Fashion tyrant:
Sometimes people take an interest in what I am doing.  Sometimes it puzzles me.

Once I was working at a large clinic that had some crowding in the parking area.  The senior doctors pooled their clout and arranged for the clinic to have a row of parking spaces reserved for doctors.  The spaces were allocated by seniority; the longest serving doctor got first choice.

When the administrator came to me to ask for my choice in my turn I looked at what had already been done.  The eldest doc had taken the slot closest to the nearby hospital.  Then he could drive to work, walk over and do his chores at the hospital and have to walk a shorter distance than if he parked in the hospital doctors’ parking area.  The next eldest had taken the slot next the eldest, and so on down the line.

Well I hadn’t much cared where I parked, but when the choice was presented I chose the space that was farthest from the hospital.  The greater distance to walk was trifling, and that spot had some shade.

Not that it was all that desirable.  It was down a slight grade in all directions, so if it rained your car stood in a fair sized puddle.  And the shade was only there during the middle of the day, not at quitting time when it would have been nice.  So it wasn’t a brilliant idea.  It was just a break with expectation.

You would have thought I had stolen the crown jewels.  The first thing they did was open a walk in clinic.  They put it in the part of the building closest to my parking place and then informed me that it was for the use of patients and I was relegated to a distant lot.  The walk in clinic failed so I returned to my spot.

Then they told me that they were giving my space to a pediatrician who evidently was more popular than I, and I went back to the boondocks.  She found work she liked better, and I returned.

Then they declared that there were no reserved spaces for doctors.  That was fine with me.  I usually got there early, and there was little competition for a space that was far from the hospital, which was where the other early arrivers were going before their clinic hours. 

Next they repainted the stripes that indicated parking spaces.  The curb beside my space was diagonal to the sidewalk, so all the parking places had been outlined as diagonal spaces.  Now all the spots were indicated as perpendicular to the walk.  I continued to park on the slant.  Since the next car parked perpendicular, it was particularly easy for me to get in an out. 

I don’t remember just how they eventually flushed me out, but it was something quite clever.  Maybe they designated the space and those next to it as compact cars only.  I do remember thinking that this time they got me.

Who cared?  I mean really who could possibly care?  But as long as I kept coming back, somebody could not rest easy.

One of my youthful fantasies had always been to have a big car with four wheel drive.  I was sure that if I owned one I would immediately get involved in adventures that required it.  Eventually I was making real money, enough to buy a new car, so I looked around.  Nothing seemed quite to fill the bill until I heard that there was a Toyota Land Cruiser for sale.  No new ones had been sold in the United States for many years even though everybody seemed to agree that it was  more off road capability for the money than anything else.  So before it got to the showroom I went to check it out.  If you put the back seat flat, there was enough room to stretch out in the baggage space.  It was just what I needed for my never-to-be-realized fantasies.  The salesman sold it to me at a deep discount and threw in a winch and a towing hitch and towing package for free.  He vediently despaired ever of unloading the thing.

But nay.

The first thing you know: SUV.  The sport utility vehicle suddenly became the darling of the automotive world.  Everyone seemed to want one, and they are still immensely popular even though they are not inherently fuel efficient.

I am not a fashion slave.  For me the universe is divided in three.  There is what I am experiencing at the moment.  There are works of fiction.  And there is everything in between, everything that ever happened anywhere else and everything that happened here any time but now.  I give full reality value to the here and now and none to fiction.  But all the rest get a sort of an intermediate value, be it my own life yesterday or tomorrow or something that happened thousands of years ago and as many miles away.  It is all equally real.  So what’s with fashion?  Am I really to like something just because so many others do at the moment?  They didn’t last year.  They won’t next year.  What’s so special about this year? 

Yet I find I am often doing just what everybody else is.  And often I suspect that I have started things.  What’s the opposite of a fashion slave?  A fashion tyrant?  Maybe.

At all events I assumed that as soon as I began to take in interest in fertility and its relationship with kinship and population size, others would immediately seize on it and I would be no more remembered has having started it than I am for the SUV craze. 

Well we are all wrong from time to time.  That seizing has not happened yet.  But it is important, and one must try.

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