February 8th, 2003

caillebotte_the balcony

Busy Night

I've discovered that I can use my 1986 calendar this year-- all the dates and days match up. It's a San Francisco picture calendar, 20" wide by 13" high. February has a nice picture of Montgomery Street, looking east from Telegraph Hill. Of course, the phases of the moon shown on this calendar are wrong, but I can live with that. I like pretending it's still 1986, and George W. Bush is still off snorting coke and puking up JD by the side of the road, no threat to anyone but the drivers of Texas.

I spent over an hour moving the accumulation of postcard scans stolen from E-Bay into various folders in my documents file. I moved more than 1000 of them. I had no idea that so many had piled up. Many of them still must be cropped (because of sloppy scans) and re-sorted into still other folders. I'd like to find some software that would allow me to index pictures, instead of putting them into that complex and inconvenient folder sub-folder sub-sub-folder etc. system in the Windows document folder. Once you have a large number of pictures, they become very difficult to find. It would be nice to be able to create ad-hoc galleries with themes, through simple search commands. But, I'm probably dreaming again.

Anyway, that, and some backing up of files and such took up much of the night. It will take several more hours to get everything in my documents folder into reasonable order. When I was sorting those postcard scans into folders, and noting how many non-postcard images I was skipping over, I realized that I had barely scratched the surface of what is available out there on the Internet, and yet the mere task of sorting what I already had was tedious. I was reminded that, even were I to spend all my time wandering this virtual world, I would never have the time to get to all the stuff I'd like to see. And, of course, that would leave no time for the real world. It's the curse of virtual abundance! The more that becomes available, the less of the sum of it we can have!

And, with that morose thought, I will commit this post to the server, to join the quarter-million or so other posts that will be made today at this site alone. Think about that, if you want to sense your limitations. All I can do is hope that reality is something like a hologram, and its whole is somehow contained in each of its fragments. If that is the case, then I can relax, because I've already got everything, and I've already seen everything. All I need to do is sit back and enjoy it. Oh, yeah-- and feed the cats.
caillebotte_man at his window

Betsy Wetsy

The other day there was a post somewhere, I don't recall where, about a doll which urinates. The comments on the post were a mixture of amusement and shock. I was a bit surprised at the responses, because long ago, my older sister had a Betsy Wetsy Doll. That particular item was available for many years. In the days when it was yet assumed that all girls would grow up to be mothers and housewives, Betsy Wetsy was considered a good training device, I suppose. At any rate, the post triggered one of those ancient memories of an incident which occurred when I was probably no more than four years old.

Betsy Wetsy contained a hollow space into which water was poured, via an opening somewhere on her back, if I recall correctly. When the doll was lying on its back, the water would remain inside. When the doll was set upright, the water would leak out through an orifice between the legs, soaking the diaper. The doll was far from anatomically correct, however. The orifice was a simple round hole set in flat, soft plastic indistinguishable from that which made up the rest of the doll. I was in fact far more interested in the doll's eyes, which opened and closed with an audible "click" and had tough little bristle eyelashes. However, on the particular occasion which I have just recalled, it was the ability of the doll to emit water which was of interest to me.

My mother was busy at some task, and failed to heed my request for a glass of water. With unabated thirst, I suddenly noticed that my sister had left Betsy lying unattended nearby. I picked the doll up and shook it, to see if it was full. It was. Looking around to make sure that nobody was watching, since I was not supposed to be touching my sister's toys, I pulled the diaper down and held Betsy up, so that a stream of satisfying water came dribbling out of the orifice between her legs. It tasted faintly of plastic, but was welcome none the less. I emptied her entire "bladder," even licking off the excess drops. After replacing the doll's diaper, I returned her to her original place, and never told anyone what had happened. My mother forgot all about my request for a glass of water, and my sister seems never to have wondered why her doll was empty, with a dry diaper. Had I been caught in the act, I suppose there would have been scolding about my breach of the rules regarding no touching of my sister's toys, but I doubt that it would have gone any farther. My mother would probably have told it as a "cute story," of course, causing me no end of embarrassment when I got older, but that would have been the worst of it.

It occurs to me that today, were a child to be caught doing such a thing, the prevailing culture of suspicion and paranoid thinking would probably result in that child being hauled off to a psychologist and being traumatized by "concerned adults" looking for evidence of molestation or of the innately perverse behavior patterns of a flawed psyche. Prudish shock and pseudo science would most likely prevail, and, should more incidents of the behavior be unearthed (as the result of a study funded by a foundation grant, most likely), then still more studies would be made, and scholarly articles written, and appearances would be made on Oprah and Doctor Phil, and the popular press would report the new omen of the impending end of civilization, ad nauseam. I myself failed to carry the behavior I displayed that day into adulthood, and seem to have taken no harm from either the incident itself, or its long suppression in my memory. I guess I was lucky to have been born in a less psychologically enlightened, and less priggishly obsessive, age. And, now that I think of it, it was kind of a cute story, wasn't it.