Productivity was never less productive

Instead of doing something useful, I spent the last little while taking a random sample of pages from the blog in an effort to estimate just how big this thing is. I sampled 20 episodes added up the word count, divided by 20 and multiplied by 427 (that total may include an episode or two that I never published). None of the randomly selected entries was an Eels episode, and one was a haiku.

The total? Almost 170,000 words, not counting the titles or the introductions. If it was a novel, it would be a very fat one. There’s a significance there, a message, but I sure don’t know what it is.

Showdown at Vlašska

I was early for an appointment, standing on the side of the street, watching the city move. Vlašska is a narrow street. It passes in front of the US embassy, so it is more heavily policed than much of the town. A czech army truck was patrolling, its brakes emitting a high-picthed metal-on-metal scream as it eased down the street. Perhaps patrolling in a truck with no brake pads was intended to send a subtle message to the diplomats inside the building they were protecting. The three soldiers in the truck looked bored.

The street is narrow, but it is a two-way street. There is one stretch that is just plain too narrow for two cars to pass. Generally people deal with this by driving very fast, so that if someone considers entering from the other end they will think twice. That’s not how it always works, though. The army truck assumed people would back out of their way. They were usually right.

Up the hill crept a small red Škoda, being carefully piloted by an old nun. She entered the narrows and was on her way up when the army truck approached from the other end. The nun did not falter, she just kept pulling on up the hill. They met at about two-thirds of the way up. The truck beeped officiously. The nun took her hands off the steering wheel and folded them across her breast, her expression stone calm. The truck did not beep again; and after a few more seconds the soldier put his vehicle in reverse with the sound of the sound of gears grinding and backed up.

The nun continued her slow progress while the soldiers waited.