Friday, February 27, 2009

Overheard today

"I don't have to work tomorrow. I'm just going to sit on the couch with the wiener dogs and just be happy."

Now, there's a guy who's got it figured out.

Paradise by the Dashboard Light

Today I face the fact that all of my motivations are external. I'm sitting in the auto dealership having my car "serviced", though I suspect I'm the one being "serviced" in a metaphorically awkward way, if ya know what I mean. (Don't worry if you can't quite parse that last bit, that's why RobotsandEggs is a family blog.) I'm here watching the tumbleweeds blow through the showroom because my dashboard showed me a yellow wrench icon to tell me it was time for an oil change, transmission filter, and other crap I could probably do myself if I invested in the right tools and had the time and a paved driveway. Turns out I'd rather sign over my credit card so I can drink a Coke* and give You People something to read. So it's a win-win situation.

So back to my motivations. My car told me it wanted a diaper change, so here I am. My laptop wanted an anti-virus update, so that's downloading as we speak, as is a windows update. Since that doesn't totally choke the dealership's courtesy wi-fi, my browser told me it's feeling old and wants to be replaced by a younger version, so Firefox 3.something is downloading as well. Like a a Watcher from the Highlander TV series, I am here to "observe and record, but never interfere". Maybe I'll get a cool tattoo on the inside of my wrist. A temporary tattoo, needles make me yincy.

Firefox wants to restart and install itself. I hear and obey. Depending on how it goes, I may or may not be back. Wish me luck.

...and back. Nice and smooth, just like an automatic update should be.

So back to my motivations. My email is another powerful source of impetus. Not the spam (shudder), but I get plenty of new ideas, suggestion, requests, and assigned tasks for work through email. I should be using Thunderbird instead of Outlook, but Mozilla hasn't told me to switch, and when I asked Microsoft, they said to hold off until Bill finishes wiping out malaria, so I'll drop that into 2010's tickler file and move on.

I lie awake some nights wondering what would happen to me if I didn't have a job, a car, and a computer to guide me through my day. Realize, of course, that the influence of these pale in comparison to my wife, daughter, and cat, but life without the latter three would be too grim to contemplate for long. I suppose I would revert to satisfying the primal needs all humans have, but I just can't see being wrapped in a bearskin, hunched over a fire at the mouth of a cave gnawing on the roasted haunch of a beast I slew with a big stick or a rock. All but the roasted haunch part kind of clash with my sense of self. Besides, if you try any outdoor burning in The People's Republic of Carrboro, they'll haul you in for Environmental Assault before the match hits the ground.

So back to my motivations. How long could I go without initiating any action on my own? Would anyone notice? Heck, would *I* notice? If I took just one day, and did nothing but what I was told, suggested, or asked to do, what would be the result? Now here's a thought that frightens me: Would my life be better or worse? In the interests of science, I've gotta try it. It's too good an idea not to.

*First Coke in two weeks. I gave it up in interest of my calorie defecit**, but the vending machine was out of water so I took it as a message from The Almighty that I could have a pass for being good to my car.

** My next blog post will be about consumption, coming soon to an interweb near you.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Queens are good people

So last December I sent a Christmas card to Queen Elizabeth II. She's still working hard at 82, and I thought she'd like to know that those of us on this side of the pond were thinking of her. Yesterday I received a nice little note from Sandringham House, where Her Majesty spends the holidays. Royal Post, Air Mail no less, with her own initials on the post mark.

I guess when you're (deep breath now) "Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas Queen, Defender of the Faith, Duchess of Edinburgh, Countess of Merioneth, Baroness Greenwich, Duke of Lancaster, Lord of Mann, Duke of Normandy, Sovereign of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Sovereign of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Sovereign of the Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick, Sovereign of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Sovereign of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Sovereign of the Distinguished Service Order, Sovereign of the Imperial Service Order, Sovereign of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India, Sovereign of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, Sovereign of the Order of British India, Sovereign of the Indian Order of Merit, Sovereign of the Order of Burma, Sovereign of the Royal Order of Victoria and Albert, Sovereign of the Royal Family Order of King Edward VII, Sovereign of the Order of Mercy, Sovereign of the Order of Merit, Sovereign of the Order of the Companions of Honour, Sovereign of the Royal Victorian Order, Sovereign of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem." you get to have your own post mark. How cool is that?