LAID OFF. Today I walked into my work, on two hours of sleep and with a lot on my mind. I walked out a few hours later, with no job. I am shocked.

But, the fact is, I am also gleeful. I never liked that job. In fact, it might be fair to say that I loathed my job, and at best it brought out the mediocre in me. And now I am free, free, free, with a some severance and eight months of unemployment to get me by. And my comrade was shooed away today too; on the phone we talked about the prospect of having lunch together and NOT being depressed. All I can think is: Finally!


Recommended reading: a new Get Your War On has been posted, and has anyone been reading The Onion's ongoing coverage of Operation Piss Off The Planet? If you haven't, you should.


Lately I've been dreaming about betrayal. I guess a better description is that these dreams are less dreamlike and more nightmarish, or at the least, anxiety-laden, but I don't know why. The catalyst is a mystery; the best guess I have so far is that I have all this wonderful love in my life and a subconscious that's afraid of fire. I let these dreams go; they're never particularly illuminating.

But last night I had a dream about a lost friend, from a set I knew in college. I think that, for a while, unreliability seemed edgy and interesting to me; I dated and befriended those who couldn't really trust themselves. That's mostly gone now; everyone in my life is as solid as a rock, and I love it. But in my dreams, I sometimes return to these friends, who'd freely hit on my crush, or write a mean song about me (the ultimate dig in indie rock). It seems so childish, and at the time I just reacted with bafflement and distance. I wasn't like that to them.

Do you ever think about themes in your life? Because I like the idea of writing books, I sometimes think in themes. For instance, my car accidents are a theme. Not an ongoing theme, I hope. Or I could write a book about the moments when a relationship was wrecked. Then there are themes of responsibility. Themes of activism. Patterns of flaws, if you will. The expressions of family. And there was this flirtation, from age 17 to 24, with those struggling not to betray themselves, and betraying me instead. I wouldn't have been betrayed, of course, if I'd never trusted anyone. But for some reason I liked trusting people who seemed so great and yet had so little loyalty. I think I liked that they flouted standard conventions of friendship, and hoped they wouldn't do it to me.

Thankfully, I also made friends during that time who were, and still are, people who are endlessly and truly my friends. That's the emergence of adulthood for you, I guess. A slow dawning over time that one can abide by the conventions and still be interesting, still be an artist. I've come to think now that you can even be a better artist, a more interesting person, when you have the stamina to delve in and stay.


I have been sick, these past few days, with a cold, and cleaning for this weekend's visit from Blue's parents. But even being sick has its benefits. Home early today for being too dazed to work, I watched some daytime TV and then hit the road for a walk. A coughing, sneezing, sudafed-dosed walk, but still. Storm clouds were slowly rolling in by the time I bought two books in an antique store (back to themes: Ghost Towns of the West and Classic Diners in the East) and found a new ice cream store nearby. One decaf cappucino later, I ambled home, where Blue soon arrived with a bouquet of flowers. Lucky doesn't even begin to describe it.


War and Peace

In the mid 90s, I remember agreeing with Jean Baudrillard's provocative postmodern treatise The Gulf War Did Not Take Place, in which he posited that, among many other ideas, the war was not a war. It was an attack by the U.S. (what's more, for those on this side of the media, it wasn't real, it was hyperreal...but that's a story for another day).

The current Western invasion of Iraq seemed, last week, like a cruel and idiotic attack, as if by a big dumb bully intentionally toying with a tough little country that deserved better. This week it seems more like war. Baudrillard might agree, for even the media coverage seems a bit more measured and subdued; even more realistic, perhaps, than the last Iraq invasion. Or perhaps it's just going much worse. The "shock and awe" campaign has failed miserably. Iraqis are not fleeing the country (there has been a grand total of 14 refugees since the war started). The country does not seem like it is disintegrating, and Saddam is clearly alive and well. What's more, young American soldiers are dying in combat, and it's not clear why. I can't believe the "Support our troops" argument is still being made; obviously to support one's troops is not to lead them into dangerous and pointless combat.

When Saddam Hussein said, "We will make this as painful as possible for them," I believed him. What happens when the troops get to Baghdad? We will slowly be drained of money and human life over the next six months until political pressure and memories of Vietnam force Bush to pull out? Or worse, there's always the "downward spiral into global war" scenario which keeps being floated and which, at this point, seems quite viable.

