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It's way past beddy-bye time but joys shared are doubled, or quadrupled, (and sorrows halved) or something like that.

It's public news now and no longer under-covers; I've landed the account for sushi services and Asian food specialties for Aetna Insurance Company's headquarters in Hartford, Connecticut. All we have to do is sell product, and then I'll be installing another sushi bar at Aetna's enormous claims processing center in Middletown, Connecticut. There'll be a lot of consulting work to do, also, as their foodservice operations are undergoing a multi-million dollar overhaul and I'm certain that at the very least I'll be able to get a bit of work outta that, too.

We started out with a wee bit of a hiccup. Now, Aetna's security policy is legendary. Everyone, I mean everyone, must be vetted (including criminal check etc.) and must carry a magnetic, photo badge at all times when on-premises. So me and Jack, the head sushi-dude, followed my client (Director of Foodservice) into the bowels of the Security office (there must've been 20 people working in that office alone). We had mug-shots taken and badges made and parking permits issued and swore that we'd not divulge any Aetna secrets under penalty of loss of a pound of flesh or our first-born or something like that.

Jack feels the same about his Aetna credentials that he does about his Foxwoods Resort and Casino V.I.P. card. (For me, it's just something else I have to remember or I'll look like an idiot; and I forget things. A lot.) So we do the refrigeration install, and Jack finishes up making the spot for our operation his own, and we bade the folks who remained (it was about 4:00 by now) goodbye, and headed toward the loading dock, where our vehicle was parked.

We made it all the way to a glass sliding door (through which we could see our vehicle). Neither key-card worked the door, as promised. Try as we might, we couldn't get the attention of the security guard about 75 feet away, in his office but with windows and a door open (he looked like he was surfing the 'net). Well, I was about to turn around and Jack misread the sign on the door which said "PUSH IN CASE OF EMERGENCY - ALARM WILL SOUND" for a sign which simply meant that, "if this door doesn't slide, push the darn thing!"

Have any of you pushed on a door that's meant to slide open via a motor (like the ones at the supermarket)? It's a difficult task, and typically renders the door inoperative until reset. Well, that happened to us. As Jack reached for the door with both palms vertical, time seemed to slow down. I could hear myself like a tape-recorder going far too slow: "Nooooooooo! Dooooon't doooo thaaaaat!"

A buzzer buzzed. Loudly. Radio noises sounded from speakers. From some microphone somewhere a lady was asking "do you know there're 2 individuals leaving area (who knows what) without authorization?" The security guy jumped up. All the loading dock doors descended at the same time, red revolving lights flashing. Jack was scared and asked me what to do. I told him not to move. Two guys (with guns) came running around the corner from some other door. They waited for the loading dock security dude.

I was scared that I'd alienated the people I wanted on my side the most, security, 'cause without them I can't get stuff in and out expeditiously. And sushi fish waits for no man if it's a summer day of 90 degrees.

Security dude came running over and told us it was okay. We just had to go back upstairs and fill out a "security violation" form. The guys with the guns accompanied us. Literally a half hour after we'd been in the same office to get our badges in the first place, a morbidly obese woman who seemed in charge of things was interrogating us as if we were Bonnie and Clyde. (I felt like Bonnie.) The woman doing the interrogating was butch.

She looked at Jack: "What possessed you to push an alarmed emergency bar?"

Jack didn't understand. I translated. She said, "Can't he speak English?"

Jack was enraged. He was about to give her some of the poorer examples of English (you know, the ones that cause movies to be rated R) when I calmed him and told her that no, in fact, he could not. "Does he have a Green Card?"

Now Jack was horrified. Culturally, even if one has earned one's green card, the Chinese feel that it can somehow be taken away if asked for by anyone other than a bank they're depositing money in. I convinced him to show her the card. Now he was trembling with fear. I wanted to hug him and tell him everything was okay, but I was, literally, on the verge of tears, awaiting the arrival of my brand-new client, assuming we'd suffer his wrath, as well.

Nobody bothered to tell us that it happens all the time. Until, of course, my client did.

We'll be up at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow; do our duty, and then run the restaurant until 11:00 p.m. Hey, it's a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it.

Lifelong heavy smoker dies after fall

You obstinate old man. You, who spent half his career re-writing the same book again and again.

If I were a younger man, I would write a history of human stupidity; and I would climb to the top of Mount McCabe and lie down on my back with my history for a pillow; and I would take from the ground some of the blue-white poison that makes statues of men; and I would make a statue of myself, lying on my back, grinning horribly, and thumbing my nose at You Know Who.

The last sentence of Cat's Cradle
Someday, someday, this crazy world will have to end,
And our God will take things back that He to us did lend.
And if, on that sad day, you want to scold our God,
Why just go ahead and scold Him. He'll just smile and nod.

A Calypso from The Books Of Bokonon, a fictional religious text from Cat's Cradle

I am going to miss you, old man, more than I've ever missed anyone I never met. You were perverse, and you kept saying the same things again and again. And you lived your life like you thought you should already be dead. You would hate to be mourned, but I owe you much of my world view so mourn you I must. And for this I apologise.

