Introverts go seriously crazy if they can’t get enough time alone. Extraverts go seriously crazy if they have to spend too much time alone. Somehow, they can still enjoy each other’s company. Of course, in my case, it probably helps that I keep radically different hours than the rest of the world, including The Man. We don’t need a lot of physical space…just temporal space.
This is a weird, hard one for me, because we do live in a culture that worships youth and denigrates middle age, particularly when that age is exhibited in people who appear female, and also because my own internal childhood pretty much lasted until the age of 35, so I only had 5 years to adjust to adulthood before middle age started kicking me in the face. Among other body parts. Although they’re faint in this picture, the vertical lines above the inside corner of each eye are the ones that make me feel it. They’re worry/squinting lines, and the older I get, the more worrying/squinting I seem to do.
So I remind myself that age has its privilege. Nearly everyone over 30 rejoices in what I call “over-30 brain,” which is a phenomenon that hits most reasonable people around their 30th birthday. Basically, by the age of 30, if you have been paying any attention to your surroundings for most of your life, you find that you have achieved general life competency. That is, whatever happens around you, you realize that you have either seen something like this before, or heard about it, or read about it, and that your experience gives you the necessary information to know what to do next to handle that situation. It’s way better than being 20 and just pretending you have any clue what you’re doing. (I guess 20-year brain is the one that’s thrust into grown-up roles and responsibility despite the fact that it knows it’s still not fully developed, and is desperately trying to convince the other brains around it that it’s competent and grown up.)
Today’s events reminded me how great it is not to be a child. I mean, being a child has a lot of great perks, but probably an equal number of drawbacks. Consider homework. You’re a kid; you probably hate it. You probably don’t want to do it. You probably try to get out of it. You probably fail. And then maybe you end up with 8 days left in the semester with 3 weeks’ worth of work to catch up on if you’d rather be promoted than attend summer school, and now you have this insane weight of awful work on your plate.
And if you are the kids living in this house, you are both on indefinite electronics restrictions until you finish the pages and pages of work you blew off in the last couple weeks.
Of course, being the adult in this scenario, chained to the supervision of sullen and probably crying adolescents, your situation is not optimal, but all in all, I’d rather be the supervising adult than the crying kid.
So, I’m grateful that I don’t have attend to all the steps leading up to the acquisition of a high school diploma. (Now, if someone wanted to pay for me to go back to graduate school, I’d be pretty excited about homework, but that’s a totally different situation.) I’m going to make myself grateful for my age.
Whether you’re camping in Death Valley, on a road trip through the midwest, or trekking across a mystical symbolic landscape, there is rarely any excuse to eat poorly. Anyone who’s ever camped in Death Valley, taken a road trip through the midwest, or trekked across a mystical symbolic landscape with me can attest to this fact. Back when I used to get on airplanes, I would have flight attendants salivating over my packed lunches.
Whatever is going on with legs in panel 4, I’m blaming on this colossal headache that erupted a quarter of the way through drawing this comic. I don’t ever really remember drawing it. But by the bottom of panel 4 I couldn’t really think about what legs looked like. The Man is missing a foot and Dragon is doing some kind of interdimensional yoga.
It is what it is. And it is 2 a.m.
You’ll have to take my word for it that all those background feathers looked way more amazing without the rest of the comic. But you get the pictures. Those are feathers. Everything is floating after getting through the great pressure of the molten core in comic 161. Mmm…allegory. These feathers took way too long to draw. Dragon flying was fun. The Man looks comfortable, but he usually does.
Last week I attended a retirement party for a woman who’s worked at the school where I do bulletins boards since the Reagan administration or something. Like pretty much every educational administrative assistant I’ve ever met, she liked to project a gruff and unyielding persona, covering up her sweet side to prevent people from bothering her unnecessarily, but really, she’s very nice. She used to live in the town where spent my uncomfortable adolescence, and always wanted to reminisce about this particular diner, which my mother told me has long since closed.
She recalled, rapturously, the sandwiches at this place, but my memories are quite different, and I only have one. I never actually ate there; there was a cheaper and better deli closer to my house, but one day, my friend the Vampire Bat took me there. We were in high school and she had a crush on a busboy who worked there. We went in around 3 pm, when there were few customers. The busboy apparently had a crush back, because he greeted her effusively, sat us at a table, and, at her request, brought us ice water, pickles, bread, and butter. No sooner had we laid in to our ill-gotten feast than the manager noticed that we were not paying customers, but freeloaders dirtying a table and distracting the busboy, and promptly threw us out. This was one of many establishments from which the Vampire Bat got us ejected when we were in high school.
To celebrate the AA’s retirement, I painstakingly crafted a paper pastrami sandwich on pumpernickel rye swirl with a Kosher dill pickle. She was appreciative. I’ll probably get this design in my RedBubble store.
Can you believe that there are otherwise sensible people who don’t “believe” in public libraries? Yeah, this seems crazy to me, too, but these people exist. They use arguments like, “I can get any book I want on the internet” and “Google is faster for research.” Never mind that fact that some people can’t get any book on the internet, because, just like the people for whom public libraries were originally constructed, they can’t afford that technology. Never mind the fact that search engines prize popularity over objectivity and readability over depth, delivering so many fast results that you could spend the rest of your life sifting through all 1.58 million of them, without necessarily finding the results you needed. Besides the primacy of facilities available to anyone who wants them, staffed by professionals trained to discover, curate, and deliver reliable content, libraries serve as public meeting spaces, classrooms, clubs for nerdy kids, safe spaces for those with terrible homes, and temples to knowledge. Many people couldn’t get jobs, or tax information, or any one of hundreds of things most of us take for granted, if they didn’t have access to library computers. As more and more common functions become more online (typically making them more difficult to access in meatspace) libraries allow those without computers to simply participate in their own culture.
My property taxes are somewhat itemized, so I can see that, last year, I paid $50 toward these services. That’s $50 for 1 year. I pay more than that for one month of internet service at my house. And you can have all the internet you want at the library. Even when it’s closed; in my town, library networks are strong enough that you can park your car in the street near the library and get online. That’s on top of all the other things you get inside the library when it’s open. And that $50 doesn’t just get my family and me through the door. It helps keep the doors open for everyone.
If you want to stand up and say that you don’t believe in libraries because you think a certain percentage of the population shouldn’t have access to information, good luck with that argument. Obviously, there are people who will wholeheartedly agree with you, but I assume these are the same people who don’t believe in public roads, or public police forces, or public fire departments. At this point in human history, access to information should be considered a human right, like clean air and fresh water, but, of course, there are people who don’t want you to have those things either. And if they can keep you out of the library, you might not even know that you have a right to those things.
So, all hail the public library. I am grateful that you continue to serve as a sacred hall of knowledge available to all who seek it.
Wow, a comic finished before midnight? This one was pretty easy, obviously. They’ll get a bit more visually complex, presently. The kids’ custody schedule got flipped for the week and I somehow scheduled 3 times as many social engagements as I would in a normal 7-day period, so my entire groove has been disrupted. Fortunately, it was possible to write 8 comic scripts at the Fox’s on Tuesday, so at least the words are already taken care of for a while longer.
Have a great weekend. Dragon out.