Count me among the worried.
Last weekend we drove to my hometown in upstate New York, where we chatted with my grandma, hiked with my parents, and saw my brother perform in Fiddler on The Roof. We heard wonderful news from my childhood best friend (hooray Jessica!) and traversed Rochester's lonely downtown, watching the brown and flooded Genesee River roar past us on its way to the High Falls. Elly didn't get into his first choice college, but will probably accept the offer of admission to his second choice, which is happy news. A good time was had by all, I think. It takes a while to get used to being with your boyfriend and your parents/sibling at the same time, but last weekend it felt natural. This coming weekend, his parents will visit us for the weekend, so we'll get a chance to switch roles. And in the meantime, lots of cleaning!
Addendum/Continuing Best of the Web update: Dave Barry writes about working with Steve Martin to develop his Oscar night monologue.
Steve Martin's invitation to Dave:
Hi Dave, it's Steve Martin.

I'm hosting the Oscars this year and am trying to put together a team of geniuses to help me write it. Here's my question: do you know any? HA! I'm wondering if the idea appeals to you at all. You, me, Rita Rudner and a few others. Best Oscar monologue ever. California. Tickets to the show. Fame.

I know you won't do it, so go (bad word) yourself.



It Gives Me Hope
Things I saw on the drive to work this morning: the melting of the great ice floes on the sides of cut rock that edge the turnpike out by where I work. Water rushed through ice stalactites in a loud harmonic kind of glory. Overhead, for the second day in a row, a great blue heron moved through the sky, looking more like a prehistoric animal than ever, its legs extended behind it in a smooth glide, soft huge wingbeat, the head on top of the body rather than out in front like other birds. Taking in the landscape. Driving onto Rt. 9, listening obstinately to my Fleetwood Mac CD instead of NPR War news, I noticed a hawk hunkered down on a highway light, chest feathers ruffling a bit in the wind. I am so grateful for these birds. It must be the first full day of spring.
Also, I found this bit on New York Post's Page Six (yes, yes, I keep up on celebrity gossip, and yes, it's bad, I'm plenty shamed):

While President Bush was on TV announcing the first missile strikes on Iraq Wednesday night, his predecessor Bill Clinton was having drinks with Whoopi Goldberg and other friends at the Hudson Hotel. Clinton and company considered going to the Hudson penthouse to watch coverage of Bush's address on the TV there, but he opted to stay in the cozy confines of the hotel's Library Bar, spending much of the time talking excitedly on his cell phone.

It just makes me feel good to read that, you know? I often wonder what Bill is doing in the midst of all this, watching the wealth and prosperity and environmental care and global unity that he worked so hard to cultivate being brought down and destroyed from end to end, and sometimes I imagine him kind of depressed. His wife and daughter are busy, and he had that whole impeachment thing happen, and now this. It just seems lonely. Plus, Whoopi Goldberg is clearly a good person, and I like that the two of them hang out. I can just hear her now: "Well, Bill, you did what you could. You can't blame yourself." Bill: "You're right, but some days I...I just find it hard to go on." W: "Just hold your head up high, Bill." Sigh. And it gives me hope, too. Those two are a couple of smart cookies. Maybe they'll have some good ideas. Whoopi in 2004?

Here's hoping.


Back to the Surreal, but is it the Hyperreal?

This U. S. Department of Laughs page [click me] has been making the rounds lately because it is so darkly funny, and it really expresses what it's like in America right now. We really don't know what's going on. We didn't even elect this president, and now we're being told to be vigilant, to buy gas masks. People are dying and no one is quite sure why. And for safety we're offered a web page with little graphics that don't mean anything.

Anyway, I don't want to take up the Web with more noise today. But I keep being drawn to the images of war on the Times website: a fighter jet in night vision green, the orange smoke of a launched missile, a building on fire in the dark. After all the rhetoric and propaganda, after all the little images that translate to nothing real about subways, tall buildings, or your children, this is true and real.

These are images that indisputably mean something.


Nice work, kid

Site of the day: Who would make a better president: George Bush or a box of Tic-Tacs? An objective and helpful quiz.

My brother got into college yesterday. I'm so proud of him. It's a good school--his second choice!--and he hasn't heard from his first choice yet, so things are promising, and he feels good. Of course, I still feel stuck in my familial role of being the only person thinking strategically and aggressively in his interests, and seem to be fully expected by my parents to be as or more involved in this process than they are, which is exasperating.

