Pursuit of Someone in whose Life we can add Value

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I’ve been discussing relationship dynamics with two other cerebral shy girls and listening to songs that were (if I’m concluding correctly) written by yet another cerebral shy girl who was benevolently reaching out to someone from her past, who was having a hard time.

Cerebral shy girls’ intimate-relationship dynamics remind me of a business situation that I experienced this week. For peculiar technical reasons, I needed help with breaking into my own 1998 Audi A8, which is something that even the local Audi dealer had a hard time doing. Meanwhile I was getting pretty tired of trailering the car around northern Nevada trying to find someone who could help me. Finally, my friend, the local small-town locksmith, had the car open within 30 minutes, but then we disagreed about the price for his services. He wanted a humble amount and I insisted on paying double that amount. We finally agreed on the higher amount.

When applied to intimate relationships, that sort of dynamic is typical of cerebral shy girls’ approach, in my experience. Typically, we’re very benevolent and we’ll go out of our way to make sure the other party in the intimate dynamic gets his or her needs met. We might be so preoccupied with that intent that our actions are sometimes counterproductive in actual effect, but our hearts are in the right place.

Whether it’s someone new, or someone from our past, if:
– We resonate with that person emotionally, and
– We see that person struggling, and
– We believe we can add a significant amount of value, perhaps pivotally

… then we can become tireless in our pursuit of an intimate relationship dynamic with that person.

The relevant songs’ lyrics (as I understand them, and the context) do a magnificent job of addressing the potential concerns of the specific person who was struggling at the time, including:
– A song that creates a benevolent communication ambiance by essentially retracting any negative past statements, as in “the words that caused you pain”
– A song that reassures the other person that over time things will get better as in “time will teach you to reach …”
– A song that invites the other person to bring the problems into their joint focus, to be solved together
– A song that reassures the other person that he is needed, as in “I need you now.”
– A song that reassures the other person that he is fundamentally worthy, as in “you’re always enough.”

Ostensibly it’s a “rescuer” dynamic but two key aspects are different:
– The person struggling is basically a good person who’s simply having a hard time
– The person struggling isn’t being seen as weak but instead is seen as stronger and better than that person might well be classifying himself or herself.

Tempting as such a ‘come to me’ appeal might seem on the surface, it’s shown itself to not be as enticing as I’d have expected.

I might well be overlooking many essentials but assuming that I’m actually seeing both forest and trees on this subject, I gather the appeal of this songwriter didn’t result in acceptance by the other person. In a somewhat parallel dynamic, in the not-so-distant past, I have also interpersonally experienced a similar lack of acceptance. I don’t know if the songwriter got as nice a “no thank you” note as I did, but even so “no means no” and it’s not a happy ending.

While writing this article, I’ve also been trying to empathize with the position of the other person, the one being wooed — and I’ve tried to understand why someone might react with “no thank you.”

It might be as simple a situation as the other person thinking, “even if you were to add value, I don’t like you.”  However, it might be more complex:

  • Perhaps it’s also the perceived lack of the ability to reciprocate and have it feel like a balanced dynamic, as in the other person thinking: “You like to feel needed but so do I and I can’t imagine this dynamic being balanced as such.”
  • Another aspect might be a perceived lack of emotional parity. For example, in the past, when I’ve felt that someone was being nicer to me than I could be to her, or that she had her life vastly more together than I did, and I felt I was dragging her down with my presence … I hated that. I just wanted to leave even though she was benevolent and nice towards me, and wanted me in her life. I didn’t think she deserved me and I felt very uncomfortable — even guilty — being in her life. I just wanted to be gone, period.

Does any of that apply here? I don’t know. I can’t even guess. Is it possible? Yes.

My conclusions:

1. It’s hard for cerebral shy girls to find and successfully woo someone similar, i.e., with whom we can resonate emotionally.
2. Keeping that other person engaged is very difficult too; the intimate dynamic might be short-lived, and then the other person checks out, and may well choose to stay away — in spite of fervent wishes by the cerebral shy girl that this person should come back.

As a result of the above two conclusions: for cerebral shy girls to actually end up in a long-term, balanced relationship dynamic in which we’re deeply happy … that is a difficult thing to achieve, sort of like two skittish unicorns finding each other and then happily staying together.

