, I get out for a decent bicycle ride, do the laundry, do the shopping, and go to the hardware store to buy a tree saw. And start trimming a tree that has grown amongst the electrical power lines in my backyard. And now I am getting tired. And frustrated. And I take a break to go to the liquor store. Seven days sober or not, I don't care. Partially covered in leaves, dirt, and sawdust, I buy enough liquor to poison both Dean Martin and John Wayne! And continue trimming the tree as I get closer and closer to the electrical power lines.

And then I have the revelation "I'm pretty f#&*$&# tired of this. I give up." as I sit down in the grass, liquor bottle next to me, Nopesterini playing in the downed branches. And I'm not referring to being tired of moving GRID points and lumping masses. I'm referring to the lack of self-esteem, lack of self-confidence, lack of initiative, and excessive shyness. And by 5 pm I've got a good, wild neo-comatose drunk going. And have forgotten all of my problems. Including what my name is. And after being very close to the electrical power lines a few times, I finally realize how stupid I am. The electrical power lines are not electrical power lines. But rather the now- unused cable TV lines. And I get mad at myself for being so carefull around the lines that it doesn't matter whether I bump into or cut.

I don't remember getting to my bed. But at least I'm alone.

I bypass the Sunday morning bicycle ride in favor of trying to regain consciousness (it takes three diet cokes to even resemble a state of alertness), cleaning up the house, and getting paperwork in order. I do manage to get in a reasonable session with the weights before heading off to play a 6 pm ice hockey game. We're behind 6-0 with ten minutes to play in the game. We make a run of it, getting to within 6-4 before falling short. I get to sit in the penalty box for a few minutes when one of the guys on the other team, who I happen to dislike, skates into the slot in front of our net with his head down. I drill him and look at him with a blank look on my face as he tries to get back up.

The rest of Sunday evening is spent watching the motorcycle grand prix from Germany. After a great tooth and nail battle, the winner, winning only his 3rd grand prix in 170 starts, is named - why should I expect otherwise - Alex. (Alex Barros from Brazil.)

I go to bed at 9:15pm. And fall asleep, after many chaotic thoughts have kept me awake, after 11 pm.