Deal Me In

This page written circa 22 June, 2000.

For those readers who do not know, the USA runs what is lovingly called the "Green Card Lottery". In this exercise, about 55,000 families per year are given green cards, the right to work and reside in the USA, for next to nothing. The program aims to bring diversity to the country, and so only countries whose citizens are under-represented here are eligible, and although the distribution is by lot, the number from each national pool is set. To enter, you simply post in a 1-page letter with photograph and simple details, and to be eligible you need only to have citizenship of an eligible country. As I mentioned recently, Billy Connolly became an American because Pamela Stephenson won a green card in this lottery.

Now it happens that Australians are under-represented, and few of us come to hear the details of the lottery. I would not have known but for HP sending me a letter saying something to the effect of "please enter, you might save us $35k of legal processing". Anyway, Kay and I entered. Knowing there was some interest, we emailed Deb and Andrew and Vicki and Ian.

Well, as you may have guessed, I have won a card. Ironic, this. Vicki would love a chance to work overseas. On the other hand, I have the right to work anywhere in the EU through my British passport already, plus I have a company willing to do the legal work for me to obtain the same here in the States anyway. Poor but enterprising Vietnamese are drifting hopefully across the Timor Sea to Australia, Chinese are dying to get into England (literally), and I win the frigging lottery... where's the justice in that? I ought to be ecstatic, but it just seems silly.

This last month we spent a week in Boston, I for a conference and Kay and Meri for a vacation; we saw Dominique; Kay's friend Ann visited a couple of times (she has moved to Sacramento); I got a promotion; Danny is confirmed to be here in Santa Rosa for 6 months, much of that time with us, and we are looking forward to his company and his green thumb; There have been several serious parties, an afternoon at the movies and plush meals courtesy of Agilent, on account of booming business. At 2AM one morning, unable to sleep, I worked out the solution of the third Harry Potter book that I had only 75% read, right down to working out who did it and how the agent provocateur had worked out what was going on (which involved both the character-you-did-not-know-existed trick and the fact-hero-knows-that-you-do-not trick)... which left me quite chuffed. I managed to bicycle all the way to work this week without coming to a halt on the big hill. However, it does not feel like an exciting month... busy, but not exciting.

Why not? I think it is because I have not, in all this, felt that envigorating joy that advertisers portray in "Omega moments" or that I felt in parties in Pyrmont Bridge Road or O'Connell Street. I've not felt the artificial rise in heart rate that accompanies wild rock music or the thrill of a good prank. And I'd trade my green card for a regular rush.

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