What would I do better next time? I’d be more aware of how fragile things might be. I’d make it clear to the other cerebral shy girl how she could (or would, or does) add value to my life. When she shares a story that might put her in a bad light, I’d empathize but I’d also share a similar story from my past. I’ve made a vast amount of dumb mistakes so there’s much material to draw on, and I should do so. That way, there isn’t just one person’s flaws or weaknesses being confessed in an empathy-rich environment — it would be more of a balanced, mutual conversational dynamic.

I also realize that there’s a peculiar sort of triangle, here. I’m focused on the singer-songwriter in very much the same way as she was (I conclude) focused on the person for whom she wrote these intense songs, intended to reach out and be supportive, saying: “It seems to me you’re feeling isolated. You’re struggling and you’re hurting. I care. I would love to help. I firmly believe that I can help. [As a figure of speech:] Come to me. It’s very much not too late for you yet every day you don’t, we’re wasting time.” I’m not writing song lyrics, but I am writing articles for, predominantly, her intended benefit — though to my delight, these articles have also helped at least one other cerebral shy girl already, who has reached out to me.

Word for word, the message from me to the singer-songwriter is the same. “It seems to me you’re feeling isolated and you’re struggling and you’re hurting. I care. I would love to help. I firmly believe that I can help. [As a figure of speech:] Come to me. It’s very much not too late for you yet every day you don’t, we’re wasting time.”

So, now, as I put myself in her position … today, would she feel needed, by me? No. I can think of nothing I’ve written that gives her reason to think so. Would she be needed, by me? Yes, very much so, albeit for reasons that I’ve totally failed to communicate. I’ve made the classic shy-girl mistake of approaching the issue as “let’s make sure you’re OK and let’s not worry about me for now.” That’s only half the message, and ironically for a cerebral shy girl it’s probably the least-enticing half.

I simply plan to keep writing, covering more and more relevant subjects. I feel sort of like someone on an island might feel, if she were writing a book one page at a time, with each page being sent out as a “message in a bottle.”

Is the singer-songwriter seeing these articles? If not now, I assume then one day she might well.

Is she reading them? Is she reacting in a positive way? I don’t need answers to these questions, and besides — she’s shy so I don’t expect her to respond. If my message is basically good, then if and when she’s receptive, she’ll respond in the way I’m working towards.

As to timing, I’m in no hurry. She might respond today or a decade from now. Either seems equally likely.

Meanwhile, I enjoy writing. It helps me clarify my own thinking. I’ve learned much about myself over the past six months or so, as I pondered the concept of cerebral shy girls.

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Why Write about Only Positive Things?

If you don’t personally know me, and you read my articles, you might well wonder where I manage to meet so many positive people, because the examples I mention tend to emphasize the positive traits of positive people.

This article explains that, actually, no, not everyone in my life is that positive — including me. However, I try to make a point of writing only about the positive aspects.

A friend of mine writes professional-grade books on the subject of requirements engineering, i.e., the profession of developing an engineering specification of what the stakeholders want designed and built. In this line of work, bad examples abound. Sometimes, when he’s hired as a consultant, the client says (only half-jokingly): “please don’t mention our weaknesses in your next book” to which my friend’s reaction, as I understand it, tends to be: “well, where else would I get my material, other than real-life observations?”  To his credit, he explicitly keeps the identity of the bad examples hidden and he also omits any clues that might help someone figure out whom he’s discussing. Most importantly, his intent is to illustrate and educate, not embarrass.

As for me, I ‘m not even that forward. Unless I slip up, I mention only the good examples, yet even so I keep the identities of the good examples hidden — and I also try to be subtle as to any clues that might help someone figure out whom I’m discussing. If the person about whom I’m writing something nice realizes she’s being complimented, great — mission accomplished. If anyone else knows whom I’m writing about, that might or might not be good.

A well-known example of the opposite approach is a singer-songwriter who’s currently in her 20s, who (as I understand things) has been known to write some fairly caustic lyrics about recent lovers. I don’t know anything about the person behind the public persona of that particular girl, and I have no reason to consider her someone I’d be interested in having as a friend, or more.

