Floating Down the River with a Saturated Liver

This page written circa 28 May, 2006.

T-minus-12. Hamilton: We have ignition.
People ask me if I am ready for the jump to NZ.
My answer has become that 'ready' does not come into it, I simply feel like a person who has jumped off a bridge into a torrent, and I have now to do little save watch it all go on around me. Dan Scherrer called it "surreal".

At left you see a wonderful farewell gathering at one of the preferred local lunching places, below a photograph of DBT and I on Bald Mountain from which one can see, on a clear day, Santa Rosa, San Francisco, and the Napa Valley. So many people and so many places and so little time to say goodbye or au revoir.

Who will or will not visit us in our new land?
Who will we find ourselves missing more or less than we expect?
These things surprised us after we Californicated. I fully expect this to be different from any initial prediction, so it won't be so much of a surprise as a revelation.

Dan once characterised me as "someone who tries to pack as much varied experience in as possible", and that allowed him to correctly anticipate some decision of mine. He recently asked me a question that amounted to "what do you think it is in some people that makes them miss out on things in life?". We dismiss laziness. Perhaps it is fear; my mother would say "better the devil you know than the devil you don't", but I know that aphorism is usually wrong, if widely believed.

I recently found the first season of "Onmitsu Kenshi" (The Samurai) on DVD. This TV program, set in 17th-century Japan, was one of my favourites as a boy. After a couple of DVDs, about half the Koga Ninja have departed with their last sight being the flash of Shintaro's righteous katana. These ill-fated evildoers exude good medieval Japanese devotion to their secret society, forgoing family and ultimately their lives... for what? The problem with this program is not the melodrama or the stark good-and-evil conflict, but the fact that these suckers are supposed to be doing their master's evil bidding for no particular promise of return. One who turns over a new leaf does so because he realises that he's spent too little of his life enjoying being alive. Lots of people seem to be missing out. For that matter, what do Lucas's Jedi Knights, based on the like of Shintaro, get for their trouble? If I could see the future, feel evil coming, and wield a light sword, I'd be thinking about the like of gambling in Vegas, or indeed Pod Racing....

Before you write off Shintaro's adversaries as unbelievable, think of a few people you know... why does so-and-so stay married, why doesn't what's-is-name retire, how come she isn't looking for a new job, and why don't you eat something different for a change? Maybe some have reasons, but maybe they simply have not noticed that they haven't been smelling the flowers lately.

Dust off your copy of Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat, order a double prickly-pear margerita, pick a promising bridge, and jump. The water is warmer than you think.

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