It's about life - not "lifestyle"
It's a Monday today, and by noontime our new Editor was pretty well fed up. He'd just finished his third phone call in 24 hours from his former lawyer in Maryland, all billable at an hourly rate, and things were not looking good. His previous employer was asking not only for the money from his severance package, but also legal fees. It never went to court, and wasn't even acrimonious. His lawyer thought he might get the former employer to drop the legal fee thing, since the law firm was on retainer year-round. The whole thing was beginning to seem like identity theft in a roundabout way.

An email in my box from the law firm under retainer to his former employer let me know that they were watching We can use all the page hits we get, so that's okay with me. As near as we can tell, it's just his name we can't use. Some months ago I had received, as something of a universal message as to what I could go do, an actual photo of a man doing unto himself in the most anatomically impossible manner - the photo defies logic and physics but doesn't appear to have been Photoshopped - and I attached it to the lawyer email and hit the reply button as we left the office.

I figured one thing that would cheer Ed I. Tor up would be going to the movies, especially "The Sum Of All Fears", where we already knew something diabolical would hit Baltimore. Bound to cheer a person up when  Maryland seems to be poisioning his professional life. Dark humor, yes.

We hit the 1:45 show with quite a good crowd for that hour. The movie got going, and it actually was engrossing. Full of ripping action, it wasn't at all hard to follow, which was the big complaint about it. The people who made it did have a huge problem figuring out what time of day the football game/disaster took place, however, but it is a Hollywood Summer Blockbuster with nukes, so I'll forgive them this once.

If you've seen a preview, I guess you know something bad happens. I don't want to blow the suspense for anyone who hasn't seen it and intends to, so if you really don't have a clue you might want to skip the rest of this.

So Baltimore gets nuked, and everyone walks around in ashes and whatnot. Somehow that wasn't quite as exciting as it could have been. Perhaps the 9/11 attacks have taken some of the glee from this sort of thing. The movie was still pretty good, and when it was over we went outside intending to stop off at a Happy Hour.

The wierd part was walking out of the theater and getting in the car. It was straight up 4 p.m., sun high in the sky, grey blue sky near the coast, blue sky inland, and right overhead was a wide grey/brown bank of smoke and maybe clouds, blown down this way from a large brushfire near Ojai, California. There was enough ash in the air to catch in the throat a bit, and fine slivers of ash were all over the car. The sun reflected on all the cars in the parking lot as an orange ball. When I backed out of the stall I could see the orange sun reflected in almost precisely the same spot on dozens of rear windows, looking like funky incandesent overhead lights on a winter evening, as if Christmas shoppers were either getting in or out of their cars en masse.

Disturbing, to say the least. We skipped Happy Hour and called it a day.

Nels Norene
View From The Beach
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