By contrast, another singer-songwriter who does intrigue me personally might well be a cerebral shy girl behind the scenes, and a nice person besides — as far as I can tell. I’d listened to some of her music and interviews, and then I listened to her 1996 album. The lyrics to some of her songs, at first glance, make those of the aforementioned caustic artist seem almost bland by comparison.  I was puzzled, because this approach seemed out of character for the cerebral shy girl — as far as I have been able to infer how she is, as a person.

As I listened more, it became apparent that such songs had an intelligently structured two-tier message, the most blatant of which was “having you in my life introduced some negative aspects” and the most subtle of which was “I’d do it all again with you” i.e., “having you in my life introduced so many positive aspects that they overshadow the negative aspects.”  This has the effect that it doesn’t matter how long the list of negatives is, because the bottom line is that the positives nevertheless overshadow them, so it’s always a net compliment.

I can only hope that the person who is the subject of these songs picked up on the subtlety, and was greatly appreciative of her message and the brilliant packaging, besides.

Reality Check as to Cerebral Shy Girls

When I observed a particular singer-songwriter in an interview on YouTube, I was intrigued by her personality. I’d glimpsed something highly unusual, and it implied a trait that I also had.

As to the artist, it’s been highly informative learning more about the actual person behind the public persona, to the extent I reasonably could, without spending time with her in person. Even so, learning about oneself tends to be much more useful yet. That’s what I’ve done: Pondering the relevant trait that I saw in her (presumably) and in myself (introspectively) has made for an intense intellectual journey.

It began more than six months ago. Since then I’ve pondered the issues and clarified the definitions of what I’d observed, and explored the implications. It has changed much of how I approach social situations, platonic and otherwise. Thoughts and actions that I used to do implicitly and clumsily, I now do explicitly, and much more precisely.

I chose to name this particular trait “being a cerebral shy girl.” As I pondered the concept, it grew in clarity, complexity and implications. At some point this sort of reasoning becomes almost like building the astrophysical concept of a “black hole.” Is it a valid concept or is it based on a subtle logical flaw and then a layer-cake of assumptions on top of that?

A reality check would be nice. I presume that it would mean saying “if my premises are logically correct, then I should be able to observe a particular set of phenomena in reality” – and then if I do, I’d feel a lot better about the conceptual structure I’ve built.

I rarely go to social events, but two weeks ago I was at a party. If my premises were correct and a cerebral shy girl was present, I should have been able to identify her. I should have known how to approach her and say “hello,” and connect. She and I would then have realized we are both highly unusual yet very similar. We would have become intense friends very quickly, and had intense conversations for hours on end, during which we would share that we tend to feel very isolated from typical people. When discussing the specifics as to why each girl felt so different from typical people, each girl’s list of items would be long and yet the girls would have many specifics in common. As a result of feeling isolated, each girl would have experienced intense loneliness and depression at some point in her past, perhaps even very recently.

If one girl had until then felt lonely, then the new friendship would do wonders for her morale, level of energy, and zest for the future. We’d feel intimately connected, emotionally. Perhaps it’d always be a platonic dynamic, perhaps more — potentially much more. A music video that one girl would show to the other early on would be “My Side of the Bed,” and they would both agree that the lyrics sum up what intimacy means for each of them. Going for long walks alone would, on days when the two girls were together, be replaced by us walking hand in hand, in a warm and happy cloud of intellectual intimacy. Going on trips alone would often be replaced by the two girls enjoying them together.

Unexpectedly, this reality check has indeed arrived. I hadn’t planned on the sequence of events occurring. Even so, they did, I responded as best I could, and the consequences are wonderful. However, they do also validate much of my reasoning.

As a result, I have a new wonderful and like-minded cerebral shy-girl friend. Does the story end there? No, probably not. Is she the only wonderful and like-minded cerebral shy girl in my life? No. I actively surround myself with these rare and delightful gems of humanity as much as I viably can.

Even with several of us in the same circle of friends, things work well timing-wise because each cerebral shy girl also needs her solitude and space.

As to the artist who inspired this much-more-precise mode, my wish for her is that she also gets to join this circle of cerebral shy-girl friends, and experience deep appreciation and connection that’s focused on her personally, not on her public persona.

