He measured on the east side with the measuring reed five hundred reeds, with the measuring reed round about. He measured on the north side five hundred reeds with the measuring reed round about. He measured on the south side five hundred reeds with the measuring reed. He turned about to the west side, and measured five hundred reeds with the measuring reed.

–Ezekiel 42:16-19

Chapter 7. With this letter to Philip Dare I knew February was turning…

With the let­ter to Philip Dare I knew Feb­ru­ary was turn­ing ugly, as ugly as a rain soaked machine plun­dered acre could get, and it had become and would remain not only the cru­elest of the twelve that year but the most nos­tal­gic. But I had done it. I had finally retired from the field, as they say, the craven field where sticks and stones, time cards and expense accounts, twelve pound sledge ham­mers and plumb bobs, tack balls and freshly cut bun­dles of Amish hubs and guard stakes rely­ing upon Ger­man tran­sits, theodo­lites, and EDFs to achieve the point on the grid where three dimen­sions of real­ity meet the oppos­ing plans of the civil engi­neer, where rods and chains were not imple­ments of tyranny or plea­sure but were tools of mea­sure­ment that when used prop­erly did endow men with proper sig­na­ture, an emblem­atic sway of pro­fes­sion­al­ism, the boast of stan­dard bearer at the top of the heap on the con­struc­tion site, wore men down to the van­ity of a fiz­zle or a grunt, work­ing men hung over from drink the night before, men and boys who, daz­zled in dream surges and the prop­er­ties of night flight and day jobs barely worth their pay­check, always had other inspired con­sid­er­a­tions to occupy their mind. From these things I had retired, and I had a let­ter from which to plot my for­mer cause. I was fin­ish­ing ten years in the field. Cold cock­ing Philip had suc­cess­fully blocked me from the office. But the toil of years given notice. I needed to leave the dirt, the mud, the iron cold winds of near Penn­syl­va­nia. I needed to relieve myself of the aggra­va­tion a sur­vey party still graz­ing far out in left field with­out a work­ing sense of the math­e­mat­ics, who wanted some­thing for noth­ing and noth­ing for what lit­tle some­thing they pos­sessed, who were quick to draw, but slow to recoil, when serv­ing up any num­ber of rea­sons why a task should be done that way instead of this way, when the party chief almost always won these debates, and when he heard a bet­ter way, was quick to shift course, com­mend the con­trib­u­tor, and swiftly put boots on the ground in pur­suit of the new plan. I was never a tyrant. Betsy and I in the early days of my com­plaints, used to argue over this con­cept, of a rest­less crew is the result of a faulty com­man­der. All I ever wanted from my men was reci­procity, but the argu­ments came every day. This crew of Wel­born and Sworm must have fan­cied them­selves each a lit­i­ga­tor of the firm, Wel­born and Sworm, for whiel I had served with other ill-equipped per­sonel, I had never met a pair of barely lit­er­ate sur­vey­ors (actu­ally Jesse “Chip” Wel­born was a ripe out­doors­man with poten­tial), who seemed to believe it their civic duty to dis­agree with every deci­sion that was made in the course of a sap surveyor’s cold day, no mat­ter how well-explained and counter-proofed. The insub­or­di­na­tion had got­ten worse. Nurs­ing neu­ro­log­i­cal pains in my neck and shoul­der down into my left elbow into my fin­gers, I had given the cold wet sea­son months its due. Six of them had been tacked onto my mor­tal sen­tence. I should have been pro­moted into the Milden­berg & Mackey office by now. I had had enough. The war was over. I played my trump. If I was too valu­able in the field, let them replace me, and then still have to find some­one to move inside. I was done. Keep­ing hours so foul that souls are lost in snap deci­sions, my own work of spirit and mind would never mature if I did not make this change. Work­ing for this out­fit would be my last days as a sur­veyor. A party chief had hung up his belt.

