February 16, 1998


I couldn't sleep in the morning, which was odd, considering just how much sleep I'd been behind by the night previous. But I woke around 10:30 and couldn't get back to sleep, mostly because I was thinking through all the things I might need to do in order to meet everyone for waffles and check out and what I might do with my stuff. Some of it was also just that my entire body and my knee ached badly, and even when I tried to lay down to go back to sleep, the pain mostly just made it impossible to drop off. Some part of me still wanted to sleep some more, but finally gave up as the rest of me went into action.

Which was likely wise of it. I called Carl, confirmed the plan, that everyone was meeting in the lobby at noon, and then showered, packed, checked out via the TV, and got down there at noon. The showering and the other stuff seemed to help loosen the knee up. I stood there for a while, and then called Carl's room and Gretchen answered, saying that he'd be a little while, but that he said that I should find Donji and lure her to waffles with us. Earl showed up then and told me that Cera and he were talking with Donji for one last little bit. So I passed on the message that had come from Carl through Gretchen that they should lure Donji to waffles with us.

Cera showed up then and I remembered that I only had seven silver dice and still wanted three more, so I left my stuff with Cera and Earl and bounced over to the Dealer's Room and bought three more silvers. I met Donji in the Dealer's Room as well, and so asked her to waffles as well, but she said that she was going to sacrifice breakfast to the Con and walking around and talking to people before driving home and falling down and going to sleep for a long time. A fair tradeoff, I felt, especially with how tired I was feeling. I called Bryant at about that time to tell him what the plans were, and he said that he could fit within those plans, which were basically to go to breakfast, for Gretchen and I to go with Carl to help him buy a television, and then for us to all meet at Carl's. Bryant did ask if he could make it to waffles, but since we were leaving nearly immediately, both of us were pretty sure that he couldn't. I did leave him the option, at that point, to let Carl drive me to SFO, but he was sure he wanted to come get me.

So the five of us went to breakfast and it was entertaining and as good as usual. I had the has with eggs and half a waffle. It's surprising how little space a waffle can actually take even when I'm feeling mostly full. That was fun. We also got an entire pitcher of fresh squeezed orange juice, which was sweet, tangy, and filled with pulp and a few good seeds. I enjoyed that a lot, and actually drank more of it than almost anyone, near the end of the meal as it was evident it wasn't going to all get drunk. It was really good.

We then sent Cera and Earl back to their car at the hotel, said our goodbyes. Carl then asked Gretchen and I if we wanted to help him by a television, so we said, "Sure!" Gretchen, on the most part, by this point had to be poured from one way to another, but when we actually got out to look at TV's at Circuit City and we got her out of the car, she was as focussed and sharp as ever while we were actually comparing things. That was cool to see that someone else has that same self-modifying switch to just override physical exhaustion when something interesting comes up. We looked at quite a few TV's, mostly in the 32" size range, as Carl wanted something big, but not projection TV size, and something that his chair would still be about four screen heights away from, so that the line scan wouldn't be readily visible.

It was a fairly minimal requirement set. But then we saw what was likely the top end Sony television right next to a middle-range one and realized exactly how much of a quality difference there was to the TV that was priced at nearly twice what the other one was. There was absolutely no flicker to the picture, the colors were sharp and clear, and then the sales person demonstrated it to us, happily. When the Wall of Video went up Gretchen and I both went Oooooooo... the present picture was live in the center of the screen and about twelve baby screens were situated all around it and were updated every few moments. You could move a cursor around the ring and switch to that one at any time, but it was very keen to see that many channels all at once.

All of us thought Carl should likely get that one, but we found out that it was going to take two weeks before he could actually get it, so the instant gratification side of things wasn't going to be met. Ah well. So, instead, we decided to visit The Good Guys and see what the price was there.

While Carl was debating the TV setup, Gretchen was showing me Palm Pilots and I've been intrigued by them a lot, especially with the usage that Kathy gets from her Newtons and the fact that the only reason I was lugging my laptop around anymore was for the addresses, phone numbers and the like that I had on it, and it would be fare more cost and weight effective to have a Palm Pilot instead. Okay, okay... so the logic isn't really that strong. It was just interesting to think about getting another toy... but one that I don't have to type into. I haven't had wrist problems with writing, the way I've had with typing, so that was a possibility.

So Carl encouraged me to spend as he was spending too. But Gretchen knew about better prices on the Web, and, indeed, the mail order prices are nearly $50 less than in the store. So I may well do that when the bonus checks actually come in.

So we spent plenty of time, and The Good Guys could deliver it in four days, rather than two weeks, so Carl bought his TV there, along with a stand that he gets to put together before the TV actually comes. I'll likely get to see it the next time I'm down in San Jose, so that should be good and fun.

By the time we were done and got back to Carl's it was nearly four, which was the end time of when Bryant said he was going to be there. I brewed some of the golden oolong for Carl and Gretchen and we had some of it before Bryant showed up about fifteen minutes into my margin time. As Carl said, the margin's not there to be deliberately used up... but as it turned out that margin was just about right. So we all bundled all my stuff into Tabitha, whose trunk swallowed everything right up, and then I said goodbye to Carl and Gretchen and then hopped into Tabitha myself and Bryant roared off.

The Jetta is a very, very sweet car. Bryant admitted that part of the reason he had been very sure that he would drive me was because of the new car, and the excuse was a fine one to also get to spend 45 minutes with me, which made me blush, of course. The sky was gorgeous, all clouds and sun and rain and wind and then bits of blue, blue sky. There was one point where we suddenly came into a heavy rainstorm while bright sunshine fell on us, and, of course, a brilliant rainbow showed itself. That was very beautiful.

We got to the airport with my one hour before flight time cushion intact, and when Bryant offered to take care of my luggage things because of my knee, I said that I'd be fine. So he took me to my word and I happily wandered into the terminal with my easy-roll bag. I love the things with my knee the way it is, it means I can do luggage without making someone else carry it. That's cool.

It was also good that I got there as early as I did, as the only seat choices left were center seats, so I just asked for a seat near the front and got row 8, which was very nice. I checked the bag because the flight was full and I didn't want to bother with wrestling it up and down from the bins, especially with 100's of other people doing the same thing. I got seated near last, and promptly fell asleep. Woke up for sandwiches and drinks and then we were over Portland and starting our decent into Seattle.

John was there to greet me, and he was half laughing as I walked to him. Turns out there was a girl waiting at the same gate, who had dyed just a few locks of her hair bright red. Her eyes had just bugged out at seeing my all-green hair, and she'd stared at me the entire time I was walking to him. I was also slightly more aware of all the eyes on me than before. Not a bad thing.

Turned out, after we got home, he hadn't eaten either, so I made up a batch of the spinach fettechini with some cream, a bit of Italian ham, and a thorough sprinkling of real parmesan. It was fragrant and hot and delicious. So we ate quickly and then went to sleep. Sleep was very, very good.

© 1998 by Liralen Li.

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