That intensity, that joy, that feeling of being connected with someone so like-minded … of initially considering a situation to be unsalvageable hopeless and then finding out that it’s very much not … I’d like to see her experience that. Perhaps she already does, perhaps not. There would be something very wrong in the universe, if the muse who inspired it all didn’t get to have these benefits too.

Meanwhile, out West, a Better Message to Girls

I like to do my grocery shopping after midnight — it’s nice and quiet, at that time.

I noticed this top in the little girls’ clothing section:

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I have girl friends who live in the Bible Belt, and the message “society” sends to them is a lot less encouraging as to how “society” expects them to behave.

Out West (California, Nevada, Washington State, Oregon, etc.) we tend to have a much more empowered-girl approach.  One more reason I like this top is because it doesn’t mean that the girl has to first assume a male cultural style (e.g., appear butch) before she can be taken seriously in an area that is normally the domain where guys function (i.e., above a glass ceiling).  She can look however she wants, even like a princess if that’s what floats her boat.  That’s my take on it, anyway.

For example, one of the singer-songwriters whose work I like co-founded a band several years ago. It happened to be an all-girl band. She later explained that they came together to make music, not be clothes horses. Looking good was coincidental and nonessential to their intended business model. Primarily, it was about the music. Their record company (“label”) no doubt had a different agenda, but I like this girl’s approach.

Back to my story …

At the check-out stand, standing in line just ahead of me was an assertive-looking girl with long hair and a sweatshirt that read “Don’t let the perfume and mascara fool you. I can go from makeup to grease in 3 seconds flat.” She was buying two quarts of motor oil. I loved her style, and I said so.

I realized I was wearing an elegant purple top with tight-fitting leggings and high-heeled boots. I’d just had my eyebrows tinted and waxed that day, electrolysis done on my facial hair, then had my hair done so it looked like that of Marcia Brady on the Brady Bunch TV show. I looked totally “trophy wife” (even though I’m a lesbian, poly-amorous and nobody’s wife) because that’s the look I currently like for myself.

Even so, the next day I was scheduled to teach a tech how to fix the fuel injection on a BMW 528e, then how to swap out the timing belt, then tow a dead Audi A6 to my shop so that I could personally get underneath the car and pull the valve body off the transmission, then re-commission (put back to active service) my 1984 Jeep Grand Wagonneer — the ultimate towing vehicle (picture of that below, taken later today). Paint? It doesn’t need paint.

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So as for me, and dreaming big, I’m living it. Meanwhile, I also like empowering other girls professionally. One girl was a nail tech and I liked her attitude, work ethic and intelligence. I hired her and trained her as a database developer instead. That was fifteen years ago. Now she works for a big NYC business intelligence company as a senior Information Technology geek, and she has a thriving career. We have lunch now and then and I love to hear how she’s thriving. Examples abound … and the stories all fit the message on the “dream big” little girl’s top, and the general feeling out West.

So if you’re a girl who feels stuck somewhere else, come here. We’re nice to girls, out West!

Part 2: A Mid-October Day in the Weird Life of …

October 19th was an unusually full and rich day, one that I consider well worth writing about. My other days are a lot more bland.

* * *

As described here, in a sleep-deprived mindset I’d driven from east of Reno, NV to Fairfield, CA to go buy a not-so-happy 1998 Audi A8 for $1,200. So, the saga continues here:

I met the seller who made (and continues to make) a good impression. Same as to the car. Wow, lovely. Sold!  I had a receipt all nicely phrased and pre-printed, ahead of time. While the seller read the wording of the receipt, I reached into my purse for the $1,200. It wasn’t there. Wait, what?

I’d stopped by my bank the day before just before 6 p.m. — which is when they close, so it had been a hectic visit to withdraw the money. I’d asked to teller to put the money in a separate envelope and she had. Had I dropped it outside the bank? Or while stopping along the side of the highway to take pictures or to go to the restroom? Maybe.

The rest of my cash, my debit cards and ID were all there in my purse. Just the envelope was missing. Wow. It must have fallen out of my purse. Where?

