November 1983

I have found my occupational calling. Turns out I’m really good at computer programming. To get accepted into the Computer Science degree program at SUNY, you have to take a bunch of technical and math prerequisite classes and maintain a high GPA. The only hurdle for me was getting through calculus last summer. The five-week summer sessions condense all the material of a whole semester in less than half the time, and I was taking a full course load. The problem with calculus was that they assume that you’ve had all the standard high school senior classes, and that you know trigonometry, functions, and other pre-calculus things like that. I didn’t really have any math education after 9th grade. The GED didn’t require advanced math, and I had accounting, but no math classes in community college, since the focus was all on culinary and hotel and restaurant courses. I was a real wiz at 9th grade algebra, but that was long ago, and calculus resembled none of that. I was so frustrated with the calculus class, and had no idea what they were talking about with sin and cosine and tangents and functions and derivatives and integrals. It made absolutely no sense to me; I was literally in tears because I just wasn’t getting it. Luckily, Lou really understands it, because he had lots of math in high school and while at Union College. So he sat at the kitchen table with me one night and went through all the fundamentals. It was like I was handed a key to unlock and open a door behind which all the secrets of calculus were hidden. I don’t know how I would have been able to get through the class if he hadn’t spent that time with me.

I’m enjoying life here. Lou’s really into his job at Hazeltine, and has a lot of ideas for changes and improvements at work. We bought a Volkswagen Dasher so he can attend the monthly APICS meetings, which he can’t get to by train. So now I can take the car when he doesn’t need it. He likes commuting by train so he can read. He wants me to read the same books he selects, but I’ve got so much I have to do for school, I just don’t have the time. His favorite authors right now are Ayn Rand and Herman Hesse. He insisted I read The Fountainhead, which I did because it was short enough and he was adamant about it. He totally relates to the title character, Howard Roark, and says that I’m his Dominique. I see what he means about Howard, but I really don’t get the Dominique thing. Despite the fact that they are together at the end, they pretty much torture each other all along the way.  I personally find Roark’s character arrogant and destructive rather than heroic, but I didn’t mention that to Lou. Maybe I read the book too quickly. As much as he likes Atlas Shrugged, I only gave it a skim; it is way too long and looks too dull for me. Besides, after reading the Fountainhead, I find I have serious philosophical differences with Ayn Rand. Like her, I value the rights and aspirations of the individual, but I think her obvious distain for people with characteristics and views that are different from her own is contradictory and hypocritical. Her writing and characters are brilliant, but I don’t think there is as much polarity in life as she presents. I do not feel that people exist at the far extremes of being all virtuous heroes or all evil destroyers; I believe that most lives are spent hovering in the “good” spectrum, but their actions vacillate from one end to the other at times. But that’s just the type of person Ayn Rand despises. Lou has embraced her Objectivism philosophy, which is that the only moral, valuable purpose in an individual’s life is his own happiness. That’s fine, in and of itself, but I don’t see the need or virtue in viewing and treating others as the enemy in the process. I’m keeping my opinions to myself, lest I be branded a destroyer for life.

We finally got a color TV and VCR. We researched the different models and got the best rated one. It’s only 19”, but that makes it a little easier to move around. The apartment is really small, and the cable reaches long enough that we can just roll the TV from the living room to the bedroom at night. I like MTV; Lou was excited to get the Playboy channel, but I’m getting tired of it always being on in the bedroom. It is just soft core, so he usually also rents or buys X-rated videos, and already has a collection going. It’s an improvement over the movie projector, I guess. I just wish we could listen to music instead sometimes. I always know when he’s going to have an orgasm though – because it is always in sync with some guy in the video; it has nothing to do with where I am in the process.

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