The events of this year have made me realize the need, more than ever, for simple acknowledgement. If you acknowledge the work of others in your office, but are never acknowledged, you slowly lose motivation. And if you acknowledge the efforts of family members, but are never thanked, you get detached. Last spring, when Peaches and I were in Costa Rican rainforest, we walked a grueling 10 miles on a Pacific beach, in hot sun, carrying heavy packs, until we got to the ranger station where we were to set up camp. This walk included me nearly passing out twice, mind you, and him lovingly finding me shade and food, not to mention verbally coaxing me through the second half of the day. I don't know what it says about our relationship that he is more acutely aware of my physical limits than anyone else has ever been in my entire life. It was an amazing walk, too, us navigating the rocky coastline, sometimes hip-deep in ocean water, often surrounded by pelicans. About halfway, we found a whale vertebrae washed up on the beach. As we got closer to the center of the park, there were monkeys in the trees just a few feet above us; finally through the worst of it, and suffering from mild heat stroke, I clambered out of my pack and into the Claro river to cool down only to find myself surrounded by fancy lizards and crowds of curious hermit crabs. That walk is a good thing to do on your six-month anniversary; I recommend it.

Anyway, once we got to the station, we collapsed, and showered, and changed, and watched the sun set while sitting on the wide wooden porch of the ranger station. While we were sitting there, him rubbing his feet, me struggling to regain my sense of humor, we watched hikers come in to the field, soaked with sweat and eyes glazed from exhaustion, throw down their belongings and look triumphantly around at the local workers and fellow hikers, clearly expecting a congratulatory welcome. The problem was that no one else was impressed, since every person there had done the same walk. Eventually the triumph would fade from the face of the exhausted hiker, and they would drag their pack off to set up a tent and crash.

This phenomenon happened every day of the four days we were there, and it would make us giggle every time; not meanly, but in the spirit of mutual understanding. It also made us learn to turn to the other person and say, "I acknowledge you." From time to time throughout the trip, he would do something hard and good, or I would do something hard and good, and then we'd get acknowledged by the other person. Our hurdles are more domestic now because we have a household together, but that actually means that acknowledging the other person is even more important. I read recently that the path to a good relationship is smooth only when "thank you" and "I'm sorry" are in serious overuse. I believe it, and what's more, I think that principle can be extended to all parts of life.

Anyway, today, I acknowledge you.


BECAUSE REALLY a poet has nothing better to do than look at you.

It's so incredibly beautiful here today and so warm that it's actually surreal. The coastal Northeast air hasn't been anywhere near 72 degrees in so long. Somehow, war seems almost more sick and threatening now than it did all winter, when it was so cold and barren. Can we really be bombing innocent people tomorrow, just because an arbitrary deadline has passed? Why March 17th? Can it be true that we've closed the window of diplomacy, meaning that there is no place for cooperation anymore, no possibility for consensus? And in my name, as an American? I feel so powerless and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

However, I did find some little treasure on the web today. On one of my two favorite total-stranger blogs (mr. trinity) I noticed a quote from the speech that poet Eileen Myles gave at my graduation from Hampshire College. After the ceremony, I remember asking my parents, "Wasn't that speech wonderful?" and my dad, himself a poet, saying, "I thought you said not to pay attention to the erotic lesbian poet..." which, ashamedly, I did. I like poets, having a poetry habit myself, and I like erotic lesbians, too. It's just that I wasn't sure what kind of keynote we might get from this particular erotic lesbian poet, and I figured my parents had enough to think about, what with me moving back home with them, and having no plans at all and about $40,000 in debt, etc. etc. But then her speech turned out to be a wonderful gift, something that made me feel better about the world I was poised to enter, and something I could remember over and over on those nights when I lay in bed, my stomach tight and mind racing, worrying about what was to come.

And then today, of all days, I should find her calm and questioning speech, quoted by a blogger whom I read regularly and respect. And now you can find it too.