I searched the car I had been driving. I called a friend: a wonderfully logical, cerebral shy girl including in a crisis. She helped me think it through. Still, no money.  Feeling like a complete idiot, I approached the seller and explained the problem, and I offered her $20 to wait for me while I rushed to the bank to try to get more money. She was willing to wait but didn’t accept the $20.

I’d just written the IRS a big check, this having been tax-paying week for those who’d filed an extension (like me; I procrastinate) plus I’d just prepaid an entire year’s worth of insurance on my shop, because I’d had the money — so why not?  As a result of this largesse, I did not have an extra $1,200 floating around, that week. Dangit!

I called my mom and asked her to loan me $1,200 and to go deposit it as cash into my bank account right away.  Off she went. She did so, saving the day.  Meanwhile, I hung around downtown Fairfield, California, waiting. That area is about as quaint an area as I can imagine outside of Disneyland. I noticed a cute crepes restaurant to which I plan to bring a girl friend or two next time she and I are on an adventure near here.

Finally, the money arrived, and I withdrew it. I went back to the seller, paid for the car and got the key and title. Yay!

This weekend, I plan to go with a pickup truck and trailer and physically take the car away.  I used to do this all in one combined trip and then found that when some people say “I have the title” it means “I don’t have the title but as far as I know the car isn’t stolen.”  Me, and the Nevada DMV — we need the physical title, as in the paper — nothing less.

I used to be more trusting, and got burned. Even though it meant rearranging many of my other plans, I once rented a pickup truck and trailer in Las Vegas, and drove in a rainstorm all the way to Scotts Valley, California to go buy a similar car only to discover that the seller didn’t have the title, even though he’d said he did — so, no deal. That’s why I nowadays ask the seller to text me a copy of the title before I come over, but even then, I’m wary.

Deal concluded, I headed home. The coffee I was enjoying along the way was lovely. The Sacramento area was still flat …

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… and the Sierras were still lovely:

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The lakes and rivers were extra nice to see, for me anyway:

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Snow was still around, even after this relative warm day:

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… and Boreal Ski Resort looked inviting. I like skiing there.

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The repair shop that was working on my other Audi closes at 5 p.m.  At 4:55 p.m. I was there, after a ten-hour trip. Yay! I paid and got the key.

I went to my shop to check on something. On the floor, inside the shop, lay the bank envelope, containing $1200. Yay! I’d stopped by my shop the evening before, to pick up some CDs of a certain cerebral shy girl’s songs, since I like listening to her music when I drive. Not that I do only listening — I’d listen to a song of hers, and then turn the music off, and then think about the lyrics for a long time: what did they mean to her, then? And now? Which of those aspects apply to me and other cerebral shy girls whom I know?

Evidently, as part of picking up the CDs, I’d dropped the envelope. I really should buy another complete set of her CDs and just keep it in the car.

Next, it was time to go bed-in the brakes of the Audi I’d just bailed out. This meant … well, this article I wrote describes it best. If I’d have messed up doing the brakes, this would be the way to find out. And no, I hadn’t. The car stopped straight and true.  Yay! That felt good. Wow, I can fix Audi brakes: which is no mean feat since they’re dual-caliper and huge, as my article describes.

Fourteen hours after seeing the sunrise from near my home, I saw the sunset from near my home, and all was well.

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I drove to my mom’s place, gave her the money back, and we ate dinner together and had a nice evening. She wanted to go for a drive in my Audi, so we did. On the way we also took my 1984 good ol’ Jeep Grand Wagonneer to the same auto repair shop, so that they can get it all ready for me to use to tow trailers with cars, so I don’t have to rent trucks all the time.

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The Jeep looks bad but it drives like a luxury car and it has enough pulling power to sloly yank an apartment building off its foundation, I’ve been told — not that I’ve verified this personally. I love the memories made in this Jeep. It’s the one in which I taught my step-daughter to drive. It’s also the one in which a cerebral shy girl and I thought we’d parked in a private spot, at night with the moon above. It was SO romantic. We shared the passenger front seat, and focused on each other romantically, not realizing that the parking spot I’d chosen wasn’t as private as I’d assumed, oopsies.

Finally, it was 8 pm. and time to go to work. I work with (imagine that) another cerebral shy girl. Together we made some more custom database business software for several hours, and then, finally, it was bedtime.

