[[ This is a response to my letter - click here to see it. ]]
I thought I was obliged to make this letter a little homier. (letters shouldn't be written in pencil, should they?) I enjoyed your letter tremendously - crossouts and everything.
You even cleared up, once and for all, many nagging conundrums regarding the usage of the English language. The days of the week are capitalized, of course!, except mondays; they don't deserve to be capitalized. I must admit, I have so many ... (let's see, i before e except after c) deficeinceis in my English spelling and grammar. I will never misspell avocado again, nor will the sandwich ever taste the quite the same again.
You are now in Mexico ... possibly suffering from some alimentary perturbation. Jon, I laughed all through your letter, and was pleasantly reminded of what a good friend I have in you. The end of June sounds like a splendid time. What I might do is officially take 2 days off 27th, 28th, and unofficially leave at noon on wednesday for the drive down. Will that be enough time to ease you back into the culture, the sedentary state of stagnation? You'll become a sessile creature once more. At first, you'll revel in the opportunity to rest, to stay in one place long enough to unpack your possessions and watch the grass grow. But all too soon, you'll recognize the numbing effect of permanence - the novacain of security - and how travelling forces you to be alive. Yes, it will be a shock to you, but the shock is in the transition, not inherent in any state by itself. Whether travelling or not, the capacity for vitality is always present, and I think you will agree with me that stagnation or boredom is in the eye of the beholder. Your mind is a smörgabord of spices; you are free to flavor your days in whatever way you are courageous enough to try. I think we're all travelers; some of us just don't go anywhere. Enough goddamn philosopy; I have much to talk with you about later.
As George would ask me, “How's your love life?”. I received a nice letter from Norman after the letter-reading campaign we celebrated together. I hope to see them again before too long. Now, in the area of attending younger brothers' weddings, I am an expert. It's like this, Jon: no one will look at you and shake his/her head in bewilderment or pity; rather, they will make such comments about your younger brother as “It sure took him a long time!” or “I don't know what he waited so long for!” etc etc, or they'll say straight to your face, “I didn't think your brother was ever going to make it.” Got the picture? It's ok, just help yourself to all the cookies and champagne that you want. There are, to be sure, subtle come-backs and things you can do to seek sweet revenge; we can discuss these at length at our leisure (i before e ...?) (stupid rules).
An old college friend of mine that I've known since 1972 (at Humboldt) came down for a 3 day visit in mid-February. Part business trip, part pleasure. He's been working for Aetna Ins. as a safety engineer for 9 years. They just gave him 3 months notice; they're cutting way back in the northwest where he is. He's thinking of law school and asked me to write him a letter of recommendation. The reason I'm bringing this up is that our 3 day visit together wore me out, and I wondered how people can live like that day in day out. I'm like you - I seem to need periods of solitude. We were up at 8:00 and out all day and night till midnight. Don't get me wrong, I had a great time, but I was also glad when he left - and that was just 3 days. I know what you mean about Alan.
Things are moving right along at work. The current UNIX group leader (an older man of ~60 you may recall having met) is leaving at the end of this month. Guess who's taking over? I don't know if I can handle it, but I said I'd try - thinking that if I could stick it out for a couple months, they may be ready to hire a qualified candidate such as yourself. Don't poo-poo it right away, Jon. COBOL's not so bad once you get past the ENVIRONMENT DIVISION (or is that ENVIRONMENT-DIVISION?).
I am going to be taking a weekend excursion down to Ojai, Ca. in the middle of May to hear & see Krishnamurti speak. I saw a film of his life shown at the Civic Auditorium. Very interesting fellow, but he thinks too much. I think there is something in common we share in looking at the world, and that is why I am attracted to his teachings. I don't feel so alone.
Enjoyed your story about the child in the train, innocence is a virtue difficult to get over having lost.
Your great uncle in Minneapolis is an example of how age can bring with it a clarity of vision. What the hell are they (computers) good for? They create a big snowball that employs a large number of peons to keep it turning and growing. Plus, they're a long awaited scapegoat - a devil for the agnostic. It's late Jon. I'm stalling out - don't the gumption to face a new page. Later ...
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