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.” 

© 2011, Gabriel Thy. All rights reserved. 

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