I’ve not written in a while, busy with life’s pesky curveballs as I have been. I came back today, inspired by poetry and a train that was on time, and I thought I might write.
October has been a dreary, Dickensian creature, full of changes. The surf has been excellent, though. Strauss at the symphony was a lovely punctuation to the rest of the jagged month.
Everyone was aflutter about the elections. I have been carefully avoiding all news. There’s enough angst to go around without a helping of the eternal clash between us and them.
I read a beautiful book called the Somnium. It names the constellations, the celestial bodies of motion, and the fixed stars. It has been a balm. I don’t see the stars often these days, but the descriptions are vivid enough that I remember how they were spread out on sky’s awning, once when I had been standing in the porch of my childhood home.
I need to plan a mini-vacation for Thanksgiving, though I am not sure where to go to, yet. Perhaps it will be as simple as a sort on flight prices, or down to some national park that can be driven to. I also need to see what to do for Christmas this year.
Friends from Japan visited last week. We entertained and were entertained, until morning broke. Now I remember what drunk feels like, after quite a long abstinence.
We used to work together. So when they talk about pure lidar-landmark localization in urban gps-scarce environments, I listen and regret, because regret doesn’t leave even when I know I did the right thing. What have you been up to? I am asked. I’ve left it all behind. I was a stowaway that popped out of their world (my world once) and showed up to work in non lethal applications of my domain. Almost everyone I know work in the field though, and it makes it hard, each time, when conversations take me back to the places I loved to be, to the problems I loved thinking about and working on.
It’s fine. I thought I had the stomach to ignore the callousness and the greed in the field today, cutting corners everywhere to raise funds and to beat up exec-board approval, garnering millions in stocks. I couldn’t look away from the obstacles we gleefully filter out, from the ambiguous operating domains, and the sheer lack of sincerity when it comes to algorithm development and status reports. I’ll go somewhere else, where I won’t be able to directly damage living things.
Deserter, my old friends tease me. I came to work with them out of academia, full of brimming hopes, keen to save the world in many ways. Late nights, long weekends, tinkering about in a car on tiny consoles where debugging meant wrist pain and sore eyes and a bad back. I miss that, working with good people on problems we cared about equally.
There’s no sunlight in the new building, glitzy as it is. I miss the sun. Between warehouse chic and daylight savings, I shan’t see much until April. Everyone I go into meetings with is married and has kids. It has been horrendous and hasn’t helped my existential angst any. It is the first time I am working in such a place. At least, they have good tea. How long-
Maybe one day. Maybe soon. For now, I’m a stowaway on a ship that’s headed someplace else.