Archive for May, 1996

Friday, May 31, 1996

31 May 1996 at 7:20 pm
by Jonah

Friday, May 31, 1996

Here it is 11:30 or so on a Saturday night, andI’m sitting here at a Pentium using Windows 95 (I suppose that’s a given) and wondering what I’m going to do with this document after I finish typing for the night. I suppose I could figure out the printer. I wonder if I can remember how to delete documents on an IBM (and on a Macified one at that). (Microsoft Word doesn’t seem to like the word “Macified.” It’s got it underlined in red squiggles.)

I’ve been sitting at a computer monitor more or less all day, so this isn’t really relaxing at the moment. But I’ve also been mentally composing stuff, so having the chance to put it down on “paper” is nice, typing what I want to type instead of endless authors and book titles like my fingers have been pecking all day. That seems to be my current job description, along with making labels bearing Library of Congress numbers and sticking them onto the spines of hundreds of books. Ken Myers has an incredible personal library; there are more than 15 thousand entries in his computer list, which includes periodicals and articles. And they’re all books I’d love to read, so to keep from getting distracted is going to be quite a battle.

The books are housed in a smaller building across the patio from his house, where Ken lives with his wife Kate and their two kids: Susanna (age11) and Jonathan (age 9), I think. The building also serves as his studio, where he interviews people and makes copies of backlog tapes. He performed an interview yesterday with someone over the phone but in anotherstudio. Theytape both ends of the conversation and then mix them together, so it doesn’t sound like one of them is on the phone. He took off for Washington, D. C. today to give a commencement address for 5 graduating seniors from a church school and do an interview.

Today was my second day on the job. I arrived Wednesday late in the afternoon in time to accompany Ken on some errands he had to run. He bought me a nice swivelchair to workin (I tested it out by spinning as fast as I could) and a trash can. We went to Pizza Hut andmet the rest of his family there. Susanna and Jonathan homeschool, and they’d just finished a unit and its tests, so they got to go out to eat AND bring their books. Normally they’re not allowed to read when eating out or when other people are present. I resigned myself to eating whatever was presented; I don’t want to be difficult. So I consumed pepperoni and sausage.

My eating habits seem to be shot. For instance, I ate a ham and cheese sandwich today. Kate fixes me lunch, and I eat with her and the kids. Today we talked about fiction while Susanna and Jonathan read at the table. Jonathan was on his second book since Pizza Hut. He seems to enjoy a cheese sandwich everyday, without the crusts, of course. If potato chips are available, he’ll place then inside and crush them between the slices of wheat bread. Susanna eats one with chicken noodle soup, propping her book up against the bowl. They bargain with their mother concerning how many pickles each can have.

The two kids are a hoot. Susanna was out catching butterflies with a net she made out of cheese cloth, a coat hanger, and a stick. Whenever she’d catch one, she’d bring it in a plastic milk carton and show it to me in t
mhe office where I was working, informing me of its name as near as she could ascertain from the Audobon Socie’s butterfly identification book. Jonathan caught a feisty green bug with huge mandibles with his bare fingers and a gigantic bee of some sort in a jar, but he wouldn’t hold Stalin. Having a conversation with them is always entertaining. They have the vocabulary of graduate students, but their sentences are punctuated with wild whoops and yells and grotesque facial expressions.

Well, I about to crash here, so I’ll see if I can save this. The couple I staying with just left town for the weekend, so I here by myself with a girl named Alice, who’s taking some 6 hour finance certification test tomorrow. I think I’ll sleep in.

In Charlotte, NC

28 May 1996 at 9:03 pm
by Jonah

I’m here… safe and sound. Heh.. more or less…

It rained almost all the way to the Georgia line. Downpour most of it. I’m
glad I didn’t wash my car beforehand. Even though I don’t believe in air
conditioning (just a conspiracy of freon manufacturers), I used it on
Stalin’s behalf. But while it rained, I didn’t have to use it, so that was

I stopped four times. Twice to fill up the car and twice to empty me. Got
here in Charlotte, NC in about nine hours.

The car seems to have held up quite well. But then if it wasn’t doing well,
I suppose I wouldn’t have a clue till it went out on me anyway. I’ve been
pumped with questions here at the Tablers about my major and where I live.
Good thing too. I can’t seem to hold up one end of a conversation even if
it has a handle on it.

I’ll leave tomorrow morning sometime for Virginia. Craig showed me a back
way he goes to Richmond. I’m going to take it.

In the interest of making this form letter more personal, I’ve included
several personal messages. Find yours and feel yourself being held in

Nathan: Thanks for checking my fluid.
Bishop: Your stupid
Berck: I am now convinced that oldies are inherantly evil.
Paul: I don’t have anything to tell you but thought I’d include you anyway.


27 May 1996 at 3:19 am
by Jonah

I did something exceedingly stupid today. And because the parties who
forbade this excercise from taking place already know about it, there’s
really no use in keeping it a secret anymore.

Alabama Power is putting up a row of huge towers to support some power line
going to Mississippi. Or something like that. There’s a substation just to
the north of us, so power poles go from all directions from it. Especially
now. They bought some land from us near the back corner of our property to
make way for this monstrosity. If we hadn’t have sold, they would have taken
us to court and then bought it for whatever price THEY thought was fair. We
didn’t think it would be too bad, because we have woods back there to
separate us from the lines. But one of the main power towers is so tall that
it sticks out above everything else around it. There’s a nice reflection of
it in our lake.

