And I don’t want that boy’s candy

Jun 23 2006

I’ve had a perfectly wonderful day.

It was frustrating, and confusing at times. Software refused to function at work. Hardware was sullen, too. Some folks were their normal prickly selves, and I had several dull security briefings.

But at lunch I had fried shrimp and a big peanut butter cup sundae. I came home and watched two episodes of Eureka 7, which was enjoyable (though it’s still finding its feet) as I ate some delicious leftover chicken and rice stew. I then tidied up a website, made some phone calls, had nice long chats with friends, and now I’m reading the first book in the Melendy series.

To give you an idea of just how good of a writer of children’s books Elizabeth Enright is, here’s an excerpt from the chapter in which six-year-old Oliver is spending his Saturday at the circus, and is interrupted by a sharp little voice nearby calling out, “I want some of that candy”:

“Don’t bother the little boy, Marleen,” said the little girl’s mother in the kind of weak, uncertain way that no self-respecting child pays any attention to.

“I want some,” repeated Marleen through her nose. She meant business. She was a very little girl and she had a pointed chin, dark eyes, black curls as stiff as cigars, a blue hair ribbon, a gold ring, and pink stuff on her tiny fingernails. Oliver detested her. He looked coldly away and went on eating his candy.

I think we’ve all met people like that.

I’m feeling good because I think I’ve turned a corner, psychologically. I’ve been spending some time—not a lot, but actually spenidng time—on things that are really important to me. Well, first, I had to figure out what is important to me, and that takes some doing (it’s not just what’s important; it’s what’s important to me, personally and uniquely).

And I’ve let a lot of other things slip, things that I had a lot of emotional stake in even a couple of weeks ago. I let the garden go to seed, metaphorically and literally.

…And the garden went to seed. How about that, I’ve been saying to myself. I have a garden that’s gone to seed. Nobody’s disappointed in me for it. It hasn’t made me a bad person. In fact, I feel more alive, somehow.

It’s come from realizing that, while I want a whole lot of things on a surface level (a clean house, a beautiful yard, a full savings account, etc.), those things aren’t important to me, not deeply. What is important is, well, getting home and watching a bit of good anime, cleaning up the works I’ve put out in the world, maintaining my friendships, and reading good books. Among other things, of course, but why should I spend my time wrestling with a computer’s configuration when that’s just not important to me? Why not drop it and find something else important to do?

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