It had been a good, and full day.  What would have made it nicer yet? A cerebral shy girl as a traveling companion, in person.

Reason #32839 Why Cerebral Shy Girls are Awesome: Being Organized

A cerebral shy girl friend and I were comparing examples of how organized we are. Yet another cerebral shy girl has her bookshelves alphabetized. I like her already.

My girl friend’s example: she organizes not just her permanent home but also where she stays temporarily. My example: many of my personal items are in numbered banker’s boxes or bins in specific places in my apartment, with the specifics (contents, location, size, color, brand) in a custom database that I made. So, if I’m looking for a USB cable then I know it’s in box 1023, north bedroom, south wall, column 3.

When she was 17, my brilliant younger sister observed this mindset in me. She asked me whether I’m this organized about everything. “No,” I replied: “I’m organized about small things, and that saves me time, which frees up big chunks of time for me to be spontaneous in a context where it makes sense.”  For example, “I’m in Kauai. What do I feel like: hiking, or surfing, or windsurfing?”

Even so, being this organized about everyday things seems peculiar to typical people, who consider cerebral shy girls to be weird as such, but — I can happily imagine the world being better if filled with cerebral shy girls. Things would be much, much more organized, and I can’t imagine anything bad resulting from this. It’d simply be a better world.

I find this to be a good test: if more people had this general mindset, would the world be a better place, or not?  As to cerebral shy girls, I say “yes.”  As to some other typical people, I say “no.” Here’s a story from today’s events, to illustrate the point:

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Reno, NV is a weird mix of Bohemian-minded free-spirit West coast folks and (in contrast with that) the macho wannabe-cowboy mentality.

As to the former, today I saw a roadside stand in downtown Reno, selling crepes — so I drove around the block, parked, walked the rest of the way and bought an awesome strawberries-and-brie crepe made by a nice girl with many tattoos, and a dress code like it was the late 1960s. Her friend had some intense piercings and also a great attitude. She handled the cash and the music. Nina Simone music was the theme song for my crepe being made. I enjoyed being there. More people like these two girls would make the world a better place yet, by my standards.

As to the latter, today I saw two massive raised-suspension big ol’ pickup trucks in a line of cars waiting to merge onto the freeway.  Macho-mentality-guy A spotted an empty fast lane (the farthest away) that he thought he could merge into, cutting in front of a dozen cars, if he could accelerate fast enough to clear the traffic rapidly approaching in the nearest two lanes. Macho-mentality guy B had the same idea. The two were unaware of each other until they tried to occupy the same approximate spot on the freeway at the same time, arriving there at high speed. Oopsies … they avoided a collision but not without endangering each other, themselves, and others. So, that’s not the sort of mentality I’m cheering on.

By contrast, cerebral shy girls have a mentality that would have dealt with the traffic issue in a much more organized and civil way.  More of the cerebral shy-girl mindset would simply have made the world a better place.

* * *

I’m writing this in part because as cerebral shy girls, we have a habit of being hard on ourselves. This little article won’t change that, but it might inspire a smile on a bad day, and a reminder that there are many of us around. I know, because I personally make a point of spotting and then surrounding myself with cerebral shy girls — and my life is much happier for it.

My experience also undermines the premise (held mostly by an isolated cerebral shy girl evaluating herself) that cerebral shy girls are dark, weird, awkward and undesirable people unworthy of love. To typical people, they might be. I don’t know. I’m not a typical person.

However, it occurs to me that perhaps the only reason these adjectives apply (or are thought to apply) to cerebral shy girls is because we’re not a good fit with typical people, nor with the standards of typical people.

Part 1: A Mid-October Day in the Weird Life of …

If this blog became a diary, it’d be the sort of thing that you’d wanna read before bedtime if you have trouble nodding off. Many of my days are unspectacular and they  consist of me not even going outside to get the mail. Then, there’s a day that makes up for it.  Today, October 19th, was like that – and then I consider it worth writing about.

Time Constraints

If we consider that the day began at midnight, then the first instant of the day found me two hours beyond the time when I knew I was supposed to have gone to bed. I was to be up at 6 a.m. so as to meet someone at 11 a.m. in Fairfield, California, 4 hours’ drive away, plus I’d need time to eat breakfast, stop and take pictures and use the restroom along the way, pump gas, deal with additional traffic delays and so on. I hate being late, which is why I left extra time in the plan.