"This is a nice place. It must have been nice to go to school here. It's a beautiful place. The thing I found about being outside of college, is that you have to figure out when everything stops and starts. You walk into the bank and you get in line. You may not like it, but you stay. You don't have to. You go into a restaurant and you get a cup of coffee and the coffee's bad and you get up and walk out. You go home and you call a friend. Then you think, I wish I called someone else. One day you're standing in front of the Eiffel tower and you think this is great. It is exactly the way I expected it. I had that feeling at least once in my life. Some things are utterly satisfying. The Taj Mahal on the other hand was a total disappointment. India was not. But the Taj Mahal was not so good. Life is so incomplete. College isn't. It isn't at all. It's just you."


"See a poem is a tiny institution. I just write lots and lots of them, and it gives me a way to be in the world. It's actually a very worldly job, there really isn't a wrong place to be, a poet kind of goes with anything, any kind of decor, indoor, out. Presidents like to have poets next to them, we're sort of like a speaking wreath, the kind of poet you pick tells the kind of president you are, the hell of dating or marrying a poet is that certainly we will write about you, so if you don't want to be seen, don't date a poet, anyone should know that. Because really a poet has nothing better to do than look at you. A poet's best friend is her dog, because instantly the dog will take the poet on walks, the poet is like the earth's shadow. The sun moves and the poet writes something down. I felt so happy to be invited here by the class of 98 that I bought a new suit. I guess by now you've gotten the idea that I am your poet."


"I hope you all find yourselves sleeping with someone you love, maybe not all of the time, but a lot of the time. The touch of a foot in the night is sincere. I hope you like your work, I hope there's mystery and poetry in your life--not even poems, but patterns. I hope you can see them. Often these patterns will wake you up, and you will know that you are alive, again and again."

Blogger's template isn't updating for me, by the way, and hasn't been for a while, which is why those lists on the side seem so bored. Those lists are bored to tears. We're actually at #38 on the movies; 38 was Jacob's Ladder (wow), 37 was Long Walk Home (another wow) and 36 was Eyes Wide Shut (we'd seen it before, so we knew it was a love supreme...).


Also, you know that TV ad for Tyson beef where that little tiny girl gets on the bus to head off to kindergarten, and she's so tiny and so proud of herself, and she's wearing a brand-new skirt? And the announcer intones, "Before you know it, your little girl is all grown up" in his most comforting voice? That ad makes me cry. Almost every time. Tyson beef. Me. Cry. Lifelong vegetarian. Crying. Little girl is all grown up. But still so tiny!

See note on consumer culture, below.


Gilded Lily

God, I have thankfully been re-educated on the subject of diamonds, via the wise postings of Bonnie, and cannot recommend this 1982 article in Atlantic enough. There are a lot of sickening things about the diamond trade, but it helps to keep track of the most sickening, and warn others. Without even touching upon the blood shed by diamond miners, it seems hard to believe that the whole diamond market hasn't been shut down for shamelessly price-fixing. De Beers, with many stage names, carefully controls a world market in which diamonds are plentiful, but not for consumers.

Worse yet, in a culture that embraces a constant sense of lack and longing in a consumer incomplete without an endless supply of brands, products, and ads, De Beers preys on love. They even gave lectures at high schools in the 1950s, "teaching" girls what to expect.

"Candies come, flowers come, furs come," but such ephemeral gifts fail to satisfy a woman's psychological craving for "a renewal of the romance," N. W. Ayer said in a report.

Especially awful given the fact that there are so many beautiful materials that could signify love (not that we really need a material at all). Pearls on a ring don't seem to have as ruthless a reputation, and I'd say most antique glass looks better than a diamond. Colored antique glass is gorgeous, and you haven't been manipulated to believe it should cost you two months of your salary.


Massachusetts, meanwhile, is shaped like Tiramisu

Today scientists herald (and dispute) a great new finding: new data chronicling the universe suggests that it may be shaped like a doughnut (click for excellent Times article; free registration is so worth it). That is so classic, because doughnuts are the one thing I have really been working to avoid, and man, they are everywhere. Anyway, I like thinking about our big fat doughnut universe as much as anyone, but then I got to this quote: "There's a hint in the data that if you traveled far and fast in the direction of the constellation Virgo, you'd return to Earth from the opposite direction."

