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I would imagine everyone knows what happens to the best-laid plans of mice and men. Not surprisingly, it happens to PTers, too. We certainly ran into plenty of plans going astray as we worked to bring you this issue of DF!: various elements of our chosen PT lifestyle required our immediate attention; our baby decided to arrive two weeks early (healthy and normal, thank Life!); and potential contributors ignored our requests for material by a certain date--or were they wrangling with their own set of challenges like ours? Privacy dictates we'll never know... but there are important lessons for all of us, PT or parked, in this.
First is a general reminder about the nature of the Internet. It has enabled almost instantaneous communications in e-mail, live chat, and other fora, making it very difficult for people to be patient when something throws the normal pace of communications off stride. Although we have a publishing schedule that currently runs every other month, the fact is that it's a certainty that we won't meet that every time (but we'll try to make up for it! In fact, we hope to be able to produce an extra issue of DF! soon to make up for our delays with this one). We sure don't plan to be complacent or lazy, publishing an issue whenever we damn well feel like it--we know we need to deliver the goods or our customers will walk, and we try like hell to do so with every issue of Doing Freedom!. The simple fact is that sometimes the Internet itself is goofy--packets get lost, servers crash, and a URL that worked beautifully two days ago is suddenly, inexplicably, totally unreachable. It's ... anarchic! Everyone deals with those challenges, but for folks who live on the move, these minor annoyances can become major headaches, as one's ability to connect depends upon where you are, what equipment you have, and whether you have the time to try to get online.
A PT lifestyle doesn't have to be a life totally on the edge; some PTers I know give the appearance of being long-term, solid citizens in their community. For those doing the Perpetual Traveler (Previous Taxpayer, Permanent Tourist, whatever) thing, though, it becomes important to seize opportunities as they arise; a good deal may disappear with tomorrow's sunset. For those who opt for a mobile strategy in order to evade some aspect of the thought police's control, staying at least one step ahead of the hounds is important. Both of these mean that schedules can easily be disrupted, sometimes long-term, by the necessities of this kind of lifestyle. Flexibility becomes crucially important, even in such inflexible areas as publishing a 'zine on schedule. Having a sense of humor helps a great deal too...
Last, silence from a PTer doesn't necessarily mean the thought police have rounded her up. Even an extended absence can be innocuous, but understandably worrisome for those who've come to expect regular communications. I can assure you that our recent silences (here and elsewhere) were not because the ferals had rounded us up; life just got Very Busy. If the thought police do grab one or both of us, you can be sure that we'll get word of that out in a way that will be unmistakable. I encourage other PTers to set up similar precautions in case of imperial entanglements (an encrypted file to be decrypted only under certain circumstances is the modern equivalent to the sealed envelope and a darned good idea), so that those who care won't be left in the dark.
So, thanks to all who wrote with their concerns about us and DF!; it's gratifying to know the 'zine has so quickly become important to you. As I said before, we'll do our best to keep production delays from becoming commonplace. And for those who haven't heard, it's a girl, and she's healthy and beautiful and every bit the anarchist her parents are! <grin>
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