City

I just got done reading a great classic sci-fi novel, City, by Clifford D. Simak. It’s a great series of short stories that fit together in a morality play about how people have difficulty co-existing peacefully with other people. Dogs talk, robots do all the work, humans leave the planet, mutants teach ants to build, and the ants build an entire city — empty and useless — and then disappear.

Each story is engrossing, and individually interesting and complete. Together as a novel they are utterly confusing as the reader looks for common threads to make sense of it all. And even after reading the last chapter I wondered if I fully grasped the meaning in the complexity of the inner workings.

On a completely unrelated note, I’m still struggling to get my business license with the City of St. Louis. The complexity of the inner workings are even confusing to people who work there — three people who work in the same department gave me three different answers to one of my questions.

And while it’s helpful to have an entire agency designed to help businesses get what they need, this week I was nearly helped to death by someone who first said that my plan (to clear the last remaining “violations” from my occupancy permit) would surely fail, then recommended a different approach, and then came full circle to tell me I needed to go back to my original plan.

So today I went back to write another check (of course) to replace the one that I had shredded on Monday. If all goes well and talking dogs and mutants don’t take over city hall, I should be able to conduct (official) business by the end of August. Stay tuned.

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