Mmm. Try to wrap your little pea-sized brain around THAT one. Actually, I get significantly better results if I don't think about it too hard. I find that if you just accept that sentence at face value, then certain things suddenly make plenty of sense. Like time travel, for instance. And THAT means that the doughnut theory could potentially resolve a wierd phenomenon I have been experiencing for at least a decade! Here it is: In the middle of a project, when my functioning brain is completely absorbed with the task at hand, suddenly, into my head, out of nowhere, pop 3-D scenes from my past, but only in terms of place. Let me explain: yesterday, working on stupid computer. Meaningless, idiotic, imbecilic work. Suddenly, every detail and smell of the cavernous second floor of the Rundel library in downtown Rochester is filling my head. I have not been there or consciously considered the place since I was a teenager, and yet, it is exactly as if I was there. I can see the light through the old windows, and hear every sound of my shoe echo off scuffed stone walls. And it's just a flash, out of nowhere.

Today: same thing. Strangely enough, again, I am working on very boring project. An image suddenly flashes into my brain of the mammoth walls of my elementary school, inside the wide corridor that leads to the gym. The places are always empty and nearly silent, but that was how I liked them best when I was young.

Does anyone see where I'm going with this? Do you understand how, if the universe is a doughnut, or maybe a mobius strip (although no one except me has actually introduced that as a possibility), I might re-encounter the vivid past quite frequently, especially when tremendously bored at work?
Well, me neither, I was just asking.

If you like headaches, consider the following quote a personal gift from me to you.
The Times writes:
"The simplest of these compact universes is something called a 3-torus, a doughnut wrapped in three different dimensions. This object is essentially impossible to visualize: it is the equivalent, in a way, of a cube whose opposite sides are somehow glued together. In two dimensions it works just like the Spacewar screen."

(Spacewar being the name of an early video game in which spaceships dove off one side of the screen only to immediately appear on the other side of the screen.)


All I knew last weekend was that I needed an adventure. Everyone must tire of responsibility at some point, and just wish they were remarkably wealthy and endlessly foolhardy, satisfied to lie around and take drugs all day. I don't actually want to take drugs all day, but I occasionally want something so fantastically new that it scares me, and drugs is an easy grab at that idea. Guns is another one. I remember Ilana and I, walking around Hampshire once with a feeling that went well beyond cooped-up, simultaneously expressing a burning desire to shoot guns. Not people, just guns. Big guns. Shoot them.

Anyway, we didn't, and I didn't take any drugs last weekend, either. In fact, we kind of did the opposite, because, you know, we're high on life. We packed up the car and headed off to Western Mass., to the Montague Bookmill ("books you don't need in a place you can't find"). Light through big windows, quiet inside and outside an icy waterfall. But it was fifty degrees and we saw a hawk outside, and a real bluebird. Lots of good books but I got sucked into one in the Art section by Carole Gallagher on the nuclear arms industry in this country: lots of portraits of people exposed in the middle of the century. A different kind of West: one marked by birth defects or miscarriages, slow-growing cancer and horrific, poverty-stricken deaths. In the prologue, she notes that photographer Dorothea Lange kept the following quote pinned to her darkroom door:

The contemplation of things as they are,
without error or confusion,
without substitution or imposture,
is in itself a nobler thing
than a whole harvest of invention.

-Francis Bacon

I like that. Downstairs we went, where one young woman was introducing her friend to the cashier. "Have you met Cedar?" she asked. I grabbed the other Cedar and we giggled like long-lost sisters for fifteen minutes as we recounted our experiences with the name, our family history and common parental values. Not only is she currently a student at my alma mater, but she has the same advisor. She's great. We are the first Cedar either of us has ever met.

And then it was off to the mountain town of Brattleboro, Vermont before heading home, where I regaled Blue with more ideas on the differences between men and women and he found a Dremel for $20 in a thrift store. Lots of discussion about whether or not we could live in a small mountain town (we could). More Examination of the Relationship while eating subs at Frankie's Pizza, which I found only after searching my insanely hazy memory. A new book at Target claims that Cancer-Cancer relationships are a "treadmill that's going nowhere," but it actually described my past relationships better that it described the one that I have with Peaches. We actually AREN'T both desperate for attention and validation and feeling generally emotional and possessive...that's just me. Furthermore, what the hell does that mean? What treadmill doesn't go nowhere? I have decided that he isn't a true Cancer, like my brother and I are, and therefore our treadmill is definitely going somewhere.

It's so cold again today. At least the 'Net can help those of us who can't go outside but really hate March indoors. KC sent me this page of VW ads, especially piqued by the Bubble ad, which I find as moving as he does. Especially the end. Because nothing really happens.

