Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Maiden Voyage

It is a new year and I have a new computer. My beloved Steve shared his wealth with me by taking me shopping for a laptop for Christmas. (Yes, I am Buddhist and he is an uncommitted atheist, but we still celebrate the universal practice of giving.) A while back he'd asked me if I'd like a laptop. I said something like, "A laptop? Yeah, sure I could use one, I suppose." He took that to mean I wasn't particularly excited about the idea. But how do you respond to the prospect of an expensive gift when you don't concern yourself too much with having things? I started to think of the ways I could use the flexibility and mobility. Sometimes I spend a lot of time at my computer and I don't get out of the house all day. With a laptop, I could go to a neighborhood cafe and be among people, and stretch my legs with the walk to get there. As I am doing now, sitting in my favorite coffee shop (Stumptown), taking this my maiden voyage of blogging while sitting in public. A month or so after Steve asked me what I wanted for Christmas. "I thought you were getting me a laptop?" He said, "You didn't seem very excited about getting one." We dispelled that notion and now here I am.

I like my HP Pavilion dv6130, Intel inside of course, duo core processor. That stuff means more to Steve than to me, but what I like is the wide screen and the touch pad mouse. For those of you who care: Duo Processor T5200 (1.6GHz, 2MB L2 cache, 533 MHz FSB); 1024MB system memory; 120GB hard drive; LightScribe Super Multi 8X DVD R/RW drive with Double Layer support; Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 with up to 128 MB shared video memory. (I only know that because it's right here below the keyboard.) I worried about the laptop mouse, thinking they looked so fragile and would wear out quickly, but this one has a metal pad. It's so easy to use the scroll bar on the side, and I've learned the easier way to use click-and-drag.

But enough boring electronics talk. A big thank you to my best friend and lover, my sweetest of sweeties. If we had to cut coupons and buy cheap beans to get by, he still would be the best, but it sure is nice not to have those worries, and to receive perks like this.

Let's see, what's been on my list to talk about? This is not my maiden voyage in a cafe, but first for blogging while out and about. My first wireless experience was Friday at Sckavone's. That's my day I get off work early. I hadn't felt hungry around lunchtime, but was ready for a veggie burger or something and they also have happy hour. I hardly ever drink, but sometimes the lark of the happy hour experience appeals to me more than the drinking itself. I noticed as I went to the fish store next door that Sckavone's now had wireless, so it all added up. Later it occurred to me that it's now perfectly acceptable for a person to be alone in such a place, it's not automatically seen as "Oh, how lonely." Now, all one needs is a laptop, and it's perfectly legitimate, really almost required, that you be alone. Not that I worried about such things anyway, but I thought here's yet another way in which computers connect us and bring us in a more public space, rather than than isolate us from each other.

Sometimes mysterious things happen with my new computer. My palm brushes the mousepad as I type, and suddenly the cursor is in a different spot. Or I think I'm nowhere near the pad, but the web page has suddenly scrolled to the bottom. On that day, when I connected to the wireless, my yahoo messenger logged in with me as visible. I never do that, have the settings on 'invisible' and rarely sign in. Once upon a time I did that stuff, and met some people online. They've apparently faithfully kept their eye on me, and I was promptly pounced upon by a young man from Chicago who's sent me dozens of offline messages over the past year or so "You online?" "You there?" I was flattered and while I meant to write some other email, decided to chat with him. A few minutes later somebody else found me too. Here I was trying to eat, telling the one he could talk to me but to be prepared for long silences, that I had stuff to do. Told the other I had stuff to do and made myself invisible again. T. in Chicago talked me into running my webcam. He only could because I wanted to try it out anyway...it's right there at the top of the widescreen monitor. My food came, the webcam sucked my battery dry, and that ended the conversation, 1 hour online. Today I am testing the battery (but brought my cord) to see how long it lasts without webcam. 2 hours and still going.

So T. in Chicago is polyamorous and for some reason really wants me to be his long distance girlfriend. I'm bemused and baffled, why me? I don't know him, he doesn't know me, apparently doesn't read this (though maybe he does and pretends not to). Maybe it's a case of liking the chase. I've pretty much been uninterested in long distance friendships, much less ldrs. He used that term, ldr, and I had to ask what that meant, what with shuffling food, computer, vodka-spiked raspberry italian soda. I've replied several times to his offline messages, said that if he really wants to get in touch with me, he needs to email me. Hasn't yet. I don't understand why some people will never use email, only IM, unless there's something to hide. He was at work. Maybe that has something to do with it.

He tells me he wants to meet me, asks would I ever be in Chicago. In my slightly vodka-spiked state I tell him he is in luck, I have family in Wisconsin, and I wish to visit my Grandma more often as she nears the end of her life. Another present Steve gave me is an upgrade to my Art Museum membership. I now can go to several museums around the US without having to pay admission. When Steve gave it to me, he said, "Now when you travel, if you travel, you can go to these museums. Some of them cost a lot." And I said, "Well, maybe that will be a reason to travel." I've already been thinking of visiting Wisconsin again, my Grandma keeps asking. I could go to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, visit a friend of Steve's, and visit this insistent younger (16 years younger) man, and drive to Wisconsin for family.

I'm not so closed to the idea of a long distance relationship anymore. I still talk to my friend in New York. That's not quite what you could call a relationship, but I'm still waiting and seeing. I used to think an ldr would be expensive, that I didn't have time for such a distraction, that whether friend or lover, somebody that I could see close by was more worth my time. I've lost a lot of my judgements about love and the possibilities of love. Similar to my thoughts on monogamous thinking, I was judging ldrs with the same stamp of monogamous thinking. Maybe some relationships don't take so much effort, maybe some have short sharp bursts of flow, and long slow hidden waves of ebb. Ebb and flow can be very different for different interconnections. As I said to Steve, I've thought perhaps the reason why I persist with Mr. NY is that I don't have to be too serious. Rather than too expensive, an ldr can be an excuse to travel. I am thinking about visiting NY again despite the long plane trip...so many sights there I haven't seen, and maybe I could meet Mr. Paine, or even better, Mr. Paine and his lovely wife.

(time to plug in, 7% battery remaining. 2.75 hours on battery. Hmmm, suddenly the screen is brighter.)

I went to Darklady's Pirates and Ninja NYE party. Not all fun and games (though I did have fun, yes sir)...I got the cloakroom off to a good and orderly start, and met more of the volunteers. Have I mentioned before how gratified I am to witness the willingness of volunteers for these parties? Much harder to get such commitments with peace and Buddhist stuff. ....nothing like sex to unite us all. Make love not war! (I just noticed a guy reading the paper but actually trying to look up my skirt without me noticing.) I couldn't think of a costume, so I wore a sweet new top with see through and velour pattern and skirt, nothing under. I told people that when I can't think of a costume, half-naked works. They liked that. A young woman reminded me later, "Hey, it's the half-naked lady." There were a lot of beautiful big buxom women in kimonos, and dashing, randy pirates. It didn't occur to me I could just do something Japanese for the "Ninja" part. Not that I had something like that anyway. I got into a conversation with a couple of other Darklings about how we couldn't imagine going to a regular party or club on NYE anymore. "What, we can't get half-naked? What kind of boring party is this? Where's the play space?" What if we went and did that anyway? It's not illegal in Oregon, we discussed, just as long as we don't create a traffic hazard. Inside I knew though Darklady's party would still be it, may it live long, because as a large woman, I feel quite welcome and sexy at her parties, and I have made some good friends I could count on in hard times. Oh, and for hard times....

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