And sometimes what comes out the other side is
…poop. And sometimes it's not poop; sometimes we lay a golden egg and then just sit there being baffled for a moment before the necessity of cleaning up and going to check on the guests again intrudes.
So I'm horribly, desperately, probably-will-not-recover-ably behind on NanoWriMo; I'm mad that I didn't get my 30 in this year but in nearly-retrospect, I suppose it was sort of inevitable, especially once one of "my" datacenters decided to start flummoxing about. I was already moving apartments, traveling twice, and leading a team to speak at a conference this month, after all; and that's a lot even before you start pulling night-shifts and weekends on a regular basis. (I refuse to actually complain about the nights and weekends…I have a ridiculously awesome team of geniuses working alongside me now, and mostly I just send emails and keep the hounds off so they can fix things. This time last year it was me and one other tech, and those were some brutal night-shifts!)
But for all that I've only got, let's see, eight-and-a-half stories to show for this month, some of them are, once again, not half bad. I'm posting this one (the eighth, of course) because it isn't very good as a story, but I still enjoyed writing it and reading it and figured somebody else might too. It's like what I imagine would happen if I took up writing Hallmark cards! ;)
There’s a spot on this road where the path diverges eight ways.
If you see it, and you know that eight is the number of possible paths, you may be able to choose the correct one. But if you do not realize that you’ve reached the eightfold split, then there is very little hope you’ll go the right way. But maybe I can help. Here is how you’ll know you’ve reached the eightfold path:
One optional path will always lead left, but there will not always be a right option.
One will certainly be rocky and slant upwards. Consider this one carefully.
One path will appear to lead straight ahead, but if you look closely you’ll notice that it isn’t really a continuation of the path you were on after all. This is a deceptive path that will seem appealing because it looks like no choice at all, but in fact it is a significant divergence.
One may slope downwards, and if it does, you will often see a pleasant resting-place with water in this direction. Beware this path; it never leads where it looks to.
Two, sometimes three paths will lead backwards. Take one of these if you must, but keep in mind that none of them actually head back to where you came from.
The crossroads is often occupied by an older person who wants you to stop and talk. They may have wisdom, or only doubt; but before you decide to talk to them or not, consider that doing so is a path in itself: None of your other options will remain exactly as they were when you’ve finished.
And lastly, if you find yourself faced with seven paths similar to the ones above, confirm that you are in fact at an eightfold crossroad by looking up. The final path, or the key to which path to take, is often hiding right in the open, just over your head.