Day 354, Shustek, play

Let’s go back a day for a grief episode. I think it was Wednesday night, coming back into the building, my mind wandered to the London trip I’m planning. It occurred to me that one thing I could do that week, would be to take the train out to Strawberry Hill station and walk over Twickenham Green past the house we lived in from 1975-78. Walk down the Thames bank to York House Gardens. And even as these images were flitting through my mind — and then the image of when we re-visited it in 2005 and the present occupants saw us gawking and politely asked us in — I was hit by such a stab of grief I was amazed. Those times were some of the best of lives together, and the idea of going back without my partner, seeing those things without being able to turn to her and say, “remember that?” was just… unspeakably sad. Wow. You just never know when a train of thought will plunge into a tunnel.

Thursday, 11/21/2019

A few days ago, I knocked over the indoor/outdoor thermometer that I’ve had for… probably most of this century? Little gray plastic plinth with LCD numbers to display the indoor and outdoor temps, and the date and time. The last couple of times I’ve had to change batteries in it, it has been very difficult to set the date and time. The Set button doesn’t work, or as I finally worked out, has to be pressed with all the might of one’s thumb for a while to work. And even then, it’s never clear the order of what’s being set.

So this time when it fell over, and the back cover fell off and the batteries popped out, so now I’d have to work out how to reset it again, well, drat. Let’s fix this. Such is the nature of the modern world that it was less than five minutes before I had selected a similar but of course more stylish and smarter (does humidity too! doesn’t forget the time when batteries are changed!) device on Amazon and ordered it. So now it’s here, and I picked up batteries at the hardware store yesterday, so this morning I set it up. Very easy to set up, the button user interface is simple and clear, it worked immediately.

Now to trash the old one. But I don’t want to! Faithful old thing, still working fine, barring that the set button doesn’t work and the battery door flies off. So it is lying on my kitchen table and I think perhaps I will take it apart and see if I can diagnose and fix the button issue, and maybe give it to somebody. Or leave it at FOPAL because they do take and resell gadgets too.

Then off to Shustek for a day of cataloging. On return about 5pm, I had to decide how the rest of the evening should go. I have a ticket for Anne of a Thousand Days at the Dragon Theater in Redwood City, 8pm. Have supper here or somewhere on Broadway in RC? Drive myself, or Lyft?

I decided it would be no fun to drive to RC so I would Lyft. I decided it would be more fun to eat out. So at 6:05pm I went down to the lobby and ordered a Lyft. Might seem a little early, but I thought there might be delays. First I selected the shared-ride option, but Lyft first scheduled a pickup by a car that was 11 minutes away; and after a couple of minutes deleted that and scheduled a different car that was 10 minutes away and on the other side of the freeway. So I canceled that ride and re-ordered a regular Lyft (for $19, ouch) which came in 4 minutes.

On Broadway at 6:40, I went for the easy choice of a Mexican restaurant (at least I didn’t sink so low as Five Guys Burgers or the Old Spaghetti Factory). To the theater at 7:30.

This production was not a success, for me. The play consists of Anne Boleyn, awaiting her execution, recalling all her interactions with Henry the VIII, with her parents, with Cardinal Wolsey and others at court. Except for Anne and Henry, everyone in the small cast doubled and tripled in the various roles. The director had cast a couple of women to play multiple male roles. One had to play both Anne’s father and mother in the same scene, stepping from Anne’s left to her right and changing her pitch and body language in alternate lines. This was clearly some kind of intentional statement about gender roles, but I couldn’t figure out what that statement was.

Most of the actors read their lines very well, conveying both meaning and personality clearly. The production was spoiled for me primarily by the (male) actor playing Henry VIII. His voice and accent were completely, annoyingly wrong. Nobody was attempting a British accent, but his accent was Southern, almost into “y’all” territory, and it was jarring. And he had no stage presence, none of the overbearing, egotistical masculinity that Henry’s lines and actions seemed to call for. Just a feeble performance that stood out among a lot of quite competent ones.

So I left at intermission and was in bed by 10.


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