I had to give a presentation at work with two of my friends from high school about where my company was headed. It was my company...and yet, not - apparently we made dolls that pulled open like folded cardboard, like makeshift notebook paper fans. I was explaining why a paycut was necessary, and nobody was buying it. I got the feeling it was because I was wearing a suit, and I found myself quoting my REAL boss - "In any start-up company, the first step is to create the methods necessary for making a product, and if you need money you go to your investors and ask for it. The SECOND step is to make it profitable."

They weren't buying it.

I talked briefly to the meeting's chair after it was over, and he was speaking with an accent I couldn't place, an accent of such confusing origins that I couldn't help but not listen to a word he was saying.

I walked out of the meeting and found myself in some version of my high school, but...darker. I ran into a man I knew as a former math teacher of mine (even though this guy was a composite of Robert Picardo and Larry Miller...with glasses. Round ones.) who said something ominous and threatening, something about how he had done something horrible when he was a child and, to make me the way I was, I must've done something far worse. I told him I'd tell him about it some day. It was treacly and trite, but it worked for him.

He bought it, but morphed into a slavering "Heeeeeeeree's Johnny!" demonic figure, still with glasses, and started pounding on the door of the room I had retreated into, the same room the meeting was held in. The meeting's attendees, still in there, called him a "Rocky Horror" and cowered in a corner.

Quick cut to me outside the school after another long day at the office. It's raining.

One of my oldest friends shows up, says he saw the rain and knew I was biking it, so he swung by to pick me up. I told him to hold on, that I needed to stop somewhere first.

We walk across the street to this house that wasn't there in real life but that I know belongs to the real-life artist mother of a real-life classmate of mine. There's a shack at the back, small and cozy. I go into it and park my bike, sit on the edge of a tiny bed but sink far into it; water has invaded the shack and everything is soggy. It's like being under water. I struggle to stand up, and do, and enter the house. It has a porch.

I find my friend curled up under a big fluffy blanket in a small room that I know belongs to the daughter of the artist who lives there, and I feel affronted, like he's doing something rude. The sound of a piano being plinked on floats from the room, but nobody's playing one.

My real-life mother is laying on a couch in the living room of the house and she looks perfectly comfortable to be there but can offer no explanation as to why she is.

Today was unreal.

My second night out with the very good friend girl suddenly exploded into a date, the moment she grabbed my hand as we were walking to the pub. To put it bluntly, she is now more than friends girl.

From eight last night until midday today, it was if suddenly someone had shifted my life into first gear, and I was revving like crazy through what might have happened if I'd been more social at secondary school. I still can't quite believe it. Me! Ordinary old Tom! I mean something to someone! Of course, I have family, friends et al, but -

Everything now feels different. Walking through town, holding hands. Huddled on a sofa watching bad movies and laughing at them. Discussing Camus over pancakes. All this is made exponentially better by the feeling that, at any point, we can stroke each other's hair, we can hold hands, we can kiss.

I can't wait to see her next. I want to yell "THIS GIRL IS AWESOME!" in the street. I want this presumably short honeymoon period to go on forever.

That, and Combat Mission 2 came out. This day couldn't have been more perfect.

You're capable of hate!

 Over the past 24 hours, I have met, dealt with, and grown to distain a fellow for the first time in ages.  I'd missed this emotion. 

 So here's the story.  Sean knows this guy named Lyle.  Lyle is, unfortunately, convinced that Sean is his best friend.  In reality, Sean hates this kid with a passion, but sort of enjoys having this guy around as a lapdog.  And he's amusing until an hour goes by.

 But he's a classical rambler.  The sort who craves attention, but never figured out how to actually get it.  It was sad, thinking about it, until I realized that it was just uproariously annoying.  It's reminicent of watching an idiot try to do, well, nearly anything.  When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there's no end to what you can't do.

 Unfortunately, this sort of emptiness is rather grating on my sensibilities.  I can't fathom how someone can be so remarkably obtuse and unperceptive.

 Sean is into BDSM with his girlfriend, Jessica.  They have numerous accoutrements lining the walls of the bedroom they share.  Lyle is completely oblivious.  They keep a copy of Different Loving in the bathroom.  Nary a remark is made.  This isn't just a "oh, it's not polite to mention it" deal, either -- that's understandable.  Instead, even when we specifically bring it up, there's silence, and a familiar look of mild confusion on his face.  It's really the only emotion I've seen come out of him.

 He's apparently quite inept.  He's currently struggling with writing a simple program for substitution cyphers.  This would be fine, in many circumstances.  But he happens to be graduating with a degree in computer science in the coming year, well convinced of his abilities.  Sean has promised to snag a copy of the code he's got for me to peruse and be amused by later.

 I really haven't genuinely despised someone like this in quite some time.  I may not like the emotion of such utter hate, but it is nice to know I am capable of it.  It also helps that I'm now with a group of friends with whom I can discuss such things, who I can feel comfortable talking to about this not-quite-PC emotion.

 It also helps that I'm at work for 8 hours tonight and am spared his company.

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