Saturday, November 20, 2004
evening of sudden overlapping changes. It actually started Thursday night.
"Hi, Debbie. This is Larry"
"Hi, Larry. How are you?"
"Thrashed. Work was just nuts today. And I have to go in tomorrow, so I'm
not going to make the life group tonight."
"I was hoping you were calling to say you'd be here."
"Not this time. But how about tomorrow? Are we still on for Killer Shrimp?"
"That's our only open evening to go and hear Billy Graham."
"Rats. I was looking forward to some conversation."
"So was I, but I've never heard Billy and this will be his last Crusade.
But if you get home early from work and want to talk, we'll have some
Work actually went smoothly enough that I could bail early, mainly so I
could take my commuter bicycle in for an adjustment. I don't have the tools
to work on the bottom bracket. I ended up leaving the bike there so they
could install a new, more reliable, part. Over the years this bike has
picked up an odd selection of replacement parts, some of which are of
rather dodgy quality.
That left me on foot. I rode a bus to Main street, picked up a burrito at
Holy Guacamole, and walked home under the westering sun, with a slow damp
wind at my back. When I got there I found a message from Steve, saying that
Curtis had delivered the loaner computer (so that I can play Myst Uru) so I
could come and get it. Fine. Eat the burrito, get the computer, call
Debbie, wait for George to bring my car back. Simple. Nothing going on.
So, I enhanced the burrito by opening a bottle of Chimay ale. It's strong,
but I wouldn't be needing my brain for a time. Everything went according to
plan until I walked back up the hill, rather tipsy, with a computer cradled
in my arms, and noticed my car parked at the curb. George was early. He'd
borrowed my car because his blew up and took a week to fix. He wasn't
around, so I stayed on plan and called Debbie. But there was a message from
Nate. Did I want to go to Killer Shrimp early?
Why didn't this occur to us before? I called them back and said "Of
course," burrito and beer notwithstanding.
"Great. We're leaving now."
That would give me time to connect the computer, a PC in a Mac household,
and install the game. Curtis told me that everything was working well, and
he was right. It fired right up and I left it to finish the installation
when Nate drove into the driveway.
"We need to use back streets because traffic is horrendous."
"Fine. Go west."
We detoured via a condominium they were thinking about buying and then
wandered through various side streets to get to Killer Shrimp. Traffic was
heavy but I've lived here long enough to know all the side streets. Until
"At the end there, turn right. Killer Shrimp will be there."
"Left? Don't you mean right?"
"I thought that's what I said."
"No. It's OK, Larry. The Holy Spirit gave us the right interpretation, and
you did fine right up until the last." Nate pats me on the back and guides
me to the steps. I really didn't intend to be out in public in this
We talk of Nate's "Little Christmas Tree" story and alternative endings.
Conversation is somewhat damped because both of them are sick. Debbie and I
share a bowl of shrimp, and then the sweet potato-pecan pie. Nate watches
us, and remains deep in thought on his ideas. I know the state well.
After Debbie just sort of sinks into the corner, we realize it's time to
go. They drop me off at home. A few minutes later, George showed up.
Talking with him is somewhat frustrating. He's an imaginative sort, but
uses his imagination mostly to figure out what's wrong. He feels trapped:
by his job, by his lack of money, by his lack of various things. He made
some comments about all the gadgets I have.
"Comes from having a stable job for 20 years."
"What's your savings account like, after this camera?"
"Well, let's just find out. I just happen to be clear-headed enough to
remember where the last bank statement is, and just tipsy and ornery enough
to rub his face in it.
Later on, after he left, I got a twinge about this. Something wasn't right.
I didn't want to know so I avoided talking with God about it. As usual, He
didn't quit (thank you) and got ahold of me this morning. It turns out that
money was a side issue; the main thing that upset the Holy Spirit was my
habit of taking on the characteristics of whoever I'm with. Depression such
as George exhibits no longer fits me very well. I'm more afraid of
offending George, and attracting unwanted criticism, than anything else.
Life is a gift. I didn't earn it. Frankly, I don't want to earn it;
anything earned can be taken away but God doesn't take His gifts away. Why
not show these gifts to the world and stand tall? Not in pride, but in
something else I don't understand. An honest expression of God's delight in
me, and my growing (slowly) desire for life. I don't know why God delights
in me, but He does. The same is true for everyone. Why not live in this
knowledge, instead of hiding it under a basket?
2004 November 20 (Midnight Missive to Blog and WEM)