Thursday, July 27, 2006

a friend's difficult day and how i helped a bit

dear bossman,

I know you only care if I pass my exams, however you really need to
know the extent to which I went through….

At my age, you really have two problems, your memory and a need to go
to the bathroom. Since these exams really require use of ones memory,
I subscribe to the Zen approach of study, review and on the day of the
exam, lots of rest, no stress, eat light, drink water, use the
bathroom, arrive with plenty of time, and focus. My wife volunteered
to take my daughter to daycare and leave me with some extra
time to review (ok cram) and focus before the exam. So I happily
packed my 2 year-old into mom's care, kissed them both good-bye and
never even noticed babygirl dangling my set of keys in her fingers.

After an hour of focused preparation, it was time to go to the testing
center. I have 15 minutes. Time to eat and drink something, then I
would be ready to go. As I was drinking my water I started patting my
pockets like all males do checking for their keys. Not there.
Hmmmmm, not on my desk, not in the bedroom, not in the kitchen and
definitely not on the KEY rack where I never put them. No worries, I
open the spare key drawer and find the spare Honda keys. I'm running
a bit late, so I just dash in to get my pretty wool sweater that
everyone likes (It is always so cold in those exam centers!) and head
out the garage door to my car. I only have my spare car key so I hit
the close garage door button and skip out under the door as it is
closing. Understand my anxiety as I find out that the alleged spare
key is for someone else's car, not mine! Picture a 40(ish) old man
diving back to stop the garage door from closing… Ok, now I am in the
house with only 10minutes to get to the testing center. No
problem--call a cab. I've long since disposed of the yellow pages for
the beauteous internet. Technology is the man's power! Unless of
course your batteries on your wireless keyboard go dead. Talk about
slicing a techno giant at his knees. No problem. To the spare
computer (everyone has a spare computer, right???). Fire up yahoo
(ok, maybe I should have used Google), Austin yellow cab, has a
website, however I tell you it could use a few UI pointers. I call
the number. "Please wait for the next available agent". Don't you
just hate those words? Ok, I have a cell phone too. Technology again
to my rescue! I called Roy's cab as well. Unfortunately technology
allows me to call two people at once; it's another thing trying to
talk to two people at once. Needless to say Roy said he could get
there 30 minutes and Yellow cab 45. I only had 2 minutes…

Thank God I have friends that when called will just drop things and
come to my rescue (thank you Curt!). You know that rule "get to the
testing center at least 15 minutes ahead of time… try arriving 45
minutes late. Also being totally out of my "Zen", they start the exam
and I sit down. My breathing slowing down, heart not racing as much,
my body starts to return to normal. I forgot to go to bathroom! Oh
no, a priority one mistake! "I can wait. No I can't. Yes I can, no I
can't". Is the only thing going through my mind as I click thru the
Microsoft EULA. So do you know you get ten minutes to read and accept
those agreements? This is plenty of time to check every bathroom in
the building for an unlocked door. I made it back with 1 minute to
spare and the exam begins. I won't bore you with the details of the
exam. Suffice to say the first questions could have been written in
Gaelic script for all the sense I was making out of them.

The exam is over! I am done, a huge sense of relief washes over me.
It is time to go home. Hey, no car. No one answers the phone. No
problem, I am elated to be done. I can take the bus or walk. I seem
to remember the bus costs 50 cents. I have a buck, a twenty dollar
bill and my trusty get me out of any bind credit cards. I need
change. No problem there is a vending machine. Items are 50 cents. I
put in my dollar get my item. It returns 25 cents. Argh! You know I
haven't ridden a bus in 20 years. You would think they would progress
into the techno world, making change and accept credit cards. AND
busses are not convenient. By the time I got to the bus stop, the
next bus stop was further away from my home than if I just walked. So
my journey home begins afoot. I learn things like: it is difficult
to cross highway 183, there are no sidewalks along side 183, and don't trust
the Walk/Don't' walk signs. You also pay a lot more attention to
things along the way as you walk. Like the temperature signs
displaying 98 degrees and you are wearing a sweater or people really
don't use their turn signals when they should.

Making it across 183 was a major triumph, however now I am in the
jungle of suburbia. Strange things go on around there. At one point
rocks came raining down on me and plunking into the metal wall I was
walking by. I thought I was in Lebanon for a moment. It turns out
there was a man on one of those super power riding mowers about 200
feet away mowing thru a rock filled ditch. He was sporting a wicked
grin as I dashed away as fast as I can.

I am home now, I am not coming in, unless you send a limo or I get my
keys back. And please, next time you see one of those homeless people
carrying a blanket under the 183 bridge, it may not be what it seems….


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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5:11 AM  

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