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J--Third Letter
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Dear J,

I just got home from 11 hours of overtime on a Saturday, possessed of mixed feelings for the day’s accomplishments. On the one hand, I accomplished a prodigious quantity of work, as you know I can do when I’m able to focus completely on the task at hand. I feel as though I have truly been productive today.

On the other hand the work was not my best. Not even good, though good enough, given the time constraints. Since the CRC had failed to carry out the task set to them, we planners were nominated to do the work. The deadline is tomorrow and in my region at least only 4 or 5 of 61 routes had been created by the CRC. Completely unacceptable.

On the third hand, though, I feel no righteous sense of purpose achieved. Poor data, completely compressed timeline and the sense of cleaning up someone else’s mess made for low morale in the planners’ offices. I dislike being required to do work that is doomed to be below average while I’m being held accountable for it. There was even no satisfaction in being able to say, “We told them so.”

I got to work at 6 a.m. The gates to the compound were locked. It was eerie to be alone in a place that is normally busy. I had to unlock the gate with keys that were issued to me 24 years ago. I carry them around all the time in a little zippered bag and I’ll bet I haven’t used them more than 5 or 6 times in the last 10 years. I was a little surprised that one of the keys worked in the padlock—so many of the locks have been changed over the years.

Yes, the key opened the well-oiled lock. I had a bit of trouble sliding the big heavy gate back far enough to drive my car into the lot. It’s a heavy gate—a really heavy gate. Maybe someone is anticipating a tank attack. Mortar fire. Grenades. The worst part was when I ran the gate into my big toe. The pain kept my mind off my worries about the alarm.

I called Dispatch to tell them I was entering the lot so that LAPD wouldn’t appear and question me. It happened to me once that I was on the school grounds late (correcting papers) and they burst into my classroom, weapons aimed and barked at me to keep my hands in sight. Hell, my hands nearly fell off from nervousness, falling on the ground twitching and writhing. I got annoyed and told them I was a teacher and I’d rather be anywhere else, not here correcting papers. They suggested I get in my car and go home and they escorted me all the way. I appreciated their courtesy after I got over my nerves.

Anyway, I needn’t have concerned myself with the alarm this morning—at least three people had given me a lecture on how to disable it and I had no problem. It was a little trickier re-arming it when I left this afternoon, but there’s nothing like reading and following directions to solve the puzzle.

I’m home now, nursing my sore toe and watching Misty drowse in a patch of sunlight, no doubt ruminating on the joys of the hunt. I’m not sure using “ruminating” as a word to describe such an effective little predator is the right thing to say.

I liked your comments in your letter to me about how the past affects the present and the future and how it’s necessary to leave the past…well, in the past. Just learn its lessons and let it go. Easier said than done. I will meditate on it.

Time to get a bite to eat and some sleep. Jasmine woofs “hello” and the cats look secretive. Wonder what’s up?

Love you bunches,

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