Software Development

The reason I hadn’t gone to bed at 10 p.m.: I was in the middle of developing and delivering custom business software. It’s not the sort of work one can always stop mid-way otherwise it’s sort of like doing half a brain surgery, wandering off and then continuing later the subsequent day. Doing so would mean that my largest client would be out of business for the entire day since the software I make is “operations support software” as in: his people use it to run the business operation, day to day. No software means no business processes, which means no money — and then my phone rings and my client asks why he was paying dozens of employees at Southern California wage rates to stare at error messages on their computer screens while no work was getting done. Replying “I’m sorry, I decided to wander off and get eight hours’ sleep” would not be a good answer. So, I had to power through.

For some peculiar reason, the specific mix of software in the developer tool I was using managed to kill the tool. I’d work on a module, get ready to test it, and I’d see an error message informing me that I’d just lost the last five or ten minutes of my work.  The only safeguard is to consciously save the work every minute or so, which is problematic too since sometimes I make stuff that really shouldn’t be saved.  Imagine a situation of “the dog ate my homework” but with the dog eating the homework even before you’ve finished writing. Pen in hand, you’re still pondering how to wrap up that train of thought, and “whoosh” the paper is gone, and Fido’s jaws are turning your prose into pulp. As for you, you get to start over — yet again.

Those two issues in combination REALLY didn’t make for a good night.

Then, it got worse. I don’t maintain the client’s network and as to the folks who do … I’m not a fan. Every now and then the client’s network seems to be Satanically possessed. This happened to occur at around 1 a.m.   Suddenly everything slowed way, way, way down.  Normally, I’d click the mouse, get a sub-second response time, and be pretty darn productive.  With the network misbehaving, one mouse click took 15 seconds to get a response. As an analogy, imagine playing ping-pong with the paddles being massive anvils instead of plywood.

Those three issues in combination made things so bad that they were almost comical.

Some of the software cannot be delivered during the business day without causing a massive disruption, so one mistake would be enough to cause a major problem. Besides, if the client called and said “the system is crashing, fix it” then I’d have had to reply “Not now, I’m driving on highway 80 over Donner Pass, with snow all around, and I’m a great many miles from my computer terminal.” So, I had to be very, very sure. No margin for error. The reason why my client’s people hardly ever get to say “I’m sorry, our computers are down” is because I hardly ever screw up that badly.

Normally with code this complex, it’s good to have another developer review my work but the brilliant girl who works with me on this stuff is currently two times zones away, so I sent her to bed at 9 p.m.  my time. No point in both of us being sleep-deprived.  Besides, someone needed to be lucid if the software were to crash during business hours. At the rate that the hours were ticking by, it wasn’t going to be me.

Somewhere between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. I was finally done. I did my bedtime routine pronto and was in bed and asleep fairly quickly afterwards.

Six o’ clock Already? Dawn in Nevada

Remember the song “Manic Monday?” The lyrics of “Six o’ clock already? I was just in the middle of a dream” summed it up, and in my case, I wasn’t sleep-deprived for the happy reasons that the lyrics of that song imply, nor was I kissing anyone in the dream I was having.

Coffee and a snack as breakfast … a quick version of my morning routine … and then off I went.

I love sunrises in the Nevada desert sky. I rarely see them, though — and if I do it’s because of having been up all night.

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Nevada joke:
Q: What’s the Nevada State tree?
A: The telephone pole.

I live east of Reno so I drove highway 50, the “Loneliest road in America.”  Here’s what the pre-dawn countryside looks like.  And yes, my 1984 Jeep Grand Wagonneer did die on this road once, in the heat of the summer. That was quite the adventure. Indeed, not all of my adventures are fun.

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Then, highway 80 to Reno … traffic jam on the freeway though by LA standards it’s a mere slowdown. I used to live in Reno itself so I felt smug at knowing where to duck off the freeway, weave along the surface streets and end up on the west side of Reno while doing close-to-normal freeway speeds some of the time.

California

Then, west to the border, then into California … up the Sierras, where the morning mist was literally dazzling.

