Jane Haddam’s WordPress weblog

Squeaky Saturday

with 3 comments

So, every once in a while there gets to be a day that I look at and don’t know what to do with.  I don’t mean a particularly bad day, or even a particularly good one.  I mean one that’s just sort of sideways.  Yesterday was a day like that.

Let’s start out with the thing that made me feel–not exactly bad, but something. 

Yesterday was 14 years since Bill died.

Every year since then until this one, I’ve called my mother in law to talk, just as I called her to talk on Bill’s birthday.

Yesterday I didn’t, of course, because she died this past summer.  But what bothers me is that I might have forgotten even if she had been alive, because I did forget.

I only remembered this morning because I checked Facebook and saw that it was my sister-in-law’s wedding anniversary.

And, since the two dates are related, the light went off.

I don’t know what it means that that day no longer seems to have the emotional hold on me that it did.  It isn’t as if Bill doesn’t have the hold.  He definitely does, it just kicks in on his birthday.

But it’s odd.

But there were other things odd about yesterday, and that was why I was checking Facebook first thing in the morning.

Yesterday, there arrived in a mail a small package from a place called BlueDot in Philadelphia. 

Or, at least, I thought it was someplace called Blue Dot.  When I checked BlueDot online, it turned out to be a branding thing for energy-saving stuff.

What came in the package marked BlueDot, though, was phone chargers–three of them, one for the wall, one for the car, and one that hooks into the computer.

They’re a really great set.  I like all of them.  The wall charger one works. 

And, since the return address was Philly, I assumed Matt had sent them.  So I sent Matt a text thanking him, and he sent me one–clueless.

He had, in fact, bought me a charger, but only one, for the wall, and he hadn’t mailed it yet. 

Well, I thought, my friends Carol and Richard had been talking about getting me one off E-Bay, maybe that was this.

I e-mailed. They hadn’t.  They didn’t have a clue either.

I then went down the list of people I know who might have done that, trying to pick out clues from the way the package was addressed–an issue, in sending things to me, but I won’t go into it here–and still nothing.

Then I put a thing up on Facebook and asked who sent the chargers.

And as of this morning, nothing.

If this was a murder mystery, very bad things would be about to happen right now.

But it’s not–or at least I don’t think it is–and all I can say (here and on FB) is:  thank you very much, whoever sent these.  They’re great.  I love them. Thank you for thinking of me.

And I do sort of get a kicky out of it being so damned freaky.

But it’s early in the morning–although not as early as usual, thank God–so I’ll make some sense, and then go off and listen to music.

Issues with torture notwithstanding–and I was using the term to mean what it meant in WWII and not what it’s being expanded into now–my problem with hypotheticals is that their use is almost always (at least in classrooms) to only “values clarification” per se, but specifically to convince people that they don’t really have moral objections to using some people to benefit others, and therefore to reduce their resistance to such schemes.

There’s a similar use for the old lifeboat hypothetical–the boat will be swamped if you don’t ditch some people, who do you ditch?

The purpose always seems to me to be to convince students that they really don’t have any objections to treating people as things, to judging some people worthwhile to keep alive and others not. 

And ideas like that can be applied, in the long run, to issues like euthanasia.

Which is not to say that that is what every teacher uses hypotheticals for, or even that hypotheticals can never be used honestly.  But I’d be willing to bet that that is what Singer and his acolytes use them for.

If that makes sense.

Ack.  This is the second time I’ve tried to post this today.  I’ve got the Well-Tempered Clavier (vol 1) on the stereo.  A character is P.D. James’s The Private Patient is listening to my favorite Bach piece (Concerto in D Minor). 

And I’ve finished my tea.

Georgia Xenakis, by the way, is the name of the new detective.  I’ve got a partial pretty much done, the continuing characters (or some of them) all worked out, and a pretty good mystery.

Now all I need is a title, and I can send this thing off and see if something can become of it.

Written by janeh

October 10th, 2010 at 10:42 am

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses to 'Squeaky Saturday'

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  1. “Georgia On My Mind”


    10 Oct 10 at 11:39 am

  2. Well, I can sleep better tonight, with the Georgia Xenakis problem behind me.

    And I agree on the hypotheticals. It’s not inherent in their nature, but the use often seems to be to establish behavior in an extreme case in order to justify such behavior in day to day circumstances.

    You do see the reverse, of course–the person in a tight spot who tries to avoid unpleasant choices by pretending there is a more satisfactory alternative. You can dig yourself in pretty deep that way, sometimes.


    10 Oct 10 at 1:13 pm

  3. I don’t remember dates or years since – especially for deaths. I don’t know why. I remember the people just fine. I remember the approximate time of year. And if I try to estimate the length of time, I always underestimate, sometimes by a lot. I think it’s just the way my brain works – I don’t focus much on exact dates and years passed, and so they don’t stick in my head. Some people remember every date, every anniversary and which one it is. I guess – whatever comes naturally.

    Hypotheticals sometimes come across as an attempt to define and limit the options for a solution, rather than an attempt to expand or explore them. Maybe that’s what Jane means when she says they could never really happen. To me, they’re so obviously set up to have two and only two possible solutions they’re like a magician trying to force you to pick the card you don’t want.


    11 Oct 10 at 12:07 pm

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