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the network engineer fears the backhoe, and the systems engineer fears the network engineer

Moments of Transition

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I had a post I had been meaning to write this evening. I’d been thinking about it since I woke up; essentially, last night an acquaintance posted something on a mailing list (in the course of a discussion of a code of conduct) that really brought home to me that there’s a certain population in my community with whom I simply do not share common values and priorities. Sure, this is not unheard-of, and is not really news to me, but it’s still a bit saddening and alienating to realize it so viscerally, and so I was going to write about that feeling, and then get up on my soapbox and declaim for a while.

Instead, though, I spent the evening catching up with a bunch of my old colleagues from Harvard. It sounds like their situations have improved in the year since I left, and I could not be happier to hear this; there was still plenty of sysadmin ranting, but compared to our last meetup, it seems like there was a lot more “check out this awesome thing” instead of “you won’t believe what happened today”.

Then I walked home through the chill of the evening, parting ways with one friend after another as we went, until I was walking with my buddy Tim, talking about the trajectories of our lives. He’s on the cusp of several big changes right now, and mentioned that he really appreciated the opportunity to make a conscious choice about what kind of life he wanted to lead, and what sort of a person he wanted to be. That resonated with me; I feel like I’ve had a lot of my life just sort of happen to me, and that a lot of the influence that I’ve exerted over the course of my life has been indirect and diffuse. I’m not particularly unhappy about this, but I do want to be more cognizant of times when I am at an inflection point, or a distinct moment of transition, rather than just moving gradually from one state to another.


Speaking of moments of transition, I recently got a new pair of glasses. This is actually a really big deal for me; I dearly love my previous pair, which are delicate, rimless constructions of articulated metal and glass, nearly insubstantial. For a number of years I’ve worn them and frequently forgotten that I have them on my face. I’ve stuck with them through a few prescription changes, lens upgrades, and so forth.

However, my optician has been having more and more difficulty working on them every time I’ve brought them in to be adjusted. They are many years discontinued at this point, and no spare parts are to be had (and they have a sufficiently bizarre and impractical design that stealing components from other models is not really an option). Plus, they are finally starting to show their age; they need adjustment ever more frequently, and for the past year they haven’t really wanted to stay on my face; it’s only a matter of time and probability before they go flying off at some inopportune moment and meet with an irredeemable misfortune of some sort.

My new glasses are more substantial; the first day I wore them to work, one of my teammates asked “Have I seen you with glasses before?” (I’ve worn these glasses during the entirety of my tenure at RunKeeper). I got them at the beginning of the week, and took them to be fitted yesterday. I’m still getting used to them, but we’re off to a good start: no more double vision from misaligned lenses! no more constantly pushing them up my nose! no more trying to tighten tiny bolts using only my fingernails!

Doesn’t mean I won’t miss the previous pair, though. Ave atque vale, old friends.

"kio yamato glasses"

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