Kage Baker would sometimes observe, with a world-weary shrug, that “Stuff happens”.
She wasn’t speaking casually. That particular phrase was a declaration of deep rage. When she said it, she was quoting Donald Rumsfeld, partial architect of Dubya’s war effort in Iraq; a man appropriately known by the nickname “Rummy”. That world-encompassing gem of philosophy was his specific quote on the looting of the National Museum of Iraq, in Baghdad – in April of 2003 (mostly), it was looted when American forces failed to protect it after occupying Baghdad. Who looted it? Well … everybody, really, who was still up and running around Baghdad; mostly, though not entirely, the Iraquis themselves.
But, you know, it’s as Rummy said: Stuff happens. It was the uncaring universality of that dismissal that so infuriated Kage. It was fools not only not taking responsibility for things, but denying that there was any responsibility at all.
Stuff has been happening to me. Dress Rehearsals went wonderfully for Dickens, as did Opening Weekend – then, this week, I came down with flu and have spent the last week observing the world through the gently obfuscatory glow of fever. I haven’t made it to San Francisco for the 3-day Second Weekend; my dear people, I know from frequent bulletins, are even now approaching the end of the last day of the weekend, and have done an heroic job without me. I miss them, and I miss the Fair – but I think they’ll appreciate my not coming North and infecting everyone with plague … Stuff Happens, sure enough, but it’s more moral not to spread it around to your friends.
Also, last weekend, someone apparently tried to break into my PT Cruiser. Their chosen method was to yank on the rear hatchback handle until it disconnected – luckily for me, that meant the lock wouldn’t disengage at all. The presence of parking lot guards evidently discouraged them from smashing a window; not that it would have done them any profit, as everything of any interest was down in the Cow Palace being part of the Green Man Inn. But at least it meant that I could keep the car warm as I drove through the night on Sunday. Now I’m waiting for the necessary part to come in, but at least my car is drivable. I just have to load the way-back cargo area through the back seat. But, you know: Stuff Happens.
My writing hat crawled away and hid under my desk during this last week; Kimberly only found it for me this evening. I have spent a lot of time sleeping, having terribly intense but nonsensical dreams – mostly about having arguments with a Federal agent who will not believe I am a writer. I keep scrabbling through heaps of paperwork, looking for contracts with my name on them; he keeps insisting I am not a writer, but a spy. Even in delirium, Stuff Happens.
Missouri is burning from St. Louis to Kansas City. That’s most of the way across the center of the entire state, for those of you keeping score. The news reports detail protests over the Ferguson MO incident from all over the country, but I mostly get the LA feed. For over a week now, protesters have been trying to block the freeways in Downtown Los Angeles , and succeeding for small periods – then they get arrested, traffic resumes, and later the next day another crowd storms the on-ramps. Stuff is definitely Happening.
In Egypt, their top judges have dismissed all charges against semi-ex-President Mubarak. Happening Stuff for sure, there; except for when your Prime Judiciary says it isn’t happening after all.
And yet. And yet, Dear Readers, the Christmas season is upon us. Lights are blooming all over the place, holding back the winter darkness. Never mind the maddened crowds at Black Friday sales; think instead of all the happy recipients there will be on Christmas morning. Old recipes are being taken out and dusted off and filling houses with all the perfumes of Araby and a pastry shop. Trees, wreaths and garlands are appearing everywhere.
And this Friday, I will head North once more for Dickens, happier than ever to fight my way to London. The road is long but never fails of entertainment; the exit reads “1850”. London is waiting, alight with candles and smelling of meat pies, beer, chocolate, rum, cookies and incense.
Good stuff. Really good Stuff Happening.