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7/02/01 (continued)
The first day of his vacation and he's already bored...

I have a new neighbor.

Not really new. She moved in about two months ago.

She's maybe in her early- to mid-40s. She's fascinating. I mean, not when I talk to her. When I talk to her, I actually start trying to find ways to get to my car or back into my house again. She works at a bird sanctuary I think (how do they keep them there?) and she's obsessive about the plants on her front porch. I live in a duplex, so our front doors are inches from each other. I can't help but run into her if she's working on her plants and I leave my place to go to my car. There she is.


Our conversations go like this.


OMAR: Oh! Hi... (trying to remember name)... you!

NEIGHBOR WITH NO REMEMBERED NAME: Hello! How are you? I was just stripping these patio chairs so I can repaint them, further creating a contrast between your bare-ass, dead-plant graveyard side of the duplex and my Paradise-On-Lush-Green-Earth side.

OMAR: I gotta go.


Neighbor plants: Lush, alive.

The fascinating part is that she just bought a white convertible. And her boyfriend (I imagine him to be her boyfriend), shows up in a Harley and stays over. Doesn't that give off an "Erin Brockovich" kind of vibe?

And she has a big neon pink flamingo sign in her window, like she's an exotic masseuse or something.

Her plants are huge. They are "plants" the way you'd call elephants "pets." They literally take up her entire side of the front patio. They're in enormous terra cotta pots. They're beautiful. These plants are so pampered and confident I think they have actually grown fur to protect themselves from the elements. They've somehow converted carbon dioxide into little lightweight Gore-Tex coats covering each individual leaf.

The plants on my side, all three of them in tiny plastic pots, aren't dying from heat or extreme direct sunlight: They're dying of shame.

Omar plants: Dead, seeking vengeance from beyond the grave.

She's also involved with my landlady in some landscaping project that involves my side of the duplex. They started planting bushes on my end, which is fine, except that now I have to water them. That's fine too except, you know, that I have to actually water them.

My neighbor sometimes keeps her door wide open so when I come home, I'm obligated to greet her as I walk in. She has lots of white leather furniture.

So what I'm saying is that I can't figure this lady out.

But she seems happy.



What am I going to do all week? My brother goes back Tuesday, so after this little dot-com-in-Omar's-office disappears, I'm going to have to find other things to do with my time than play videogames with P.J.

I started reading Stephen King's Dreamcatcher again. I'm liking it.

I want to do some more writing after I finish the Carolyn thing. Maybe I'll pick up the novel I started last year and proofread a few weeks ago and work on it some more.

Maybe I should write a play.

I want to go the gym a few times this week. I've been really bad about that since the eye surgery. (Vision is improving, by the way. If I'm not 20/20 right now in both eyes, I'm pretty damned close. I won't need glasses or another surgery, thank God.)

Don't have any 4th of July plans yet.

So here it is. The glamorous, decadent life of the full-time writer/online journaler. I take a week off from work and can't figure out what to do with myself except write more journal entries.

Got any ideas? E-mail me. I know getting a good massage should be on my list of vacation plans and I do intend to visit the bookstore. Other than that, feel free to plan my week for me.

Oh, one last thing. Can you do me a big favor and go take a look at this? It's a story I wrote for Technopolis running today about a couple that teleconferenced their wedding. I think it's interesting. And Technopolis could use all the page views it can get right now, if you get my drift.


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