One morning this week, I scooted myself into Proper Driving Position, shivered hey, it's cold outside, even if "outside" is inside the garage and turned the key. The usual V-6 noises presented themselves, and as I buckled myself in, I made a perfunctory check of all the warning lights.

Except for BRAKE, none of them were on.

Which means that whatever happened five weeks ago to turn on the infamous "Service Engine Soon" lamp my engine gets serviced at regular intervals, thank you very much, and I resent the hell out of this big yellow eyesore apparently wasn't happening anymore. I turned my eyes toward the sunroof and said, quietly, "Thank you."

There are times, though, when I find my lack of faith disturbing. It wasn't too long after this quasi-divine intervention about the time I verified that the bulb was not in fact burned out, in fact that I started wondering: What's this gonna cost me? Is the blessing going to be followed immediately by a curse?

The next two bills from the gas company will surely rate plague status: December was unusually cold, and January, so far, has been even more so. But the real body blow came on that Friday morning, when Trini turned in her notice.

She'd been with us for three years, doing the hardware maintenance and occasional programming/network chores; she also filled in for me on occasion. (It says something, surely, that she could handle most aspects of my job, which is extremely specialized and highly stressful, while I couldn't even begin to do hers.) Her dislike for toxic environments is at least equal to, and perhaps greater than, my own. However, I've had the time to develop some measure of immunity to this sort of thing. She hasn't, and she's enough of an idealist to believe that it's possible to run a workplace without one. Certainly she wasn't having much fun.

Now I'd been dreading this moment since about twenty minutes after she walked in for the first time. (See "lack of faith," supra; were I actually dating someone, I'd already have imagined the end of the relationship, up to and including the proceedings in divorce court. I am nothing if not pessimistic about such things.) We were never cut out to be a couple, and we knew it, so neither of us made any moves in that direction; I figure, my life is winding down, hers is just getting started, and if our paths happened to cross, it was purely coincidental. Not exactly Fritz Perls, but eminently justifiable, I believe.

And so I went into Poor Me Mode for a while, tweeting the following:

The Brave Face is about to dissolve into a whole lot of sorrow. It's my own fault, of course.

Which got me some quizzical responses on private channels. I'm pretty sure it's not my fault that she's leaving; it is, however, my fault that I'm acting like a lovesick fifteen-year-old.

And believe me, I know whereof I speak.

She'd also mentioned that she'd gotten a new phone, an LG. By coincidence, that day I'd gotten, for next to nothing, an LG-branded Bluetooth headset. Stereo, yet. I offered it to her for slightly more than next to nothing; she insisted on paying me something more than that. She's just that way.

And it's probably a good thing that there wasn't a ring in the box.

The Vent

  9 January 2010

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 Copyright © 2010 by Charles G. Hill