No emoticon exists for the mood in which I find myself today. Perhaps that's a good thing; it forces me to express it longhand rather than try to use a cute shortcut. I had intended to do so anyway, but rather than try to encapsulate anything I can simply write it out in full and analyze it once it's recorded. I tend to do better on second or third review of my ideas anyway. I'm an excellent writer, but a lousy orator.
Friday ended up being a pseudo-quasi-semi-half day, insofar as we got our first good snowfall of the year and it left approximately four inches on Pottstown's streets. Now, to people in New England, four inches of snow probably doesn't sound like much, but there are several factors in this that make it a lot more than it seems:
- I've had a lot of accidents due to inclement weather. I've actually totaled one car because of black ice and seriously banged up another. I've also wrecked a car due to heavy rain and had multiple spin-outs in one night because of light snowfall. I'm not exactly what I would call a good bad-weather driver, so I wasn't exactly eager to go take the Escape Vessel out for a spin.
- Pottstown doesn't plow its surface streets. I've heard reports from a number of people that once on the major roadways, everything was "fine" aside from the occasional gust or drift, but looking at the ground from my bedroom window on Friday morning, there would have been no way to tell that. Seriously, it looked from my vantage point as if nothing had been done at all to deal with the snow that had accumulated overnight, and more was on its way down.
- I'm from Texas. Having lived in Pennsylvana for five years now, and having spent at least two years out of the country, I'm not exactly the most Texan of Texans, but the truth is that all my training in motor-vehicle operation came at a time when a dusting was enough to shut down the city and ice was something you put in your tea. I really still have no good idea how to drive in snow, even though I'm learning.
All these factors combined, I worked from home on Friday, and while I got a heck of a lot done as far as actual productive work goes, I felt the whole day as if I weren't really "at work." I was busy checking email every fifteen
minutes, monitoring servers, checking on production, and making sure things ran as they were supposed to run, but at no point did I ever really feel like I was doing the daily grind. It felt like a day off, and it was a wondrous and beautiful thing. If I thought I could get it, I'd ask for more days like that, and I'd make having a day out of the office every week a condition for my continued employment.
Having Friday feel like such a relaxing day made Saturday feel like a Sunday, and somehow I got it under my skin that it was Sunday, even though it wasn't and I knew it wasn't. It was... very odd. All I can really say for sure about Saturday is that I spent the day thinking what a drag work the next day would be, only to remember that I had another day off and I could enjoy myself. It was an incredible sensation, one I highly recommend if you can trick your brain into producing that sensation.
Saturday also produced another feeling, one I don't endorse quite so strongly but still feel was beneficial. I got a royal burr under my tail to go clean. Somehow I decided I'd gotten sick of the dishes in the kitchen sitting dirty, and half of my clothes in piles in the floor in our room, so I announced to Jessie that she had the option of picking one of the two chores, dishes or laundry, and that I would do the other, but that I wasn't doing both and I wanted them both done by Sunday night. She looked at me as if I'd been replaced with a Pod Person, but she picked dishes and that left me with laundry to tackle on Sunday. I actually found myself looking forward to doing laundry the next day. It's creepy in hindsight, but at the time all I could feel was determined and pleased.
Of course, we weren't the only ones busy on Sunday. Kitana moved out last night.
Many years ago, I had a plan. I wanted to take people who were down on their luck into my house, give them a chance to get their lives back in order, and eventually see them move out into the world on their own and know that they would themselves spread the wealth. I never dreamed of making the world at large a better place, but I knew, I knew that I could make a difference in the life of one person at a time. I could improve one person's life, and that person could then go on and improve things for someone else while I helped a third, and like an empathic Fibonacci expansion, my efforts could have a tangible impact on the world.
Last night, for the first time, it worked.
About two months ago, Kitana said to me that she hated to drop a bombshell on me, but it looked like a friend of hers was in need of some help; he was on the verge of losing his living space, and he needed somewhere to go. She had offered to put a roof over his head while he got his life back in order, but that meant getting her own place. She also asked if we'd be alright with Stranger living with us for a few weeks while she found an apartment, but that as soon as she could, they'd be moving into an apartment. It took longer than just a few weeks, but it did finally happen, and last night she packed almost all of the last of her belongings into her car and headed out to her new living quarters with her new roommate in tow. All she left was one load of laundry and a trash can she couldn't fit in her trunk.
Someone to whom I extended my hand arrived, got a job, got ahead on her bills, heard of another friend in need, moved out into her own place, and extended her own hand out in turn.
If it never goes any further than that, if it never happens again, I can die knowing I did something right. I believed in this model of kindness, and it happened. Words cannot adequately express how I feel about this situation right now. I feel... I feel vindicated, even though no-one ever nay-sayed me.
Thank you, Kitana. Thank you for moving in, and thank you for moving out.
In other news, I have a new project site on which I'm working: False Positive Productions.
So far, we only have the one design, but I hope over time to expand this. My intent with every image, every product, is to subvert the language by which people frame the debate over contentious issues such as same-sex marriage, freedom of religion, the war in Iraq, stem-cell research and the like. It is my goal to take back the power to define the terms of the dicussion from those who have usurped it in the name of their regressive social and technological agenda.
I know the site is rather bare-boned right now, but I'm going to be working with Jessie in the near future to turn it into something more professional. I'm really not the visual artist. I can do ideas, but she's the layout and design whiz. She actually made the images herself; I just came up with the general idea. I personally love the way they turned out, and I can't wait to talk her into making more like them.
I don't like how high the prices are, but I'm bound by the limitations of the company underneath. The shirt itself is USD 9.90. Each design, front and back, was USD 4.50. That brings the base price of the shirt, absent any profit, to USD 18.90. The triple-extra-large shirts add three dollars to the base price, but in every instance my "profit" is USD 1.10. I'm really not out to gouge anyone, seriously. If I could sell it cheaper and make anything for it, I would.
I'm tired of just sitting on the sidelines talking about what I can do for the larger community to make the world better. I want to start doing something about it. I want to start getting the words out into the hands of the people at large to combat the mindset perpetuated by the conservative and autocratic pundits who are trying not only to frame the debate on their terms, but to prevent the discussion from even happening on any terms other than their own.
To everyone reading this, I encourage you not only to check in with False Positive Productions regularly for new products and to tell others who might be interested in owning such a shirt, but to create your own site. Be your own media machine. Figure out what you want to say and how you want to say it, and then get your message out there. If you want to write, write. If you want to draw, draw. If you want to be political, campaign. Don't be a passive consumer. Be an interactive contributor.
This is your world too.