Tuesday, May 30

1) In keeping with my annual theme of "Murder is so relaxing at times of stress" during the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, I snatched up my rarely-read copy of Raymond Chandler's The Little Sister. Not quite in the same league as The Big Sleep and The Long Goodbye, it's nevertheless a riveting read. And Chandler's use of language just gets me. "She wore a hat that had been taken from its mother too young" is just one example.

2) I forget quite how or when a discussion of fear of heights came up at the office recently, but it reminded me of my own childhood acrophobia, and how my father dealt with it. In the early 1970s, the Old Hometown decided to turn several blocks of the main downtown shopping street into a pedestrian mall, with all sorts of built-in features like a pavilion and (of all things) a clock tower with a second-floor balcony.* One night we were downtown with another family and everyone but me wanted to go up the clock tower. I was quite happy to wait downstairs, but after a minute my father came back down, marched me up those stairs, and made me run, and then walk, along the periphery of the balcony.

I remember it being very embarrassing - but it did the trick. Years later Daddy said how bad it made him feel to do that, but I reassured him that the outcome was beneficial.

3) I've been awake since 4 AM. The last three days have been nothing but Pops seating, and this morning a group of colleagues will begin stuffing ticket envelopes with me. Right now I just hope I stay awake through it all. :-)

*When I was much older I learned that this had been a last-ditch effort to Save Downtown from the New Mall. Being the early 1970s, everything was made of gigantic panels of dark woodwork set in black metal. The whole effort was a failure, and decades later the street was finally restored.