Kurt... I read your books when my grandfather died, I read your books when my relationships fell. Hell, I took your books to Auschwitz for inspiration. I've written "Bokononist" on a fucking census. I want your words on my gravestone, so it saddens me that they will also be on yours. Some consider you a literary titan, some speak of you as a counter-culture figure. To me you were something more: Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. – Science Fiction Writer

I came back--two words I find no decent synonym for, that's the best I can do--to E2 to give me a break from writing a book, writing music, and playing World of Warcraft.

I never left. I never stopped writing. I am still here. Mostly, I am unchanged. I still love my daughter, I still love this place, this world, the entirety of existence around us with its forms and colours so inexplicably brilliant and its noises and scents and immediacy. That is a truth. Still the same old guy, a few more gray hairs maybe, willing to spew forth words in a vague and nonchalant attempt at discovering and codifying his purpose on this blue and brown ball hurtling through space, freefalling around an unremarkable yellow star forever.

Nothing has changed. My return--don't call it a comeback, I've been here for years--seemed to coincide with that of several other people I'd considered somewhat dear to me, and I would like, to take some of your time to write this, and in so writing, perhaps I can understand the draw, the quickening felt when poring over old stuff I've read a billion times.

It's the people and the learning. Sometimes they overlap. Just because I wasn't writing--or talking, whatever--doesn't mean I wasn't reading. And learning. I couldn't shut that off if I tried. It sucks, sometimes.

Miles and hard-drives exist between us but there is a connection. The distance remains. Although this daylog--truncated now to "log"--is not a paean, it is about a person. Her moniker here is graceness. With relative ease I could find many more examples. I will not. Her list pretty much covers everything/everybody anyway, and besides, I could cite so many people that it would be irrevocably exhaustive and tediously boring. I will not. I want to explain a relationship that's changed from what it was, and remains valuable to me.

I have known Grace for about five years, and we are friends. I like to learn about her life. We are close and distant. We do not speak often. There is a connection. Normally this is where a person would say "I wish we would talk more," but that is not the case. In the last three years, we have contacted one another perhaps three times. Once a year. Not much of a friendship, you say? All things are not equal; often we would forget these friends. It's my way of assuring myself that everything is OK: graciepants is good, hubby and kids are good, everything is OK.

There's a respectful admiration there. That is a connection. She has a husband and kids. Read her writeups. That is a connection. I have a girlfriend and a kid. Those are connections. I've written about them. Knowing graceness (and certainly, many others here at E2) has enriched my life. It is a constant.

I do not remember the beginning. E2 has changed a great deal. I first ran into Grace when she'd commented on a writeup of mine, so I promptly read everything she has to offer you. I asked her what she would title a writeup I was working on. She outdid herself. Returning to E2 the first thing I noticed was how antique the interface looks. Many writeups later, we spent significant time playing Literati and idling in #everything. Then, the bar-raising began, and I was not frightened. One day some subconscious thing happened and I realized Grace was not around, and I wondered why. It turns out that she was not really enjoying her place of employment and was working a lot and could not find the virtual sort of relaxation time she needed. There were other things, other secrets not for your ears. A situation disallowed me from editing, so I gave up the post. I had not spoken to Grace in months. Of course, the world spins and we return to the beginning and now Grace and I talk quite frequently, even if it's a partially-awake "hummina" kind of sound.

People are stubborn about shoes, comfy ones that are sprung in all the right places, even if they're a uniform slate-gray with busted soles, and the great thing about old shoes is that there's no guilt about what you do to them and even when they're ugly and fucked beyond all possible redemption they're comfy and you need comfy. The sad day comes when it's time to get new shoes. Like empty match books or broken pens you keep old shoes, but they are security shoes now, so later you buy new shoes and in time they beoome old shoes. But you need to walk, so you always have shoes, or sandals maybe, or flip flops of some sort, or maybe Eeyore slippers that match your tattered bathrobe. Because you need to walk, and walk comfy. Every day you need to walk. Braving all sorts of elements.

I don't know if that's a metaphor for E2 or not, or just a pointless anecdote in the midst of a ramble (I am almost certain it's just rambling), but continuity is what I'm talking about. My friendship with Grace has not changed despite considerable changes in my life and her life. I am not much different. That's what makes me stay. Being involved in the storytelling.

And I really hate to tell you this, because everyone is being quite good-natured about everything, shaking hands and going, ah, you said exactly what I have been thinking! This website you all come to is barely different from when I first arrived. That's six years ago, now. I cannot place value on that. It is not different, and if it is, it's only minor stuff. Oh, you say, standards are changed. Oh, you say, rules are in place. Oh, you say, everything is oh so hard. No. It isn't. Oh, you say, now they're wanting some sort of standard of quality? Well.

You wake up, have an idea, and tell me about it. Not all these other guys: tell me your stories. I want to know. Tell me about that corner store by your house, and the crazy guy outside with the methamphetamine voice and the pricey stolen books he wants to sell you. Tell me! That's all you have to do, man. It's writing, you're not climbing Everest. (But hang on a sec, maybe you are. If you're going to climb Mount Everest, I would like to know everything about that, please. Awesome stories in strange places are okay by me.) The "administration" hasn't changed. They will still point you in the right direction if you don't know what you're doing. Editors and gods should be the least of your concerns, villain. Write me something. Write me something I can understand and nod to or giggle at or shake my fist at in mute appeal to all gods. Give me something to hate. Or love. So, please. Please write more. Thank you.

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