Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jingle Shoes

Here in San Francisco, a cyclist recently plowed into a crowded crosswalk at Market and Castro and killed an elderly pedestrian, so Forum on KQED Monday morning was about cyclists following the law or not. I intended to miss it to avoid a spike in blood pressure but ended up being in the kitchen at that time and got to hear Bert Hill say, in regard to the proper course of action at a stop sign, that he does slow down to about one percent of his normal traveling speed, and then he finds that many motorists graciously just wave him through at that point, which is super because cyclists are at their unsteadiest when mounting and dismounting, etc.

It was disheartening. I know Bert and like him a lot. He’s a truly lovely guy, and he’s also probably our premier bicycle educator so it would really have been nice just to hear him say, “When you come to a stop sign, uh, stop.”

I went off for a walk intending to go to Randall and San Jose but at 24th St. was strongly overtaken by the urge to shop for shoes. I actually do (did) need shoes, along with garments that can be worn to the career consultants’ office and perhaps will be needed for my next job. I have also lost weight, which I had no particular desire to do, but it has been the inevitable result of the anti-cancer eating program, and has made some things no longer wearable. It seems a little strange—that flesh was mine and I didn’t give it explicit permission to depart—and I feel a little vulnerable without it, though I also notice an enjoyable new sense of ease in my body.

Anyway, I turned onto 24th St. and went to Astrid’s Rabat and got an absolutely darling pair of Naot girl boots. I love them. They make a little jingling sound—zippers—which I didn’t realize in the store, but people are just going to have to hear a little jingling sound. (Judy, my wardrobe consultant, gave me permission not to obtain shoes, socks or underwear from the thrift store. In fact, she explicitly told me to pay full price for those things.)

The box says to apply a “suitable” sealant spray before wearing and to polish or oil periodically with an alcohol-free product. The Internet says every shoe polish commercially available has toxic ingredients. So, you know, every possible thing opens its own little can of worms. Now I must learn how to make my own environmentally friendly shoe polish, which looks like it won’t be too difficult.

Tuesday was Margaux’s birthday, so I gave her a call and sang “Happy Birthday” and we had a long, satisfying chat. We met when we were 14, and whereas I will be 50 in just under two months, Margaux, by some mysterious universal force, is turning only 29 and a half. Before we hung up, I mentioned the longevity of our friendship, during which we’ve never had the remotest fight. Oh, well, there may have been some slight unpleasantness when we were in our early teens and she took up with a fellow I’d just broken up with, but that’s so very long ago. I don’t remember it as being a big deal. “How amazing to know someone 36 years,” I mused. “In your case,” she cheerfully reminded me.

In the evening I walked to Howie’s with C., who lives near me. Howie was away again, this time replaced by Yvonne Ginsberg. Afterward, we walked home in the pouring rain.

Yesterday I took an online class, an introduction to computer programming, and learned a lot. Here’s the best thing I learned: that the first-generation computer, the ENIAC, circa 1945, weighed 30 tons and failed every seven minutes.

I am also working on my own through a book on Perl programming and noticed a sudden and distinct clutch of fear in my stomach that afternoon when I didn’t immediately understand something, because of course no actual effort should be required; I should already know everything. I had to get out a piece of paper and painstakingly write the variables and values out in detail and go over it carefully five times in a row. When it finally made sense, it was a good feeling.

Today I took BART to the main library to return some books and pick up others, and walked home, after which there was a webinar on search strategy and networking, which yielded a long list of things to do, many of which looked daunting, but I’m positive I’m far from the first to think that I can’t network because I don’t know anyone and also never leave my house, so I didn’t bother to think that. The fact is, I can do whatever needs to be done, and I will do whatever needs to be done, and the only place I can start from is this exact place.
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