Monday, December 27, 2010

Another birthday past

I turned 47 today. It wasn't the birthday I might have hoped for, but it doesn't seem like I could have expected much more.

The weather was rough this week-end, but the roads were mostly clear and I planned on going in for a half day at least. My son wanted me to drop him off at a buddy's house, which meant he wouldn't be home. His mom asked me, obliquely, if I had wanted to drive her to work, to which I replied not really and made an unwise remark about what a wise aleck she was being. She called me a jerk, and left a bit later. On my drive out my son wished me a happy birthday, which was poignant. So that was how my day started.

I went in to work for the morning. Nothing special, just some debugging to figure out why someone else's home-brewed JSON parser wasn't actually doing the right thing by failing to properly initialize Prototype.js object's base classes. I figured it out but it didn't get fixed. It is not my place to set that priority as yet, but still -- it is the difference between doing the right thing and making things work for right now, that can bite you later when you are no longer looking. Deserialized objects should always be constructed the same way any other instances of classes are; anything else is a proximity fuse code mine.  So that was the second part of the day.

Plans to have lunch with a friend were interrupted at the last minute due to fear of the previous weekend's weather. I don't blame my friend, but it was unexpected and I was looking forward to having a good conversation.  Instead, I spent much of the rest of the day alone. I took a late lunch out and chatted with the restaurant owner, but it wasn't the same. I read up on Hobo and got a Jasmine gem to install properly, and looked over how JSON should (really) deserialize... finding that people don't seem to do it right at all in most cases, at least not with respect to higher-order class/inheritance constructions implemented at the Javascript library level. It continues to amaze me that people do mud-pie programming in Javascript and pretend that there is rigor and soundness to what they are doing. So that was the third part.

Checking messages, a few people wished me a happy birthday. My mom, her sister, and my sister called to say the same. That's nice. Not unimportant, but they all seem so... distant. Well, they are distant, but we don't really have much in the way of enriching conversation going on either.

Later, my wife got home early, and needed to vent about the goings on at her place of employment. Lots of dishonest communication in the workplace, compounded by a general lack of integrity, unrealistic goals, and hidden agendas, make it pretty rough for people to have a satisfying workplace life. When management and practitioners accept false premises for arguments, the fallacies inevitably compound and accumulate like waves cresting and crashing back upon a beach. It wears you down personally, and slowly undermines whatever solid thing you do manage to build. I got to hear about it, and offer consolation and comfort.

She got me a present too, a ceramic grinder because I grind nut mixes. Nice thought, but it was from the local mall and, as it happened, gummed up within about a minute. OK for fat-free things maybe, but not nuts and cocoa beans. I spent the next hour cleaning it out carefully before re-wrapping it for a return. I thanked her for it, but given the price (over $60) it did not seem like a keeper.

She put the TV on. I've come to hate TV. It isn't my choice of spending any evening, let alone my own birthday. It is icy out now, the roads are dangerous, so there is no going out. I lay down on a love seat in the other room to reflect on the day.

She puts the dog out and goes to bed early, not saying much otherwise. She doesn't seem to be angry or bothered in any way, just indifferent. Sigh.

I wonder how to improve upon what seems like a completely hideously unsatisfying social life. I mean, seriously - being alone all day???  It isn't reasonable. It isn't healthy. It just isn't right.

Blogging about it seems like a good enough idea, at least to help me reflect.  I wrote once before about analogies in fiction, how there are often disturbingly concrete mappings to reality. Today was a day in the life of Robinson Crusoe. I tilled the soil, planted corn, minded my traps, said my prayers, and spent the balance of my time thinking about what else I could do to improve my situation and do more than merely survive in isolation.

Normally that would be enough, but today was sad and lonely, and here at the end of the day I'm just glad to say it is over.
And I have seen that there is nothing better than that man rejoice in his works, for it is his portion; for who doth bring him in to look on that which is after him?

- Ecc. 3:22

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