Monday, June 22, 2009

First Frost

Getting to the Bulls game on Friday night, I did a lazy circle around the city of Durham and arrived at the restaurant at 7 PM, an hour later than everyone else. Luckily, we were seated at 7:05. Perfectly planned, as usual. I paid penance to my new co-workers, and we jostled each other about how nice it is going to be being young and voluptuous and well-paid. They asked me what I had been up to since moving down, and I filled them in on a time when I went into a martini bar when I was walking around downtown, saw all the swanks in clothing fit for a Ramsey, and then turned right out the door; I threw a strike for my first impression.

On that same night that I walked into the martini bar to announce my presence in Chapel Hill to all the ladies with expensive clutches, I was also lured into a bar called the Library. The only reason I ever duck into these places is because they have “no cover” written on signs out front. It’s free to look, as they say. When I was halfway through the building, I got stopped by a bouncer who asked for $3 in coverage fees. I only had $2, but I could sell a facelift to an earthworm, and he took it. I was then swept to a “stage” area by some promotional professionals, having been randomly chosen in a contest to make a cozy (for a beer bottle.) I and five others had two minutes to make a cozy, and whoever’s beer was the coldest after the time in the cozy got a free t-shirt. Mine was by far the warmest, but I got second place because of creative decorum.

Saturday, after a quick walk up and down the street, I was headed back to my car, wanting to go home, when I ran into my housemate Chad. He was with a gaggle of his accounting friends, and he wanted me to join him for awhile. This, of course, was code for him wanting a ride home. So while Chad dropped one of two comments – “You are kind of fat” (to guys) and “I have lain with your mother” (or some variation of the preceding insult; again, to guys) I talked to one of his UNC friends, AJ. We then went downstairs to play darts, and Chad and I won because Chad nailed every damn toss, even after a night full of heavy drinking. I then had to drive Chad around town looking for food, and when we finally got home he just made an entire package of bacon for himself. It wasn’t the most flushed I’ve ever been in my life, but on some level I appreciate the effort of Chad to try to introduce me to friends.

When I was walking home from the library on Sunday I was reading and I had taken off my shoes because of the blister I still carry. Walking down the bike path, I suddenly realized I had just walked over a collection of small pebbles, and I turned to see how cute they were. When I looked down, it was glass. Tiny shards of glass. It was actually glass the whole time, and didn’t just magically turn so when I looked. Needless to say, I didn’t get cut, so what of it? Yeah, take that, fire-walkers.

Now to the good stuff. I was in bed by midnight last night so I could be well rested for work. I finally fell asleep sometime after 2 AM. Awake at 6, shower, high-fiber cereal, green tea, mud facial, and shirt and tie. Overdressed and unashamed. I got there before everyone else so I could meet my temporary mentor Stan. It just so happens that Stan might be one of the nicest guys this side of the Pacific Ocean. He gave me a laptop and a bag in which to house it, a quick tour, and then escorted me to get my badge picture taken. So, by 9 AM, when everyone else arrived, I was about three steps ahead of everyone else. Stan just nodded to me, stepped away, and said “See you for lunch.”

My badge picture looks like the cover of “The Forty Year old Virgin;” me with a clueless and cocked grin. This may be apt, however, for a Tech company. I will put the badge picture up another day. We then loaded knickknacks onto our laptops for a few hours, and then Stan and the Big Boss picked me up for lunch in the latter’s Lexus.

Chick-fil-a, the cuisine of the cattle-rachers and corporate call girls alike, filled me up like a 1970’s gas pump (with no stop, you can't leave the handle squeezed.) Greg, the big boss, loves Duke basketball, and the conversation was served up light on the subject of work, sprinkled with cooking chatter (Greg loves butter,) and heaped with sports; a platter of football finger food dumped into a bucket of basketball. We briefly talked about my expectations, of which I was too timid to elucidate, so they told me that they want me to help with the writing of “escalation announcements,” at least in some capacity. This means writing to the executives of a company which is currently experience a malfunction of our product, either telling them how to work around it or how we are going to fix it. It may be awhile before I am up to that task, but I’m no stranger to hard work, and these fingers drip poison.

The afternoon consisted of me getting access with a password that only works when it wants to. Slow work, but corporate espionage must be thwarted. After work, I briefly considered being lazy, but instead I went out to celebrate. I did this by

  1. Buying running socks,
  2. Buying wine (no idea why, I will probably never drink it,) and
  3. Buying a cute couple of Moroccan children (otherwise known as… shoes.)

These purchases were due in no small part to the long-awaited arrival of my new debit card. Can you believe the card came with the warning that I couldn't make a purchase over $10,000? How will I be able to blow my hundreds of thousands on a houseboat or hot-air balloon, with that limit?


  1. Hi Wes,

    Your first day sounds as perfect as can be!! I'm so glad for all of the nice people put in your path today! I'm excited about the new shoes-- good choices!! You are taking a good approach to life in a strange new town. I feel proud of you! Way to get through your first day with style and grace. Oh, and the shirt looks nice on you-- even though you were overdressed!!


  2. Hey Buster...

    More of the same (of what Judy said)!! I hope Chad makes up for his "tunnel vision" when on the straight and narrow.

    Congratulations on the first day...once you're up to speed on troubleshooting, I've got a Belkin router that won't perform its function...spent a couple hrs. on the tech hotlines with Comcast and Belkin tonight! Ea. blaming the other, but am going to swap the modem w/Comcast as the first (free) option, then punt (kick the router into submission?)

    Going to call it for tonight...looking forward to talking to you. Will give it a couple days so you can soak it in a little. Love Dad.

  3. im also going to give it a couple of days. let me know when ur done marinating.

  4. Hello son,

    I like the Coors can picture. I'm so happy your enjoying what life has to offer you.
    Go get um son...

  5. For some reason, your picture reminds me of Clark Kent. If you put your glasses on, no one will ever know your true identity. B-)