Gabriel Thy
109 18th St. S.E.
Wash­ing­ton, D.C. 20003

Re: Mr. Philip V. Dare
3300 North Ridge Rd. Suite 235
Elli­cott City, MD 21043–5768

Dear Mr. Dare,

It is not with­out a cer­tain dis­may that I sub­mit this res­ig­na­tion for your approval. The cir­cum­stances prompt­ing this move are not so diplo­mat­i­cally artic­u­lated. With­out com­pro­mis­ing can­dor I would only sug­gest that the prob­lem of con­tin­ued employ­ment with Milden­berg Mochi & Asso­ciates is one orig­i­nat­ing in myself, not pre­cip­i­tated by any overt trans­gres­sion by the com­pany or its per­son­nel. As is well doc­u­mented through casual and offi­cial oral exchange with you and with oth­ers, I have long sought a cal­i­brated change of venue. I have wea­ried of field activ­ity, and wish to explore other direc­tions in order to real­ize the full poten­tial of my skills and ambi­tions. It has recently become obvi­ous even to myself that the qual­ity of my per­formed work is suf­fer­ing. I blame my nat­ural rest­less­ness, the)incessant need for change and a severe urgency to explore the world of Mac­in­tosh graph­ics and desk­top pub­lish­ing for this con­tin­ued decline, and seek to rec­tify the prob­lem by remov­ing myself from the posi­tion of respon­si­bil­ity I have shown increas­ing dis­in­ter­est in dis­charg­ing. I apol­o­gize for the impul­sive­ness this deci­sion must seem to you. The task has not been a sim­ple one to resolve, but I trust that one’s wish to improve the qual­ity of his own life can indeed receive the good­will of his con­tem­po­raries.
Sin­cerely hop­ing you not find this let­ter pre­ten­tious or in any way, affected, I pro­pose that you will surely find a com­pe­tent replace­ment for my slot. My work habits these past six months or so, I would like to believe, did man­age to inspire a respectable level of accom­plish­ment in the field. Admit­ting that cur­rent defi­ciency of cru­cial raw moti­va­tion has betrayed me in many ways, I know I could have done a bet­ter job for you and the Com­pany. Regret­tably, the com­mu­ni­ca­tion mal­func­tions which have recently plagued our work­ing oper­a­tions merely accel­er­ated the process. But the nature of the job has finally taken its toll on me, drain­ing me of the vital energy and live­li­ness nec­es­sary to real­ize a healthy return on my invest­ment, that is to say, an invest­ment of time.
The good inten­tions laid out on the table dur­ing our ini­tial meet­ing last August were not lies, but high hopes. In the months since then I have sim­ply lost inter­est in fol­low­ing the path required of a pro­fes­sional sur­veyor. And one must not hes­i­tate when real­iz­ing where his own inter­ests, tal­ents, or incli­na­tions truly do exist. Thus I believe I now must act upon my own resolve to regain con­trol over a life long deemed lost to the sway of mar­ketable skills.
As you would pre­fer, I am will­ing to extend the oblig­a­tory two-week notice of res­ig­na­tion until the end of the month, mak­ing Fri­day, March 1, my final day of offi­cial employ­ment. Good luck and thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Gabriel Thy
5 Feb­ru­ary, 1990

When I left Seizure World a year later that real­ized I always left a job when I had reached the level I knew I would never tran­scend while still car­ry­ing on with my life’s mission.

Had pub­lished the first issue of the Inde­pen­dent Ward Sixer, and had won a seat on the ANC. We had a new mayor in the nation’s cap­i­tal for the first time in a coon’s age. Our Mayor-For-Life had finally stepped over a line. “Bitch set me up.”

I am a great mayor; I am an upstand­ing Chris­t­ian man; I am an intel­li­gent man; I am a deeply edu­cated man; I am a hum­ble man.” — M. Barry

The con­ta­gious peo­ple of Wash­ing­ton have stood firm against diver­sity dur­ing this long period of incre­ment weather.” If only he knew global warm­ing had also set him up. Old poster from the 80s. Polar glac­ier creep from the north.

If you take out the killings, Wash­ing­ton actu­ally has a very very low crime rate.”

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