Thursday, February 23, 2006

An Interview with Future Karen

Weekend Assignment #100: Share 10 facts about yourself -- from the next five years. Imagine what you see happening over the next half decade and then tell us about it, in interesting fact form. You can be serious, or silly, or somewhere in between. But give it some real thought and then take a stab at your future facts. If you find 10 facts too much, just do five. Either way it'll be fun.

Extra Credit: So, who's president in 2011?

When the other Karen walked into my office here at home, smiled a greeting and grimaced at the mess, I took a moment to search my recent memories for any sign that I was demented or hallucinating or dreaming. Finding none, I smiled back at her.

"Hi. I'm glad to see you. Future, alternate reality or both?"

"Hi yourself. From your point of view, a possible future."

star field in the vortex I nodded. "That makes sense. So. How did you get back to 2006?"

Karen shook her head. "You know I can't tell you that."

I was annoyed, but not all that surprised. "What's the point of letting me know you're here, if you won't tell me anything?"

Karen shook her head again. "I didn't say I couldn't tell you anything. But that answer's definitely on the forbidden list."

"Double-starred, no doubt," I said, quoting from Quantum Leap.

Karen chuckled. "Yes. Double-starred."

"Forbidden by whom?" I asked.

"Can't tell you the answer to that one, either," Karen said.

"Then what can you tell me?" I asked. I was quoting from the Quantum Leap pilot again, and Karen knew it. She smiled.

"Basically what you already know," Karen said, quoting back at me. "I can tell you the answers to ten questions about your future in the next five years. But they have to be answers you could have predicted yourself. That way, there's no evidence that I was here for sure. This could be a fictional visit, as far as the digital record is concerned. And because I'm from just one of your possible futures, there's no guarantee that your future will match my past."

The Seventh Doctor"So what you're saying is, you remember about Weekend Assignment #100, and you're here to help me with it? But everyone's supposed to think I'm making all this up about your visit? And you could be wrong, anyway, depending on whether or not I make your version of the future my own?"

Karen nodded. "That's right. And no, you can't take a picture of me, either."

I shook my head. "That's not very satisfactory," I said.

"Yes, I remember," Karen said. "But I know you have some pretty good questions, because I'm the one who asked them orginally. So get on with it, all right?"

I nodded. "Yeah. All right. Sorry to be so cranky."

"I understand," Karen said. "You're stressed out, your leg is just so-so and your back hurts. So what's the obvious first question?"

"Well, my health, obviously. And you look pretty healthy to me. Are you? You're thinner than I've been in years and years."

Karen smiled. "Yeah. I am, both reasonably thin and reasonably healthy. There's nothing seriously wrong on the heart front, the diabetes you think you may have is under control, and I hardly ever have a backache or an attack of IBS any more. Except in February, of course."

I nodded. "Of course. And you just gave me a hint toward my second question. Are you still with the same employer?"

"I was as of 2011," Karen said. "Don't ask me what year I'm from. I can only answer through 2011 anyway."

"Have I been promoted?"

"Of course. That's three questions down. Seven to go."

"Am I a CPA?"

Karen shook her head. "Nope. Sorry. Four down."

"Have my books been published?"

Karen smiled. "That's the main thing I want you to know. You have both Heirs and Mages out, plus Meet Joshua Wander, and another book on the way. At least, those are your names for the books. The publisher changed a couple of the titles. Five down."

I absorbed this. "Well, I don't really mind that," I decided, "as long as they came out. Have they been selling?"

"Moderately well, especially once the second book appeared. Six down."

"How about a movie deal?"

Karen shook her head. "Not so far. Seven down. Haven't you anything better to ask? Get on with it."

"All right, then. How is my family doing - you know, John, Dad, Steve and Ruth?"

"It's about time you got around to them. They're older, but still alive, talking care of themselves as best they can. Your dad's preplanning for health care arrangements is starting to pay off. Eight down."

"Has John finished his mystery or his vampire screenplay?"

