Saturday, April 2, 2011


I sprained my arm on Sunday (it's almost well now) so I had to go to the doctor this week. As part of her examination, Dr. Julie asked me what I do for a living. Tech writing. "Do you write on a computer or a typewriter?"

Seriously. She meant that as a real question, I know because I double checked. It was weird because just the weekend before I had shown a friend the writing process I use, which involves an IDE, a specialized kind of XML, some HTML, a content management tool, a source control system, a Java archive file, some bug-tracking software, an editor in India whose time zone I need to coordinate with, and two different review sites. The outputs I produce are for websites you can view on mobile devices. Nowhere in any of this is paper, or even anything resembling paper. And I'm pretty sure they don't make typewriters anymore.

But for one lovely black-and-white film noir moment, I pictured myself stacking a neatly-typed manuscript on my desk, then just reapplying my lipstick before ringing for the messenger boy to deliver my latest pages to editing. (Which is downstairs, not in India.) I have no idea what instructions I would write (I only know how to write about software) but I do know the whole scenario involves me living in New York City, where some sort of thrilling crime is about to occur.

Anyway. I'm supposed to be writing a paper, my last before graduating, right now. I'm also supposed to be reading Pale Fire, the book that makes me truly understand all the ways in which I dislike Vladimir Nabokov.  But whatever, I'm not.

Something I've wanted to write about all year is the incredible beauty of the Bay Bridge that's being built. I drive past it ten times a week, half of those at night, and each time it takes my breath away. There was a newscast that my friend Wendy hates in which a warning was issued, "The new bridge is being erected and drivers are cautioned that it will be very beautiful, so do not look." Wendy thinks drivers that are too stupid to keep their eyes on the road deserve exactly what they get, but I adore this warning.

At 10 o'clock at night, when the streets are relatively empty and lately, rain slicked, and I'm tired because I've been up since 6:00 AM, first at work and then at school, the approach to the gorgeously lit, super-saturated white first column is nothing short of inspiring. A work of art dangerous in its beauty.

Okay, now I need to go write a paper in order to graduate.