They’re just starting to put the wires up for the electricity. The cables
are still attached to the spools they were wound from lying on the ground, so
they’re not juiced up. Yet. I know this because I went back there this
afternoon. I had on my BDU pants and was carrying my blackberry picking
bucket and club, but that was only for show. My main purpose in taking a
walk back behind our house was to climb the tower.

Dad expressly forbade us to do anything of the sort a week ago. I decided
Sunday would be the best time to do it because there would be no Alabama
Power people up on there yelling to each other as they worked on the wires.
And it was empty when I reached it. But that particular tower is in plain
sight of our house, and I really didn’t want to give my dad, who was cutting
down even more privet bushes, a heart attack. So I cut through the woods to
get to the next tower, not quite as visible from our house, but there just
the same. As soon as I entered the forest, I was accosted by several flies.
They tailed me, and something even nailed me right on the forehead, till I
emerged from the woods. There it was. The tower.

I went up to one of its four legs. Bolts were screwed into hole of the metal
all the way up, just like a ladder. I gripped one of them and hoisted myself
up, then on up to the next bolt, testing each one to make sure it was screwed
in well. The thing about climbing is that it’s fine to look downward, just
not focus on the ground. I had to look to see where to put my feet every
step I took, but the ground simply looked the same distance away each time.

Finally, where the four legs and the connecting struts stopped converging and
then spread out again to send out horizontal beams to hold the cables, the
bolts ran out. I could have shimmied up around on the struts to wear they
started up again, but by then I’d looked down to see just how far I’d come.
It was a long way down. Nice view of the surrounding woods too. I thought
about what someone had told me about not dying any time soon and decided
against continuing upward.

The flies tormented me all the way home.

I climbed the near tower tonight with someone else. Bolts ran out again near
the top. Fireflies flickered in the distance. A sattelite passed overhead.
And the ground was invisibly far below.

Different corners

23 May 1996 at 5:16 pm
by Jonah

I’m going to Virginia. My sister is heading out for Colorado. Ben is
leaving for Singapore. It will be a long time till our family is together

Hmm.. mom is talking to dad on the phone about Ben’s flight to Singapore.
He’s going to have to find his way through LAX, the Los Angeles airport.
Reality check.

Ken Myers called me today. I was supposed to call him this week, but we
hadn’t decided exactly where I was going to stay on the way up to VA. He
told me that I’ll be staying with a family in Powatan, VA, about 20 miles
from Richmond and 60 from Charlottesville. His studio is evidently in his
house in Powatan and the office in Charlottesville. They’re going to move
the studio up to Charlotteville sometime at the end of the summer after I’m
gone, I think. I’ll be living with a couple who has grown children. I asked
about my mouse. He said that they have a cat, but said that since I’ll be
working with him, my rodent could stay at his house. “The kids will love
it,” he said, “We have dogs and cats and rabbits and whatever turtles wander
up. What’s your mouse’s name?”

I also asked if the couple I’d be staying with have a piano. He said he
didn’t know but his house had one. “And,” he added, “I want you to know that
I consider members of the staff to part of the family, so it’s not unusual
for them to stay for supper or watch movies afterward with us.”

I’ll be working with him and driving to Charlottesville once a week or so, he
said. “I might get you to do some audio editting.” He asked what kind of
comptuer I had. Macintoshes, I told him. They use Macs too. “There’s a
tutorial on ours, but I suppose you won’t need it.”

If this is all the case, I have no idea what sort of modem access I’ll have.
It may be only once a week, and I may not have time even then.

In the meantime, I need to get my glasses, which lost a piece, fixed, my car
tuned up and get my watch fixed if possible.

Eyes of time

23 May 1996 at 3:23 am
by Jonah

For some reason I thought today was Thursday. I’m not really sure why. I
mean, I’m not in school anymore, so the days do tend to blur together. But I
woke up this morning convinced it was Thursday. Which brought up the
question in my mind of what happened to Wednesday (or Tuesday) because I
seemed to have missed a day. But Thursday it was, or so I thought, and
nothing could be done about my memory.

Actually, I woke up this morning at 6 am with a splitting headache. Well, to
say I woke up would imply that I had been asleep. And although consciousness
had not been a part of my existence up until that point, I had not been
sleeping well at all. I thought when I’d gone to bed with a headache that
all I really needed was some rest, but the pain evidently prohibited me from
getting anything like that. So at 6, I was in way more pain than would allow

Finally, I got up and, repeating “I feel fine” to myself to keep the contents
of my stomach where they were, stumbled to the bathroom, where I fished out
the bottle of prescription painkillers from my dopkit and downed one with
some water from the sink. Then it was back to my bed and what seemed like an
hour of writhing in pain, waiting for the drug to take effect. Repeating my
matra once again and hoping very hard that whatever was in my stomach would
not end up on the floor, I went over to my dresser and pulled out a black
sock. Then returning to my bed and laying it over my eyes, I finally found
release in sleep.

When my alarm went off, I turned it off and continued to sleep. Perhaps this
is what made me lose track of what day it was.

In any case, I showed up at Lens Crafters for my appointment at 2 pm on
Thursday. Even though it was actually Wednesday. They didn’t seem to mind.
The doctor saw me fairly quickly. and told me to quit complaining about
things being blurry in my right eye at a large distance. She could give me a
stronger prescription, but that would make my eyes have to work harder up
close. “Oh, if you put it that way,” I answered. She even put up the 20/15
line of the chart up, and although it was blurry, I could still read it fine.
“See?” she said, “You see better than I do. Are you an engineer?” she
asked, “Engineers always come back complaining because they’re so precise.”

I suppose I should call them tomorrow and tell them, “Hey, listen. I was
supposed to come in today, but I came in yesterday instead.”