Chapter 14.3: Rocks -- An Evening Together
"I'm glad they had the Micro Chroma kits so we can take them home."
Pat was examining the kit she was carrying as we entered the front door.
"I don't know about you guys, but I'm watching Hello Dolly tonight." Denise looked up from where she was watching TV and grinned as we came in the front door.
I went to the kitchenette and set the bags I was carrying down.
Pat looked from her kit to the TV with a perplexed frown.
"Joe?" Julia looked over at me with a question in her eyes.
I shook my head. "No complaints from me."
Julia happily sat herself on the couch beside Denise, and I sat on the floor in front of her, leaning back against the couch beside her knees.
Denny carried a couple of flat boxes into the kitchenette muttering something amusingly inane about TV.
Pat sat beside Julia. George and Mike took the flat boxes they were carrying into the kitchenette and returned to sit on the floor in front of her, dividing their attention between the TV and their kits.
"Somebody help me with the pizza I brought home!" Denny called out.
"Pizza?" Denise looked up from the TV hopefully. "I thought I smelled pizza. You brought some home?"
I got back up and went into the kitchen area, and George and Mike followed.
"On the company tab. Leftover from recruitment party."
quickly had plates out and filled, and we passed them back into the
living room, then passed out cups and soft drink bottles and returned to
sitting on the floor.
"Tell your boss I thank him," Denise said between bites. "Very considerate, and better than the fried chicken I thought you had forgotten."
Denny grinned and joined us, giving Denise's rounding abdomen a caress before he sat down in front of her on the floor. "Kids asleep?"
"I doubt it."
The older boy peeked in through the boys' room door. I motioned to him to join us, and he came in and sat beside me. Denny stood back up and brought the younger one in, letting him lie in his lap and go back to sleep.
is like manure." Julia gave me a glance and look as quiet as her voice.
Denny and Denise had invited us to join in their family prayers, and,
that done, Julia and I had carried the boys back to their beds and were
now returning to the living room.
She gave that a quiet laugh. "I guess it's not quite the same metaphor if the paper money isn't green."
"Still a useful principle."
Mike and George looked into the boys' room behind us.
"Tight squeeze with three of us," George muttered. He turned back to the living room. "In my economics class, the teacher compared money to air. Pointed out that it's a medium of communication and essential to society's functioning."
"Essential?" Pat raised an eyebrow.
"You need something that can be used to communicate about value," he replied.
"And any medium for communicating value just ends up looking like money," I added for him.
Pat asked, "Then how about blood as a metaphor, since it has to circulate, and it carries stuff with it?"
Mike suppressed a snort. "More like pus."
I glanced up at him. "Because it tends to accumulate most in the wounds of society."
He nodded. "Exactly."
"Pus?" Julia scrunched her face. "Yuck. I could hate you for that, Mike." She shook her head and chuckled.He just grinned back.
George groaned, but Pat nodded her head appreciatively.
"Are you guys sure you're not already all related to the Reeves clan?" Denise asked.
"Philosophizing when we should be getting ready hit the hay," I explained.
"All the Reeveses do it," she laughingly complained.
Denny and I chuckled, and Julia reached out to take my hand. I gave her a smile and hug in reply.
Mike's low voice from beside me broke into my pre-dream thoughts.
George's breathing from the other side of him was deep and regular.
"Julia tell you about her and me?"
"I wish I'd known you in high school."
"I think I needed better role models."
"Heh. I was not much of a role model in high school. Two years as a missionary helped, but, ..." and I stopped, in the realization that what I was about to say might be rather painful to Mike.
"Then maybe it's just that you and Julia are a better match than I'd have been for her."
"Maybe." I guessed he'd understood -- from his point of view -- some, if not all, of what I hadn't said.
"Even if ...," he trailed off.
I waited for him to finish.
"Even though I can't expect to win Julia back, I want to be your friend."
"I hope we can be friends. I think Julia has some unhealed wounds that could be healed if we could all be friends."
"I think we can. But that's what it is. What I want to learn from you. I want to be able to think like that."
"I think it has something to do with religion."
I waited for him to say something more.
"Thanks for letting us come along."
"Thanks for coming."
Mike grunted an affirmative, and slowly his breathing became regular and deep.
was reminded of listening to my missionary companions' breathing in the
middle of the night. There's something companionable about sharing a
room to sleep in.
the morning, we met the others at the park and spent a half hour
walking and wading in the water before heading out for breakfast and to
the surplus store.
John was happy to have the group of students browsing his selection of surplus, and he was happy to talk with me about the controller circuit. He was worried about Motorola wanting to prevent him from passing the diagram and code out with the drives he sold, but Denny and assured him Motorola had agreed to keep it openly usable.
Denny had already put copyright notice, notice of intent to patent, with notice of license and disclaimer of liability on the diagrams he passed out among his friends, and John was leaving the notices intact on the copies he kept to pass out.
About lunchtime, we went back to the park and met the other group coming in. Motorola's recruiters found us there, bringing more pizza and the remainder of the Micro Chroma 68 kits. But they kept the recruitment activities short, to leave the second group as much time at the surplus store as possible.
Julia and I spent a couple of hours with Denny and his boss at
Motorola, learning how to use the test equipment to go through the
reject bin and fish out parts that were functional enough, even though the batch
they had come from had not qualified as product. We were able to
collect a couple of rails of parts that members of our group could use
in their projects.
the time we got ready to leave, we had, in addition to the Micro Chroma
68 kits and the hardware we had purchased, something of an agreement
that many of the students in our group would be working on projects for
Motorola over spring break and the summer holidays.
Julia wrapped my arms around her as we stood facing the moon on the sidewalk outside her house about a half hour before midnight. Neither of us spoke for maybe a couple of minutes, then she turned and gave me a kiss that must have lasted as long. It tore me up to tear myself away so we could unload her hardware.
Her mother was sitting on the couch with some knitting when we entered the front door.
"Mom, don't say a thing."
"About it would be faster and easier for me to stay over in Joe's spare room.
that would mean Dad wouldn't be able to help you build your computer."
She smiled. "We're putting enough pressure on you two. Take your time
and don't mind us."
[Backed up at https://joel-rees-economics.blogspot.com/2020/09/bk-33209-rocks-evening-together.html.]