It’s been nearly two weeks since my last substantial (non-Duck & Cover) post. Much time has intervened.
I would like to sum it all up, but I can’t.
I have finished reading all of David Foster Wallace’s published work. I have had Thanksgiving with my parents for the first time in 11 years and with my parents and parents-in-law simultaneously for the first time ever. I have gone to work seven times.
I have seen what I consider to be two Important Movies. You should see them too. One is The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, which I saw on Saturday in Fresno. The other is The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which I saw last Tuesday in San Francisco. The latter was a special advance screening for a movie that opens on Christmas, so you won’t be able to see it all that soon. I think these movies speak quite eloquently for themselves, but I found both of them to be powerfully moving in the context of modern America.
We may not have censors that you have to get your work by, but no one is just out there making movies about modern America. You have to make a movie about the Holocaust or soft science fiction about reversed lives to make a real movie about America these days. And maybe that’s okay, as long as people are paying attention.
But the screen that is moving people the most today is this. Go ahead, click the link, it won’t bite. It’s a view of my workplace, 24/7, in high-def live streaming webcam. So if you’re ever wondering how I’m doing on a workday, wonder no more.
The most insipid feature of this relatively simple website is the web-chat banter just below the camera view itself. Here, tens to hundreds of people who know little or nothing about San Francisco or the Tenderloin talk about our street corner like it’s their own obsessed-over reality show. It’s unbelievable. And maybe it’s easier to take for people who didn’t grow up making jokes about their life being The Truman Show or who don’t work in view of a popular webcam, but it’s all made my day (the day I found out about it, i.e. today) a little surreal.
What’s really amazing is that this person who unwittingly moved in kitty-corner from Glide knows nothing about the agency to which I’ve devoted nearly three years of my energy. In fact, on his at least somewhat amusing FAQ, he describes our region of his baseball-diamond-world as “Meth Church: The place with awnings by second base. It is apparently a Methodist church.”
But that’s really back on us. Because not only is he (Adam, of the block) probably already exceeding us in web-traffic (his site has been carried on local TV and radio news in the past week), but he would probably have no good way of knowing that Glide is more than a Methodist church without some substantial research. Because our website is amorphous and contradictory, as is our general presence in the community. Now, granted, the meals line that is nearly circling the entire block should give the guy pause, but that is just out of his narrow picture.
(Interesting editorial self-referential factoid: the mini-celebrity “Leroy” referenced frequently on this guy’s site seems to be the same person as “the random-number generator” I discussed in this post almost 50 days ago. It seems this guy has a destiny. Also, that’s not his real name [somewhat obviously].)
It’s hard to predict the future of this little window on my world… whether I will be here longer than the screen or vice versa, and which will make a bigger impact. I’m pretty confident that Glide will outlast the webcam, but these are unpredictable times. Confidence is perhaps always overrated.
Meantime, I’ll do a little dance for you on the way to or from work. Probably from.