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December 04, 2009

And it came to pass that San Diego was mistaken for an actual city

How was your day?

I think these four askings provide an adequate snapshot of mine.

1) "Do you have my bike, or did it get stolen?"

This, I asked a security guard of a local university. (Quick refresher -- I'm a grad student, my school is on the east coast and I'm doing my dissertation from a distance since I'm in the final phase, but I sometimes work on a campus here.)

My bike was missing from the pole where I normally lock it.

Turns out I wasn't supposed to leave it there, and they removed it. No warning, just snip and goodbye.

Fortunately, I got it back. More than I can say for most missing bikes. But, if I may whine a little: it was a hassle and a waste of time, and now I don't know where to lock the bike in the future. (There are no racks in the area.) And since they cut the lock, I had to shove the dirty bike in my car and sully my new pale pants. Curses!

2) "Can we meet a little later? There's terrible traffic."

With the bike in tow, I hit the highway. The plan was to meet a friend, Gem. But there was traffic. LA style traffic. At 6 on a Friday? In Sun Diego?? Strange. Here's why: There was an event downtown called December Nights. You see, once per year this collection of sleepy neighborhoods resembles a city. People get out of the suburbs and converge on a large park for two nights of music, food and revelry. They have fun and block all the streets and get into some healthy mischief for a change. It's a fantastic event.

And that makes me want to weep.

Not because of the traffic, nor because of my delayed plans, nor because I'm missing it this year (trading one fun thing for an even better one) but for my darling San Diego. Because other cities get street fairs every week, and live music and outdoor terraces are everywhere you turn. Museums stay open late, people sit on bridges and have picnics more than two days per year.

My word! Imagine organizing "December Nights" every weekend for the whole winter, and a different sort of fair in the summer! But no, watch out, if you do that San Diego might resemble Buenos Aires or Rome, and that would be unseemly.

3) "Hello, you've reached La Roxy. Please don't leave a message?"

In the car, still in traffic, I checked my phone and saw I had 11 voicemails. It feels like it's always like that. Listen to three, five more arrive. So I took advantage of a particularly long stoplight and adjusted my message. It now says:

"Hello! I'm no longer checking voicemail, so if it's urgent, could you please send a text or email? Otherwise, I'll see your name in my phone history and call you back. Thanks!"

The last time I tried this, almost exactly a year ago (I guess you could say I have a history of ambivalence toward technology; here's that post.), I didn't last more than a few days, since people were so! weirded! out! by it!

But now I'm serious. I am so over voicemail.

Ciao, baby.

4) "Ready to work on your dissertation?"

This is what I asked myself when I sat down at my dining room table just now. You can derive my answer from this blog post.

But I think I'm ready now. I ended up having a great evening with Gem. I also bought groceries, relaxed, played some addictive word games on Facebook, I wrote this post and I did everything I could possibly do but the dissertation. I'd even do laundry, but Mr. A already took care of that.

Thus, after this writing break, I feel I have no choice by to approach the dissertation with a calm demeanor and steely will.

If nothing else, I hope those previous annoying askings serve as a chance to vent, and the perfect push into a night of productivity.

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