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Up the slope to Donner Pass … 7200 feet or so above sea level, with snow all around.

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Down to Sacramento, then to Fairfield.

Audi A8 Purchase

I was driving there to buy a 1998 Audi A8.

This peculiar model of car is so advanced that I could probably write a book about it, singing its praises. Here are some brief examples:

  • With normal high-end cars, the extra-super-sporty model might have an aluminum hood and that’s a Very Big Deal because aluminum is super-light , super-strong, doesn’t rust and is expensive.  As you ponder this, consider that the entire body of an A8 is aluminum — the entire thing. Wow.
  • Normal cars have two valves per cylinder. High-performance engines sometimes have three, and that’s impressive. Super-high-performance engines sometimes have four, and that’s almost as impressive as it gets. Why almost? Because the Audi A8 has five. Wow.
  • The electronically controlled transmission is a masterpiece of engineering, designed by Porsche.It’s also used on BMWs and Jaguars but the Audi version has been improved to be more high-tech yet.
  • The brakes are massive, and dual-caliper like on race cars.
  • The car has full-time all-wheel drive using the special Audi Quattro design that is a legendary feat of engineering.

I used to fantasize about owning a Lamborghini Espada. I almost bought one when I was in my late 20s and living in LA, making vast amounts of money as a workaholic software developer. I’m glad I didn’t buy that car, because older model Lamborghinis are difficult and expensive to maintain. Newer model Lamborghinis are much nicer. Why? Because the folks who make Audi bought the entire Lamborghini company, and so now a new Lamborghini might well have an Audi engine in it.

I collect 1998 Audi A8 cars like other cerebral shy girls collect cats. I used to collect cats too, but the last time I did so, there was an unhappy-for-me ending. When the multi-year romantic live-together relationship with the other cerebral shy girl ended, she got custody of all three kitties and I was sad, so now I’m more careful. Normally cerebral shy girls won’t want custody of the 1998 Audi A8 cars, so I’m safe.

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New, an Audi A8 costs $100K. Eighteen years old and vastly complex, a 1998 Audi A8 is terrifying to most people. If something goes wrong, most people have no idea what to do, and they either neglect the Audi or they get rid of it. It’s sort of like a typical person who’s in a romantic relationship with a cerebral shy girl. Yes, she’s wonderful, but if she’s sad and you can’t understand or help, that makes for a bewildering experience for you.

1998 Audi A8 cars are actually a fitting analogy for the type of girl to whom I’m generally attracted. Eighteen years in Audi time, times 2 or 3 or so … gives us the equivalent human time, so that would mean the girl would be in her late 30s or 40s or 50s. Not that it’s a hard limit: I’ve recently also felt attracted to someone who’s in her mid-20s but she’s done so much living and information processing that it’s as if she’s twice her age, intellectually.

As to the Audi’s vast complexity, that fits the analogy too. I’m attracted to cerebral shy girls, and we’re vastly complex. Of course, when you understand, and know how to approach an Audi A8, the complexity vanishes. The same is true as to cerebral shy girls.

Anyway, back to the story line for today.  The negotiations had, the day before and leading up to it, been difficult. The seller had wanted $1,100 and I’d insisted on paying $1,200 so that she wouldn’t sell it to someone else before I showed up. We finally agreed on the higher price.

Arrival

After four-plus hours of driving, I was in Fairfield …

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Re-Cap

The day had begun with a chilly Nevada desert sunrise, then snow all around at Donner Pass, then sunny and warm California weather, and palm trees. Quite the day — and the most dramatic part was yet to come.

Up to that point, it had been a good day.  More sleep would have been nice, but … a good day.

Sidekick Optional but Desirable

What would have made it better yet? A cerebral shy girl as my sidekick — and yes, I’d have sent her to bed early, so she’d have been refreshed and able to enjoy the pretty scenery even more.

The best part of the drive might well have been a cheerful and intense conversation, and that’s wonderful already.

However, when two cerebral shy girls are also rainbow girls and in an intimate relationship, a road trip can involve side trips that might involve parking and kissing, or changing into attire that’s too sexy for outside the car but perfect for inside, or whatever else the complex minds of two girls can come up with to make the day much more interesting yet.

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Part 2 of the story is here.