Saturday, August 06, 2005

I feel like Randy Waterhouse

I feel like Randy Waterhouse. Like any kid, I wanted to be Hiro Protagonist. Hell, I'd have killed to be even Da5id, or Case. But after all these years, I've come to realize that I do not relate to any other character more than Randy Waterhouse. Including the "I-don't-want-to-be-known-as-a-geek" syndrome and the absolute lack of any social graces or skills and the stupid urge to be an entrepreneur. Not to mention my ability to attract Charlene's and yearn for Amy's. In fact, Epiphyte Corporation exists, but does not exist. Actually, Epiphyte Corporation does exist, but not entirely in a material form. Umm, that is not true, either. The metaphysical abstract version of Epiphyte Corporation exists in several forms (some imaginary, some real). Either way, immaterial (nice pun, don't you think?) of what form, everybody's either trying to get a piece of it, get rid of it or get rid of me. And lately, it's been a combination of all of the above. On the bright side, I'm yet to meet an Andrew Loeb, but I'm fairly certain that there are several Andrew Loebs in the making. Hopefully, none of them will decide to acquire hunting skills. I need an Enoch Root. I really, really do. And then, I'm surrounded by people. Well, we all are, but I'm surrounded by people. Some are like Avi, which is nice, but most are like the Dentist. And it's quite safe to say that I do seem to meet many versions of Chester who've airport hangars from my ideas. None are in Seattle, but several are in California. The worst part is, some are building those airport hangars right as we speak. Or I type. Whatever, you get the idea. Worse yet, some might even convince me to build them more airport hangars in the future. Scarily enough, I just might. I did get out of college with an incredible knowledge of computers, but am not too sure about the girlfriend part. Actually, I'm - but I just wouldn't tell you. Wait. Scratch that. What the hell, I'm still in college. It's too early, but am fairly certain of the outcome. Umm, yeah. Like Stephenson said, knowledge of Unix and a girlfriend are mutually exclusive. And Randy is fairly socially graceful than I'll ever learn to be, so no guesses there. In fact, my graduate thesis work is alarmingly similar to that of Randy, even. Just that I study swarms. Bee swarms. Ant swarms. Things like that. And try to understand and apply them to new-fangled geeky things that I pretend to understand. I'm yet to meet America Shaftoe, but there have been many Charlenes (or whatever the hell passes for them these days - you know, the kind that publish papers on beards). (Completely offtopic, today, we'd all gone to a Reds vs. Marlins game. Maria remarked that underneath the nice geeky professional gentleman persona probably lay hidden an aggressive dude. Sorta like the kind Amy and Randy find Charlene to be - which made me catatonic for a while. Just so you know, the answer is no.) Coming back to Charlenes, there've been way too many of them in way too many versions lately in my life. Wait. I should rephrase that suitably, but I'm too sleepy to care. The point being, there are two kinds of Charlenes in my life. The first is the annoying-academic kind and the second is the annoying-girlfriend kind. Fortunately, I've been smart enough (so far, at least) not to go in for combinations of the two. The former kind has ensured that I'll never get into academia in seriousness unless something terrible happened (i.e. become a liberal hippie, go mad, get married, marry a professor, start watching Julia Roberts movies and things like that). And the second has ensured that I'm definitely staying clear of that region of spacetime continuum for a while. Yes, you're wondering how a guy who uses girlfriends and spacetime continuums in the same line can actually get a girlfriend, right? Don't worry, if it makes you feel any better, I got stood up on today (actually, I also got a girl sitting on me later today and she was not even a stripper, but we shall not venture there). And then the question of Dwarves. Randy is lucky that way. He's a Dwarf. A metaphorical one. But I'm a real one. If you do not know what I meant, you must not know me very well. Which is just as well.

“… Charlene's crowd most definitely did take it personally. It wasn't being told that they were wrong that offended them, though -- it was the underlying assumption that a person could be right or wrong about anything. So on the Night in Question -- the night of Avi's fateful call -- Randy had done what he usually did, which was to withdraw from the conversation. In the Tolkien, not the endocrinological or Snow White sense, Randy is a Dwarf. Tolkien's Dwarves were stout, taciturn, vaguely magical characters who spent a lot of time in the dark hammering out beautiful things, e.g. Rings of Power. Thinking of himself as a Dwarf who had hung up his war-ax for a while to go sojourning in the Shire, where he was surrounded by squabbling Hobbits (i.e., Charlene's friends), had actually done a lot for Randy's peace of mind over the years. He knew perfectly well that if he were stuck in academia, these people, and the things they said, would seem momentous to him. But where he came from, nobody had been taking these people seriously for years. So he just withdrew from the conversation and drank his wine and looked out over the Pacific surf and tried not to do anything really obvious like shaking his head and rolling his eyes. …”
But that's not what I'm talking about. See? You really must not know me very well.
"The parking lot of Novus Ordo Seclorum's office building is filled with cop cars, and BMWs and Mercedes Benzes that Randy assumes belong to lawyers. Avi's Range Rover is parked jauntily on top of some landscaping, and a few TV camera crews have set up, as well. In front of the building's main entrance a lot of people are jammed into the smallest possible space screaming at each other. They are surrounded by ring after concentric ring of cops, media, and law-firm minions--collectively, what Tolkien would call Men--and a few non– or post-human creatures imbued with peculiar physiognomies and vaguely magical powers: Dwarves (steady, productive, surly) and Elves (brilliant in a more ethereal way). Randy, a Dwarf, has begun to realize that his grandfather may have been an Elf. Avi is a Man with a strong Elvish glow about him. Somewhere in the center of this whole thing, presumably, is Gollum."
Anyway, the thing is, I see Wizards and Elves all the time. In fact, I've seen so much of them that I want to get away from them. When you are a measly tree that's forgotten how to walk, seeing Elves and Wizards, or worse, Valars and Maiars can be quite depressing. Randy realizes that his grandfather was an Elf, or maybe even a Wizard. I've an uncle who's a Maia, but whom I'm beginning to realize might be a Valar. It's worse. Way worse. And then there is Gollum. Several Gollums, many of whom may translate into Andrew Loebs. Scary, don't you think? The worst part is, I know that they are Gollums. In fact, they might even be Orcs, but I just do not care or seem to care. Which is way worse. The problem with Orcs, Gollums and variants thereof is that they seek power. Primarily in the form of money. The problem with going after only money is that by itself, money isn't worth much. And often times, the end does not really justify the means.
"We're businessmen," Avi says. "We make money. Gold is worth money." "Gold is the corpse of value," says Goto Dengo.
A lot of times, the corpse is not a stupid metaphor that Dr. Kivistik would come up with, but rather the corpse of a lot of things, and one of those things include Athena. And sometimes, you have to make a choice about having a river of gold or having Athena. And unlike Randy, we cannot have the luxury of having both. Funnily enough, this started out as a rant and has now wallowed into a philosophical rambling on pointless things. But sometimes hope springs eternal. You know? I might not find Golgotha or Amy, but I'd like to try anyway. At the very least, the ride across Middle Earth would be interesting.