A few weeks ago Daughter cavalierly noted that she wouldn’t be around for Friday pizza, and I reacted with mock outrage intended to mask, and reveal, mild disappointment. She overreacted slightly to my slight overreaction, and equilibrium was reached. I think I may have noted that I was seeing things through the inevitable degradation of rituals and traditions - just as there was no more piano on Friday, with all the end-of-the-week celebratory pleasures that entailed. It’s part of life! Now we have new traditions, like you LEAVING THE HOUSE EVERY WEEKEND AND RUNNING OFF.
Kidding, of course. You have to play out the ropes. and the child has to learn not to run so fast the rope burns the dockhand’s palms. The last two weeks she’s sent texts from work saying I could order the pizza after I picked her up and we could have pizza and then she could go do the other stuff after. Ah hah. We have raised a deft negotiator of the Shoals of Teendom. Got that text again last Friday; rolled into the parking lot at quitting time, and called up my Dominos app, since that’s what she wanted.
Ugh. It hadn’t saved my state. Of course, I’d updated the phone’s software, so I had to log back in. I tried. Wrong password. Tried again. Wrong password. Maybe not; of course you only get ******* because the NSA may be training a spy satellite over your shoulder. God forbid they offer an option to SEE your password, with the requisite ACCEPT / DECLINE box that warns you about the consequences of actually being able to see your password. I opened up 1password, my global PW manager, but here’s the thing: my master password on that program is usually entered via muscle memory. If I think about it, I don’t know it.
Three attempts; fail. Augh. So I went back to the pizza app and sent a request for a password change, but since that went to gmail, I would have to wait for gmail to forward it to my main account. I HATE THE MODERN WORLD! I JUST WANT PIZZA!
While I waited I reentered what I thought was the password, and it worked. And now I’m in a completely different state of mind: what a world of miracles and marvels! I touch this rectangle on the glass and the standard pizza order is instantly conveyed. Another button paid for it. A bar popped up to tell me the progress of my order.
So we drove towards the Dominos location. Experience has taught me that it takes five minutes longer to make than it takes to get there; it’s about 14 minutes to make it, and 9 minutes to get there. I filled up the gas tank. Looped around the block. Pulled up in the lot as the progress bar went all red, meaning it was ready, and as I looked through the window at the warming table where the orders are stored, I saw the cook deposit the exact configuration of boxes that comprised my order.
I LOVE THE MODERN WORLD ! I HAVE PIZZA!
A fine weekend, and yes I say that often - don’t think I don’t know it, and don’t think I’m not grateful I can say it. But. Two trips to Menards. Once to get two dusk-to-dawn socket light-things to replace a busted unit that hangs off the garage. To replace that would require Wiring, and that means going to the fuse box and flipping switches until I find the right one. (“Label all the fuses” is one of those things I intend to do before I need to find the right switch, and something I instantly forget once the job is done.) Well, I took out the bulbs and put in the d2d switches, and made the slapping-the-dust-off-my-hands gesture to indicate the job was done. Later in the evening I noticed that one of the lights wasn’t on - but as I looked at it, it popped on. Ah, well, it was dusk. Hours later I went out to get the mail, and the light was off. Then it popped on. Oh, so it only works if I glare at it. I can’t stand out here all night and glare at a pole. So I figured it wasn’t working for whatever reason, and while I am generally keen to know what that reason might be, I didn’t bother this time. Just go get the electrical thing that requires wiring, and use this opportunity to figure out the fuse box!
Or just turn it on in the evening and off in the morning . . .
No. That is going backwards. Nothing that has been automated shall be allowed to become manual again.
At Menards on Sunday I got some Mr. Clean and a scrubbing brush with a long handle, because my wife wanted to clean the garage floor. Why? Because there were a few hours on Sunday that had not been packed to the bursting with Useful Activity. I was also tasked with cleaning the rust out of the toilet bowl, which I did, but not enough: if you got on your knees and looked up you could see some. I noted that the only person likely to see that would be someone vomiting in the guest bathroom and it was unlikely they would care. It might give them some comfort, knowing they were not despoiling a pristine bowl. But since she knows the rust is there, it will bother her, just like I know an imperfect filing system for a large collection of scans or music MP3s will bother me, until I forget about and move on to the next imperfect thing in this world of decay and rebirth.
So the garage floor is clean and since Mr. Clean came scented with Febreze, it smells like Febreeze. The other options were Lemon Fresh, as opposed to Lemon Stale, and Pine, which is great if you want the room to smell like a mental institution from 1962.
After dinner daughter bade me to drive her to the grocery store. She bought Oreos, and then cut up the white frosting to make different phases of a moon in eclipse. Up to the water tower hill to meet her friends. Quite the gathering: must have been 50, 60 people on the hill, watching the moon slide away.
In the last few minutes when there was little of the sunlight left - I know, I know, moonlight, but moonlight is sunlight; if it’s actual light then the guy in my mirror should be paying rent - the crowd fell silent, waiting. A few babies crying. The whirr of a shutter. The (sigh) flash of a camera, yeah, that’ll help. Stupid moon has red eye! I thought I had it on the setting that kept that from happening. You imagined it was like this long ago, but with tremulous fear. Eventually there was the knowledge that the moon would return.
But for some, long ago, they had no such expectation. What relief they must have felt.
And it wants its morning back:
Well, no. It's called . . .
IMDB calls it “Portentious,” but rote realism might be better. Non-actors non-acingt. In fact, the imdb credit just has Glenn Ford, the narrator, and "The People of Portland." They have no other film credits.
This cheerful little day-brightener assures you that when nuclear war starts, your local Civil Defense people will be on the job microfilming property tax records. But we'll get to that. We start in the home of Mr and Mrs. John Ordinary:
Jane Ordinary is ignoring the front page news; oh, they're always having a crisis. If it's not Berlin it's Suez. If it's not Suez it's Cuba.
The crisis is bad, though. We see Authorities striding with grim duty into Civil Defense HQ to make a TV speech:
I cut it off there because A) that may have been the point when people started to pay attention, and B) I forgot to trim the clip. In case anyone did hear it, and was freaked out beyond measure, the screen has words throughout the show to reassure you and confuse the living hell out of you at the same time:
AND YOU'RE TELLING US WHY AGAIN EXACTLY
When they say the People of Portland, they mean The People:
In mid-twentieth-century Portland, gambling dens, brothels, and unlicensed bars operated virtually uninhibited by police as long as vice racketeers paid scheduled kickbacks to key city law enforcement officials.
Schrunk was elected mayor with Teamsters union support, allegedly in part because the incumbent Republican Mayor, Fred Peterson, offended the union when he wouldn't oust Police chief J. Bardell Purcell. The Teamsters felt that Purcell impeded their drive to open a wider vice business in Portland.
Huh? More controversy at the link, which seems to dwell on corruption charges and problems with the Kennedy brothers. (RFK testified against Schrunk in a hearing.)
Anyway. We see the nerve center of Portland Civil Defense, which must have seemed quite futuristic - comforting in one way, disconcerting in another.
The City Fathers and workers are on hand to coordinate, with differing degrees of excitement:
When the order is given to evacuate, people do so promptly. Or perhaps someone really cut a ripe one:
Lex Luthor is handling the smooth transition to underground government:
. . . and a representative of the Planetary League is helping with starting up the underground fusion reactors.
The city attempts to empty out . . .
Oh, that's easy to find.
Back at command central, they wait to see if the bombers drawing near will drop their bombs.