June 28, 2002 – Well, as I write this it is the 28th, but it will soon be the 29th (it is 11:40pm in San Diego).  That is beside the point since it feels like 1:40 am to me since I am in a time zone two hours behind. 


I took, and passed, the CCNP Switching exam.  It felt kind of empty since the material, in my opinion, seemed less in depth that I would have suspected the study track should have been.  By that, I mean I would have suspected the CCNP material would be more in depth and thusly the exam more in depth.  Where am I going with that?  I guess I am trying to say that it seemed a hollow victory.  I suppose I can create some projects at work to further supplement the material.  Perhaps it can help make it all meet what I felt was an appropriate level. 


This is accompanied by the fact that a comment made to me this week gave me the impression that, perhaps, the VP from my last job (the first one, not the wanker one) may have actually had a bad opinion of me despite me having believed otherwise for quite some time now.  I had an opportunity to clarify with a second person that would likely know but I never broached the topic.  I will reserve that for a later date. 


I am sitting outside of my hotel absorbing the early summer somewhat-smoggy but cool night air.  Why?  Duh!  Can’t sleep.  I had a meeting with some former co-workers and ended up drinking tea for the evening.  Most of the time, if a beverage is in front of me, the activity is drink, refill, drink, refill, etc…well…all drinks except alcoholic drinks.  So, I drank a LOT of tea.  Too much since I am not at all tired.  That is ok.  I can sleep until 10:30 or so tomorrow and I am just flying back.  I waste 6 hours on a two-leg flight so my Saturday will be non-existent.  I guess I do get to study if I choose. 


Back to the bad mood issue… a few other annoying things happened, too.  Good things are: found a can of Jones Soda Whoopass, met with Claudia (a former supervisor of mine I respect in many ways) and Mark (her husband I also worked with).  That was a high point of the trip here since I had not seen them in almost exactly a year (perhaps a bit longer).  Scott, my former VP, could not make it to the dinner but, as far as I know, he only had very short notice we were here and available.  Since he has family (read: KIDS), it is likely he had some other things to deal with.  The classes, etc. here were pretty good.  That may about be the extent of it. 


I have an opportunity to come back here and visit in late July and I am not sure if I will.  It might be good to again visit with Claudia and Mark but, truthfully, nothing other than that seems to be enticing me to come back.  I have been in a weird funk and I think this is why:  I just feel hopeless.  I have some issues in my life I would like to see remedied and, truth be told, nothing seems to be happening with them despite my efforts.  Before anyone lectures me via email again on the lack of patience issue I am so prone to hear about, let me finish.  I HAVE been making some strides to do some things.  Friday night, I went out with someone who it appears I WILL be working with soon.  Despite having met one person who I felt a bit compelled to get to know better, I end up finding out Sean (the soon-to-be-coworker) doesn’t really hang out with those people.  They are just people he knew from the distant past and stopped by to say ‘hi’ to so there is little chance I will ever meet them (read: this person) again.  So, I have no idea who he really knows or whom I may be able to meet from him.  I could be optimistic but I am not by nature.  I expect like many other options in my life, it will turn into a dead-end street.  No ding intended for Sean.  He is trying to be a cool person and succeeding.  My other option to reactivate my social circle in France may, in all honestly, turn out to be a nightmare.  It has been 10 years since I have even seen any of them.  Caroline is the only one I speak to regularly (followed by Bob).  They are all older, possibly different people and obviously less likely to be able to be involved in my time there in the same capacity they were in 1992.  I could make new friends there but I wonder sometime if I have not changed to such an extent I am in no way, shape or form the person I was then…the person who was, for the ONLY time in his life, able to make friends and do it WELL. 


