Thursday, June 20, 2013

The LAN Party

   I had a dream last night. I was sitting behind a young man in the Symphony. He was directly in front of me, Pablo. I was the smelly old fart sitting among a gang of kids. I didn’t know him, although I had seen him around. Then he turns towards me, eyes me. “A wonderful thing has happened,” he says. “Look.” He opens up a leather satchel and in it there is a fancifully wrapped package. There were double red bows and the wrapper was a bright yellow.
   While he’s showing me this package, three women moved into the row behind me and sat down. Two of them were somberly dressed in darker colors, though not black, and the third one was dressed in the natty bright garb of working women. By their expression the three seemed well reinforced middle class ladies. The words petty bourgeois keep coming to mind, I’m not sure why, because it is hard to spell and it sounds European. I am from Poland, you know? Polish people tend to be European thinking, rather than Russian thinking. But one of the women was more lively, more inclined to be fashionable. Anyway, the young man pointed to the more fashionable woman, and said, “I got a gift, from her.”
  He was a regular, nice looking fellow—equanimous. His clean, healthy face showed no sign of the various debilitating habits of this world. The playful background titter of the orchestra warming up reinforced my attention. Suddenly I detected something was about to be revealed, and in an instantaneous flash, I warned myself to pay attention. These were dark days for me and I had been unable for a long time to find anything real. I went around with my Bean Halogen lantern strapped to my forehead searching like a maniac. Nada. Now I was sitting at the Boston Symphony expecting the worst. How could anybody screw up the Eroica, you ask? Easy. But back to my dream. It was an exceptionally clear and vivid dream I, Pablo, had that night, though I am having a hard time explaining it now. An old dog may fall off the scent, but he’ll pick it up again when everybody else has gone home.
  Now, among the young women, who sat down behind me, the one in the working girl’s natty garb was very lively looking, and it was this young woman who jumped around and moved to a seat which happened to be empty beside the young man. They looked peculiarly similar, as if there was a family resemblance. Yet she, though she wore glasses, seemed to me as if formed of a heated gas, rather than particulate substance. She was tanned, not brown, freckles along the bridge of her nose. The young fellow said, “We’ve been acquaintances for a long time. But different places, different time, you know? Then she sent me this.” He held up the package.
  There was a spate of murmuring from the two matrons behind me.
  The young fellow commenced to sweat. With a quick gesture of a bent forefinger he brushed the sweat off his brow.
  He looked at her, and he looked back at me, “She’s always there. My life is irresponsible, you know? I’m an artist and it isn’t right that I should lead someone else into that life. Sometimes there isn’t food. So I’ve tried to avoid...that. I don’t know what to think.”
  “So, did you ask her?” Was my thought, knowing the economics got worked out one way or another, though these situations may look hard at first glance.
  The poor young fellow, now he was in a big sweat. “I want to do the right thing.”
  When the tittering continued from the two sober matrons behind me—I take it they were disapproving?—, the young woman glanced up at them, smiled, closed her eyes, seeming to put them out of her mind. When he looked at her wonderingly, she laughed. As if she should know what this “right thing” was supposed to mean. I wondered what “right thing” there was to a simple offering of a gift. Had something gone wrong? Perhaps there was an aspect of the gift giving ritual that I wasn’t aware of or that had somehow passed me by? This is a possibility, of course, since who knows how bright I am? The basic intelligence of even the mighty and the powerful can be debatable, and I certainly wasn’t mighty and powerful. I guess that I could take an IQ test. Were girls not supposed to give boys gifts? That seemed far fetched, though perhaps that was IT.
  She said, “They were against it,” nodding at the matrons, “but I did it anyway.” She put her arm over his shoulder. He was also pleased. They were two young people who were pleased with each other.
  Then the thought occurred to somebody that he should open the present. There was still time before the start of the music.
  “Should we here, do you think?” He said.
  “Why not?” You could see they were in great delight, and it hardly mattered what was in the box. I say that honestly.
  He carefully took it out of the satchel, breathed deeply—almost a sigh— and began to remove the wrapping.
  “Ben told me what you needed.”
  He looked up at me, the bystander, the observing stranger, “Ben is my brother.”
  “I like them both,” said the very lively young woman. “But this one plays hard to get.”
  “I’m not as sociable. It has always been that way.”
  “Open!” She commanded.
  By now there was considerable negative tittering from the two dark
sisters. One was a great beauty. The other was well known for her hospitable acts and charitable work. They were notorious around town. I did not know them very well, of course. They were all three very good looking in my opinion. But the beauty: what can you do, in my line of work, without beauty? But they didn’t hang around the streets or in the bars.
  To my astonishment inside the box was another box with very garish looking symbols on it. It was a motherboard from a famous manufacturer of high end computer parts!
  “Ben told me your computer was kaput. Look there’s more.”
  In the box were two other smaller boxes. One had Intel on it: it was a Zeon CPU. The other had two eight gig DDR3 Ripjaws. I personally about hit the floor. I had never seen as many expensive computer parts in one place in my life. I am lucky my computer guru passes on his outdated trash to me.
  “Ben told me you were a whiz at computer parts. But I’ll help you do the build, if you like.”
  “I don’t know if I can accept this. I...”
  “Oh please, I’ll be very insulted if you don’t.”
  The matrons behind me, especially the great beauty, were now tittering energetically. “Where did you get the money?” Said the great beauty. Although famous for her beauty, she had always seemed to me haughty, those times I had seen her around, which occurred more often now I had moved back into town and was getting out more.
  “Oh, don’t listen to them. I work, I earn money, I buy things. I don’t sit on my hands all day the way they do.”
  “Little pragmatic fool,” said the great beauty.
  "Miss Electricity," said the charity worker.
  “Thank you,” the young man said. “I don’t know what to say. I’m pretty much helpless without a good machine.”
  “I know. I am happy that I can help.”
  After a while I had managed to drag myself upwards into consciousness again. I debated MOSPHETS, CPU, GPU, RAM cards with heat spreading rip jaws and variable voltage case fans. Eventually I realized that the conductor was about to begin the Eroica. All the symphonic tittering had stopped. Not one note of the music reached me. At the end of the first movement, the young man looked at the young woman who was sitting beside him. “I can’t stand this any more. Let’s go get your machine and Ben and have a LAN Party.”
  “Hell ya. Let’s go.”
  Then I was all in a sweat that I’d be stuck here with the Eroica and charity and beauty. But the young man turned around and said,
  “Hey, Pablo, what ya got?”
  “Well,” I says, “it works.”
  “If ya can connect, come on.”
  You know me, I couldn’t pull out fast enough. Beauty was giving me the fuckingest dirty looks. “Oh no,” I thought. It was a great LAN Party, though. Knowlsey, the young man who was always so kind to smelly me, gave me some RAM. His box was water cooled. Fun for the simple minded, I guess.
  But I really liked this dream as a dream. I had to get up right away and write it down.

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