zap, travel Aug 12, 2006

I sat on the wrong side of the train on the way home, or rather I'm sitting on the wrong side now, watching buildings instead of the river, though I still spot a heron once in a while. The train north out of NYC is completely sold out so I tried to pick a seat next to someone who didn't have a laptop or a noisy-looking ipod (actually my seat companion is reading the Journal of Melville Studies, excellent!). I've been listening to some new music on my own laptop and while I was sitting next to it I decided to look through some of my old archived email. My email archive goes back to 1993 and while it's far from comprehensive [in some cases I don't have my emails only the responses] it's fascinating reading. Here's an excerpt from a family member regarding the '96 elections:
How come the election was so close? I figured no one in their right mind would vote for Dole (one x'er was quoted as saying "he is the kind of guy who used to yell at us to keep off his grass"); I've heard a lot, too much about the gender gap, but what about the generation gap? the IQ gap? the Dixie gap? etc.I suppose no one really wants to know. I thought briefly of joining Writeins for Kazinski but figured my lonely voice would not likely be heard. I think the real charade here is that all this matters somehow; that politics and news and personalities are important. They're not in and of themselves, it is what they might effect that has always been the lure, but somewhere we forgot that.
The thing that is so interesting to me is how many of the people I was friends with in 93-96 I am friends with now. At least five of the people I'd been corresponding with are people I've spoken to or seen in the past month. Several more I've been in touch with in the last year or two.

I sometimes feel, especially during weeks like this, that my life is an endless string of newish people, new locations and new experiences. And yet my email tells a different story, consistency of acquaintance, consistency of message. Not bad to know. For example, from me:
Hard to argue w/ capitalists since there's so many conspicuous consumers out there who legitimize their advertising and mind colonization. People usu. just tell me to calm down, stop envisioning a conspiracy, and think about learning to like a 40 hour a week job -- they are easy to ignore, yet oddly pervasive. Haven't tried to find a "real" job yet, we'll see if my bad attitude makes me unemployable.
Sounds just like me and yet it was written over ten years ago. I had forgotten about my .ro email address. I had forgotten about my email address. Mostly I'm thinking about this since I'm still sort of unwinding mentally from the trip. Had a great time in DC, a great time in Baltimore, saw a lot of libraries. I met a lot of new people including the guy from Jordan who gave me his phone number while we were on the train, and the blind man in Baltimore who used to live a few towns south of me in Vermont and showed me how to take the bus back to where I was staying. Met a good friend of a friend and it took us just a few hours to pinpoint who we knew in common without even really trying. I'll probably write more about the week, but possibly I won't. The next few weeks include a wedding, a writing deadline, an interview with an Australian writer, two presentations in Illinois and another MetaFilter meetup. Here's the photoset from my latest trip.

My birthday is coming up in a few weeks and I don't have a clue what I want to do about that.
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