Yes, people change but I thing in some ways I have changed completely.  If I could go back to 1992, would I even recognize the 1992 Dan and would the 1992 Dan recognize me.    Would he even want to be me?  Would we both sit in a room and I think to myself rather negative thoughts about the person I was and feel the judgmental side of my personality create some self-feeding discontinuity that would destroy my sense of self-worth – then and now?  I don’t know…but for anyone to make that kind of statement and seriously be concerned it could be an issue probably has to think twice about who they are, who they were and who they want to be.  When I think about those things, I realize I DON’T KNOW any of them.  I can say I don’t like myself but I can’t tell you why other than it seems to me no one else likes me.  I seem to exist in two states – useful or invisible.  Either I am of some use to someone which becomes the driving force to have them even deal with me or I am invisible.  I can say there are perhaps a mere handful of people who fall outside those ‘parameters’.   It is not that I mind being useful to other people; it is that I mind ONLY being considered worthy of JUST being useful.   And I cannot comment on the facet of being invisible in other people’s eyes since it is just as likely there are people who may be in my eyes and to complain about it would be hypocritical.  I can say I do look at the poor homeless guy who is holding is back and wonder if he just has sore muscles from sitting poorly or is it a kidney infection…or worse.  And, yes, I would try to help him.  I would go ahead and browbeat some damned doctor to write a prescription for whatever anti-biotic might help the guy so I could go browbeat the pharmacist to give it to him – on my dime.  Hell, at least then I could get some good coming from all the anger that ends up swelling up over and over.  (yes, the above ‘scenario’ did happen today but I was not really in a position to ask someone I didn’t know to follow me to a doctor).  So, he was not so anonymous and faceless to everyone…at least someone did notice.  I can’t say I would call him lucky by any stretch of the imagination but perhaps he had something I was able to envy him for. 


I will PURPOSEFULLY, and temporarily digress now and tell you the vibe I get here is quite different from the vibe in San Francisco when I visited there in 1999 (about the same time of year, too).  That vibe was something I was unable to really hook on to and the one here is also evasive but it is still not quite my vibe.  I wonder if the old Iggy Pop quote from years ago is true.  The one that roughly went “All of the scum of America washes up on the West Coast”.  I am sure he was referring to Los Angeles.  That might be a much harsher sentiment for the people here than I would apply.  I don’t think I would want to live here, though.  It is not that the city is too big or too small.  I wouldn’t call the people here shallow or unfriendly.  To quote Ween, “I can put my finger on it.”   Perhaps I am in just too much of a blended self-contemplation and pissed off mood to decide.  Two days ago, I was in a better mood…I have no idea why it all changed.


I do know there was one underlying issue I was dealing with prior to coming here.  There were two people who were friends of the family in a way I heard bad news about.  One died and one is, essentially, suffering from a disease that will cause his death…likely within a year.  I kind of brought back memories of a friend of my mother’s.  Jack was terminally ill and had his daughter taking care of him.  I never met him and only knew he was been in the military for a while and I think he was a veteran. I am sure Jack knew he was going to die and voiced ha desire to have his daughter take care of him until he died.  Some time went by and Jack’s son-in-law was injured very severely in a work-related accident.  This forced a huge hardship on Jack’s daughter and she was essentially forced to put Jack in a nursing home – a situation he did not cope with well at all.  From my recollection, Jack died a few weeks after being put in the nursing home and his health quickly worsened immediately after being admitted.  Jack’s son-in-law recovered and last I heard was ok.  I have to wonder if his daughter is not wracked by guilt and resentment at what was a cruel circumstance.  I know I am often hit by waves of guilt over the death of my father although, in truth, the circumstances were quite different.  I felt deeply sorry for Jack even though I never knew him, never met him and could have, like many perhaps do, rationalize the tragic event to be nothing more than an ironic twist of circumstance…but I don’t. It is something that, like now, surfaces and gnaws at me for the time it can remain in a line of thought on the conscious or subconscious level.  Just like the family friends dying and the former VP who, thought unsubstantiated report may or may not have a facet of his opinion of me molded by something in the past that to an opinion that holds a negative bearing on me.  Does it really have an effect on me?  Likely not.  Does it bother me?  Yes.  Why?  You tell me because I don’t know.  I’ve been tackling with feelings like that and the fallout for years and years.  Tackling rarely provides answers but ponder never gave me any answers on this issue…tackling is all I have left.