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~Thursday~  I was back to my regular schedule this morning, catching the 8:15 bus, and I still didn't notice any of my named characters aboard. This is crazy!

At the next stop, a lady got on whom I've talked about in the past, but whom I haven't yet named. Until now. Cigarette Saver is usually smoking (hence her given name) and as the bus comes into her view, she usually makes some attempt to stub out her cigarette in such a way that she can save it for later (hence her surname).

I don't have an issue with saving a cigarette for later (as nasty as the logistics of it seem to be), as I'd probably do the same thing if I were a smoker considering the price of the things. What I do have an issue with is how the snuffing out is carried out if it affects, or potentially affects, other people.

As we pulled up, Ms. Saver snuffed out her cigarette on the wooden bench that's at that stop, which alone is bad enough, but she mashed (love that Southernism) it into the sitting surface of the bench. That's just plain classy with a "k." Klassy.

There was a young lady sitting in the same row as me, but across the aisle, whom I wanted to hold up as an example to everyone of how to talk on a cell phone on a bus. I couldn't hear a word she was saying, because she was speaking at a volume appropriate for a public space. In fact, for the first ten minutes or so, I didn't even realize she was on her phone. Look everyone; this is how you do it.

I was sitting two seats ahead of two guys talking to whom I so wish I were sitting closer. It was one of those frustrating situations, at least for a yenta, where you can hear just enough snippets of the conversation to wonder what is being said in between them. At one point they were talking about a roommate of theirs, snippets of which I caught:

  • Yeah, he needs some help.

  • The house needs so many things and he's not helping with any of them.

  • I think he actually slept outside the other night.

  • Yeah, it's a good thing alcohol doesn't freeze.

  • Man, I'm gonna go home during lunch today and talk to him. Something needs to change.

My heart skipped a beat a little a couple of stops later when someone got on who could have been Grumpy Boy. However, he was in a heavy coat with the hood pulled up over his head partially blocking his face, so I couldn't make a positive ID. The bottom of his jacket covered up enough of his pants that I couldn't tell if they were hanging off his butt, and that cast further doubt on his identity. In a court of law, if they said to me, "And do you see the man known as Grumpy Boy in this courtroom today?" I wouldn't feel comfortable pointing and responding, "Yes, that man right there."

Someone pulled the cord for the stop by Zaxby's and before the bus pulled forward after dropping him off, I saw him out the window walking up alongside the bus—it was Sci-Fi Fantasy Man! Thank god at least one character is unequivocally back!



In a 12:30-1:30 meeting, my colleague and friend Jen and I met with the professor of a class we're both taking for the Spring 2010 semester. It's a graduate level course in the Master's of Technical Communication program (of which I'm an alumnus and in which Jen is currently enrolled) called Social Networking and Technical Communication. Jen's taking the class for credit this semester, and I'm auditing it.

Dr. Dicks reviewed his proposed syllabus for the course, and we talked about different assignments he might require specifically to teach about creating and maintaining corporate wikis, blogs, and Twitter accounts (Oh, my!), all of which have become rhetorical devices for corporate technical communicators.

Later in the afternoon, we had our regular weekly 1.5-hour working team meeting at which I had an outburst that created some very uncomfortable minutes for the three of us, but fortunately did not preclude us from getting through the things we wanted to cover in the meeting. Believe me, I've done a lot of reflection about what happened, including hovering above the scene while replaying it and paying particular attention to my character's actions and reactions.



I left work late, catching the 6:30 bus home. The ride was uneventful—and as expected—none of my characters were aboard (except me, of course), since it was so late.

At home, I was very cognizant of the time slipping by as I wound down, made dinner, chatted with Robert and played some online Scrabble—all the while thinking, "I should go to the gym," "It's not too late," "I should be at the gym," "I really don't feel like going to the gym," until I finally admitted to myself that it wasn't going to happen this evening. Not a part of myself I enjoy.

My Mostly Social Book Club has had a short flurry of e-mail exchanges over the past couple of days through which it has come to my attention that everyone but me has finished Three Cups of Tea—and loved it I might add. I'm still on chapter four, and I'm not loving it.

During the exchanges, one of the other members said, "John, I also had trouble picking it up, but I'm almost done with it now. Excellent book." That, and the fact that our meeting is coming up in two weeks, motivated me to get off the grid a little early tonight and and do some reading.

I finished chapter four, and got right to the end of chapter five before I found myself drifting off. Perhaps I need three cups of coffee to read Three Cups of Tea. But I digress...

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