I pack up my cloudy crystal ball


Senior Member
There was a long silence. Glen had put his forehead into one hand. At last he said, “Yeah, you’re right. She can’t just be a figurehead … at the very least we have to accept the possibility that she may have her own ideas. And that’s where I pack up my cloudy crystal ball, East Texas. Because she’s what those of us who ride the sociology range call other-directed.”
Source: The Stand by Stephen King
Context: Glen is a sociology assistant profession and he is making proposal about instituting a board of selectmen, post-apocalyptic people gathering in Boulder, with Mother Abagail its titular head.

to pack up = to pack away, right? Is there any nuance difference between the 2 phrasal verbs?

I glossed the following expressions:
ride the sociology range : used as a figure of speech for herding the sociological evolution as pleased or deemed necessary.
other-directed: governed by external circumstances.

Thank you.

    Senior Member
    English-US, standard and medical
    "Those of us who ride the sociology range" is King's idiosyncratic but understandable dialogue expressing the idea "those of us who teach or study sociology or who think in sociological terms." To pack up is not quite the same as to pack away, but the difference is subtle. Pack up has a vague implication of being done with something, pack away of putting something into storage. Cloudy crystal ball refers to a crystal ball used to predict the future; if it's cloudy it indicates the speaker feels he has been inaccurate in his prediction.
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