He also brought my attention to this: http://www.germanystinks.com (aka known as francestinks.com) which is so annoying I am not even going to link to it. Dumb Americans.


Oh, the Irony

In the mail yesterday, floundering around in a confetti of coupon inserts, Valu-Pak envelopes, and chinese take-out menus, I grabbed hold of a small card I'd made out to myself six months ago while standing in the dentist's office. After four fillings and a root canal, they'd made me promise to return in six months for a cleaning, and maybe a crown. I liked them, but I didn't really intend to come back. The office is near my office building, in a small town I never would have visited were I not offered a job there. I was getting all that dental work done within a month because I was fairly certain that I and/or the company would not be around come springtime. I figured I had a good three or four months of insurance and salary before it all came crashing down, because I worked for an Internet start-up in the year 2003 in the United States, which meant a.) we were in a recession and everyone was losing their job and b.) Internet start-ups are so passe, not to mention c.) I had no idea when this company would ever be profitable.

Well, a.), b.), and c.) are all still true, but when I got that card yesterday reminding me to pay a visit to my happy dentist, I didn't scoff like I thought I would. In fact, I was smirking while originally filling out the card, very sure that I'd get a nice hearty laugh upon receiving it, at which point I would surely be jobless, insurance-less, and as a result, toothless. I figured I'd have to burn the card for heat. Or maybe fashion some nice paper dentures with it. But no, bizarrely, here I am, still with this company, both of us having stuck it out for, at least, the coldest winter.
Speaking of teeth, my godson got his first two teeth, two crooked bottom front teeth. They just came in, so I haven't seen them yet. But isn't it amazing that someone could be born in August, and by the end of February have teeth? I mean, he was just a receptive little smudge this fall, who barely had muscle control. Now he's practically a man. I'm so proud of him.
When I was in my first year of college, my (then) friend Aaron and I thought it would be cool to build a transistor radio and broadcast pirate radio to our campus. We knew a guy named Peter, who was British (or maybe Canadian; kind of all the same thing anyway) and liked to solder things together, like robots. Mostly Peter liked robots. Anyway, he helped us figure out how to take one of those Radio Shack microphones that broadcasts to radios within ten feet, and amp up the wattage, so that we could at least get to all the dorms within our range. Not, of course, before the three of us had some fun on the road, driving around and giving "Satan's Broadcast" into the mike while tuned to some popular local station. I'm not sure we ever actually accurately guessed the station that some poor driver was listening to and then drove close enough to interrupt their programming, but we were dorky enough that the idea was nothing short of hilarious.

Anyway, once we finally got the thing running, we were amazed by how little of value we actually had to say. Our friends thought they had something to say, but really, mostly, they did not. The sad news is that we still broadcasted for a while, and strangely, people listened. What's more, they also watched, for two years, the weekly television variety show we broadcast on cable access. Looking back, I think people were kind of mesmerized by the oddity of our media productions, and they were also bored on that small farm-based campus. A high point was when we collected change from all of our pockets, and had people call in if they wanted the ten dollars or so we'd amassed. We challenged our callers to come down and work for the cash, and one guy came to the station to eat, on air, as much beef jerky as we thought funny, before pocketing the money. Really, we were nothing more than a very nerdy, self-obsessed co-ed indie rock frat, now that I think about it. And would you believe that I co-taught a class in advanced media theory for two years after that?

Anyway, I am having a similar problem with the new Audio Blogger. I want to use it, but I don't have anything to say.


A case of the Mondays

Last night: I wake several times to the sound of wind shaking the entire house, apparently at its very foundation. The sound screams through rattling windows as the walls actually seem to sway. This morning I scrape the sleep from my eyes, walk downstairs on icy floors, and try to get ready in time for work despite an overwhelming desire to crawl back into the flannel sheets still warming my bed. After a lovely cold breakfast of vanilla yogurt and banana, I'm out at the car, struggling to open the door, which has frozen shut. When it finally does open, it won't close again, which is how I came to drive 30 miles on the thruway with the driver's side door tied shut with clothesline. I would have used bungee cord, but it was in the trunk, which didn't respond to my many attempts to open it until the car was completely warmed up....which happened while I was driving, on the thruway.

March 3, ladies and gentlemen. Only 18 more days until spring.