IMR: 1997: December: 09 -- Tuesday, 11:51 p.m.
Our Apartment, Waikiki, Hawai`i
Christ allmighty, I was in a bad mood today.

It didn't help that William -- whose obscenely frantic energy usually shakes things up a bit -- was also a little pensive. Meanwhile Micheal -- half in a daze -- walked around all day with his hair rubber-banded (is that a verb?) straight up like a sprout of broccoli.

By the time Keever's class rolled around, I was viciously grouchy. It didn't help that I was one of maybe four people there who knew what we were doing. Even with an Duplo-esque setup like Claris Home Page, it was a mess trying to get twenty kids to format copy for the web.

I even got snippy with Keever -- fuming that she expected miracles out of software that can barely do <CENTER> correctly -- but bless her soul I don't think she caught it.

Keever hadn't warned the class that we'd be using Macs, and (as expected) everyone had done their work in Microsoft Word for Windows. Since the Macs at the lab didn't have any translators, juryrigging SimpleText was the best I could do for most of them.

Micheal, watching me search-and-replace control characters out of my own copy, decided it was time for a 'why vi is superior to God' lecture. To say I wasn't receptive to hear another soliloquy on Micheal's Obsession of the Moment would be an understatement.

Unable to show off to me, he seized another student's work to demonstrate. He sent it to UHUNIX and went at it in vi, rambling about "replacement strings" and cryptic commands specifically because he knew the hapless student wouldn't know grep from a hole in the ground.

Of course, it wasn't working. I did a circuit of the room straightening other students' work out (as Keever had asked both Micheal and I to assist), and yet Micheal's "expertise" proved impotent.

I finally plopped in and fiddled with it on the Mac, and even without a UNIX prompt got the copy out and into Home Page inside of a minute.

Not that it helped. Microsoft Word's oft-used "fast save" feature means the raw document contains dozens of fragmented revisions instead of a single, coherent block of finished copy. Her story was unsalvagable... but she turned it in anyway.

After all that, flabbergasted that Micheal had meanwhile escaped the entire class without Keever noticing that he didn't have his own article, I popped open a terminal and basically vented at anyone whose e-mail address happened to pop into my head.

I'm probably going to be hearing about that mad rant for a while. Greg and Jaimee, at least, enjoyed it.

As I drove home, I started thinking about my flash of petty ugliness. It was only then that I realized that my overall mood has actually been pretty frumpy for some time now. The fact that my e-mail rant dissolved into more of a 'Venue-related gripe helped put the picture together.

In group dynamics -- yes, goddamn it, I am using CAPS crap to illustrate this -- organizations go through several basic phases, each with common characteristics. Orientation, dissatisfaction, resolution, production and termination. Across these we graph productivity and morale.

Wouldn't you know it, my slowly descending mood fits quite nicely in the "termination" paradigm. (Did I write that? Someone shoot me.)

Except, it's not the group, the 'Venue, that's experiencing termination. It's just me.

I can't lie to myself anymore. This third issue, realistically, is probably my last. Jen's due right about the start of the Spring term, and from that point on I honestly don't think I'll have any time left for anything else besides my family.

No, not even school. Everyone knows I've a snowball's chance in hell at that APT job, though no one has the heart to say so. If I'm going to feed three mouths, chances are come February I'll be Honolulu's most frustrated Kinko's coworker... and that's if they'll even hire me.

So this whole damn week has been one somber monument to endings. My term with the 'Venue is ending. What could be my last semester of college for eighteen years is ending. And without the newspaper or the campus as common ground, some of the few friendships that survived the tumutuous summer could very well fade too.

And I'm angry. Angry that every little thing with this last 'Venue wasn't perfect. Angry that I'm still biting my nails over what grades I'll get. Because if this is the last page of this chapter of my life, parts of it -- frankly -- suck.

Honestly, I am excited (and probably naievely optimistic) about the months to come. When I feel the baby moving in Jen's belly, I want to kiss it and sing to it and promise that I will always be there. Turning from where I sit now to see Jen sleeping, knowing that at this time next year we'll be planning our child's first birthday, I get a warm, swirling feeling that defies description.

Kinko's aprons aside, I know I have a good chance at making my new life -- with the unbelievable support of family and friends -- a wonderful, proud one.

But it still hurts to have to let go of the old one.

Tonight, hoping to clear away some of the gray clouds in my head, Jen and I went to see Honolulu City Lights.

We parked at the municipal lot and walked around most of the Capitol district. All the lights and displays sometimes bordered on tacky, but in the spirit of the season I just took it in and believed it pretty. I did cheer up a bit.

The nativity scene on the municipal lawn was pretty run of the mill. The sign on the fence, though, was the best part:

"This is a privately funded display. No City and County of Honolulu funds were used to construct this display. This display is not an official part of the Honolulu City Lights Program. This display is the property of Door of Faith Christian Church."

My six-page paper on force-field analysis -- Kurt Lewin's application of topological and vector theories to sociology -- is due on Thursday.

No, I haven't started yet, but in an unusual burst of energy, I did make it to Hamilton today to get some references. I'll be up until 4 a.m. writing it, but for once I have sufficient material with which to comfortably bullshit.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 9 December 1997 · Last Modified: 10 December 1997