Once more I have been tangling with officialdom. I need a Social Security number, if I am to pay my taxes like a good American. So Karen drove me to the nearest office and dropped me at the door and drove rapidly away, like a wise woman would. I made my way to an upper floor and down a corridor and - ah, that'll be it. There, where the populace is spilling out of the doors and you can smell the tension and hear languages for which interpreters do not exist...
There was a touchscreen check-in process, and a ticket with a letter/number combination, and nowhere to sit because every chair was taken, and a screen on the wall ticking off numerous different letter/number combinations. And tickets were called not in numerical order, which led to even more confusion & anxiety, and a rising babble that made it hard to hear what numbers were being called, and they gave very little leeway before "last call" and kaput! for that ticket; and the security guard spoke very little English and no Mandarin at all, while a good half of the population was tiny ancient Chinese women who really couldn't deal, and... Yeah. It was one more of those situations where you just look at it and think "It must be possible to do this better."
So I waited an hour, until my number was called; and got to the window before it was uncalled, and the comparatively nice man was swift and efficient then, and I should have my Social Security number within the fortnight. So.
So then I wandered off down El Camino, and up into Mountain View; and I might've stayed for coffee, and I might've stayed for lunch, and I might've spent all day there. But in fact I did none of those things, I just caught a train and came home to have lunch with m'wife because I like that. And this afternoon has been alternately errands and working, trying to add words to this story of Mars. Adding words is hard, where cutting is easy. It's like pruning on the one hand, and growing on the other; one is external, while the other has to happen from within. Pushing out from the core. Oof.
Soon enough I shall abandon this, and we'll go off to buy comic books; and come back to eat chicken and asparagus and mushrooms and pasta, and make gestures towards packing for Fogcon tomorrow. As with any party, all the news at the moment is the people who aren't going to make it, which is just a string of disappointments, but hey. It'll be a party none the less, and other people will be there. We might even meet some new ones, who will doubtless be just as nice as the absent friends. Just as.