"He has a version of the screenplay done, but I don't think it's going to get picked up. But he has two volumes out of his mystery series out, and the first one is under option at Castle Rock. Rob Reiner's interested in directing."

"Cool!" I said, even though I was a little jealous of John's success.

"You're down to your last question. Make it a good one. And no wishing for more wishes gambit, either."

"Since you're not a genie, I wouldn't bother. Okay, then. Are we doing better, financially?"

Karen smiled. "Better. You finally have adequate storage, and can even pay someone to clean up after you."

I laughed. "That's exactly what I wanted to know."

"Of course it is. Aren't you forgetting something?"

"Well, I've used up my questions."

"We're done with the ten questions, Scalzi's ten future facts. But there's still the Extra Credit."

"Oh, yeah. I'm almost afraid to ask, but who is the President of the U.S. in 2011?"

"John McCain. Second term. He's surprisingly good - for a Republican."

The TARDIS "I was hoping he would be, if he got elected at all. So what happens now? Do you turn into a pumpkin, climb into a blue box, or disappear in a flash of blue light?"

Karen chuckled. "I don't have to answer that. And I won't. But I will tell you this. In my version of your future, good things are coming, not just for you, but for many of your online and offline friends. But you all have to work at making them happen, as Fayubi does in the books. Will you do that?"

I nodded. "I will. I promise. And I'll ask my friends to do the same."

"Good. Well, I'm off. Just remember what Doc Brown said."

"Right. 'The future is whatever you make it - so make it a good one!'"

Karen smiled. "You've got it. See ya." She turned and walked away. By the time I got to the next room myself, she was gone.

(Screen captures from the Doctor Who serial "Remembrance of the Daleks," copyright BBC 1989. I'd love to believe Future Karen came by TARDIS to see me, especially with that version of The Doctor. But who knows how she really got here?)


Health Update:

How shall I put this delicately? The most obvious evidence that the diuretic is working has hardly happened at all. The leg has been hurting less today, though, feels slightly less swollen, and is less tender to the touch. It pretty much looks the same as it did, but I think I can sorta kinda see a small improvement.

I had a wicked charlie horse in my right leg when I woke up this morning, and I had a minor one in my left leg about a few minutes ago, that lasted for at least a minute. I've also had back spasms. Phooey. I think the back thing can be attributed to stress, but I'll continue to do some stretching, and see how it does. If it's not better by the time Dr. L. calls about the blood work, I'll mention it to her.

Nat, Paul, Carly and JLand.

Natalie (lurkynat) posted a nice tribute today to Carly, a.k.a. OndineMonet of Ellipsis...Suddenly Carly. Paul (plittle) has chimed in with his own thoughts. Can I do any less?

Carly is one of the two founders of the Round Robin Photo Challenge, an excellent writer, and a gifted photographer. She's a warm, funny, giving and insightful person, and my friend. Although she's had significant health problems, she doesn't let that stop her. Why, she posts even more often than I do! Her blog is always worth a visit. If you lost track of her after the Exodus, or just haven't been over there lately, now's a great time to stop by and say hello!

(Oh, and Carly, I know I haven't posted a Round Robin promo this week. I'll get to it tomorrow night - I promise!)



Carly said...

Hey Karen

I enjoyed your interview very much. :) My goodness, I am going to blush clear into next week with all the mentions I have got today. BLUSH. You guys are very sweet to make me feel so special this way. Thank you for your kind words. :)

Always, Carly :)

bea said...

I loved the format of this entry... very entertaining! I'm making room in my bookcase for at least six new books (your four and two more of Scalzi's). Bea

Wil said...

Nice one, kiddo. Sorry about the CPA thing, though. Guess we can't have everything.

Ask the good Dr. if perhaps you need to add some potassium to your diet while on those diuretics. I have to, as I use them every day. YMMV ;)

See you round the killing fields...

Becky said...

I second the potassium suggestion. I have a vague recollection about diuretics and potassium difficiency. Go eat a banana. ;-)