O Lord," said Augustine, "grant me chastity and self-control but not yet!" This was, of course, prior to his conversion, but I can relate. And I can also relate to the more modern quip, which for no good reason is sometimes misattributed to Augustine: "O Lord, grant me patience and please hurry!"

While the time frames might seem to be contradictory, these two requests fit neatly together into my present-day existence. I'm not about to make any claim to any particular level of sexual purity: the quantity of wild oats I've sown is surely meager by contemporary standards, but I can't think of it as insignificant or even inconspicuous. On the other hand (a phrase I should probably have changed, now that I think about it), a decade or so of celibacy hasn't been as ruinous as I might have anticipated, and I'm loath to throw myself into a one-night stand just to break the dry spell, simply because that's not really what I'm looking for.

Hence: patience. It's not a virtue I possess in any substantial quantity, as any wayward member of the Anti-Destination League clogging up the left lane will no doubt testify as I whip past at 115 percent of his speed, or lack thereof. Still, when the question of the day boils down to a: take what you can get, or b: wait for what you really want, I'm accumulating rather a lot of b and not much a. As the joke says, the problem with delayed gratification is that it takes so darn long.

Still, if it ain't broke, it's probably not a good idea to fix it. Last night I got a notification from my Web host, announcing some changes to the email system: it was signed, typeface-in-cheek, by "The Happy DreamHost Seemingly-Minor-Internal-Changes-Can-Break-Everything Team!" Yea, verily. Still, there are advantages to the new setup, provided what remains of the old one doesn't come crashing down around their heads or worse, around my head.

Then again, I probably need not worry about it; things do have a way of sorting themselves out in the long run. About a decade ago, a friend of mine, noting that I was living in a fairly crappy Rent-A-Hovel, said, "You know, you ought to buy a house."

"Yeah? Where?"

She indicated a major intersection. "Oh, yeah, right," I scoffed. "Like there's a chance in hell I'll ever get to live in a place like that."

Today I'm four blocks rather less than half a mile from that very intersection.

Maybe I'm not in such a rush to find myself a girlfriend after all.

The Vent

  17 August 2004

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 Copyright © 2004 by Charles G. Hill