God, what a horrible day! I woke up just in time to take a
later flight and get to my meeting late, but not too late to
get anything good out of it. I had just endured an hour and
a half of agony where I knew each minute I was getting
closer to my destination, but I was already due there and there was nothing I could do to get there quicker. I ran out of the airport terminal, and hailed a cab.
Now was not the time to mess around with rental car weenies.
"Where to, pal?" the cabbie asked. Which sounded really funny because he was of East Indian origins and had one of those voices where it sounds like a proper English gentlemen, politely speaking while a whistle
is stuck in his throat.
I tried to explain where I was going, but I didn't have the right names for all the local landmarks. My hands flew wildly, as if I were an Italian or some insane homeless person, gesturing about the enormity of the corporate campus of my large company. And figuring that a cabbie from Silicon Valley should by no means be mystified by what I was saying, I thought that would be enough. I always just assumed that'd be enough when I formulated the whole "I'll just take a cab" plan on the airplane. Apparently it wasn't. He just had a blank look on his face, as if I was speaking a foreign language. I
didn't know the exact address where I was supposed to go. Damn, I hadn't thought I'd need it. I mean, to me this was as profound as being unable to get a cab to some place large and well known like an airport or football stadium simply because I didn't know the exact street address of the place. Who ever does know such things? In this town, I thought my destination would be almost that well known; at least to a cabbie. But still, he didn't know.
"Just drive, man. Drive!" I demanded. I'd figure out my destination later. I only knew vaguely from memory that it was to the West on the freeway, and that was the only information I could convey to this guy.
Frantically my mind ran through all of my options. How the hell was I going to figure out the address of my company's local office? I'm a very resourceful and creative fellow, I figure. With a cell phone, my Palm Pilot, and a backpack full of documents and books there had to be a way. Just then we turned onto the freeway and a blast of cold air came in through the window, striking my face and sending my hair into a whirlwind. The freezing gust of wind didn't sit well with the cold sweats I was experiencing. But nonetheless, I had no time for mundane tasks like rolling up windows. Or even buckling myself into my seat. Consequently, I slid across the naughahyde bench seat away from my stuff: all those precious tools I knew I'd need to
rectify this fucked up situation.
"So do you know where I'm taking you yet, guy?" said the cabbie.
"No. Just drive, man. Drive!" I responded. I wasn't irritated yet, but he wouldn't have to ask me many more times to change that.
I could call the home office or my boss and ask. If I had the number, though. Blasted, I really need to update my business cards. They still have phone numbers and addresses from 2 years ago. And 2 office buildings ago, as a matter of fact. And I really ought to put a main number on them; one that would reach a receptionist or something.
Because, hell, I haven't memorized the main number that would reach one of those sweet, pretty, and helpful receptionists. Why should I have to? For situations like this, I suppose. And all I have is an extension for my manager in my Palm Pilot. Again: blasted! Not very useful.
Quick...what to do, what to do. Palm Pilot won't save me. Business cards won't save me. We're starting to get further and further along on this freeway, and I know the office isn't really that far from the airport. If I don't figure this out soon, next thing I know I'll be stuck in San Francisco dealing once again with homeless people trying to mug me as I wander about in tourist-like attire. No, I won't go through that again!
"You know, the meter's just gonna keep running. No idea yet where we're going?"
"No! Just drive, man. Drive!" Doesn't he know impatience will only make things worse? I can't afford any of his piddly distractions!
Hmmm...one of the engineers I'm meeting with tried to get fancy and use extra special, super formal templates for one of the design documents I brought along with me. Yay for tech writers and their templates: the full number of our
corporate headquarters is written on the front page! My fingers were numb from stress and that damn cold air coming in through the window, but I persisted. And somehow on my third try, I got them to work well enough to dial the corporate headquarters on my cell phone. The kind woman who answered was very professional, and she directed my absurd request for directions to my meeting to a highly trained directions and maps specialist, as if this happens
all the time for them. I relayed the street name I needed to the cabbie, and thanked the kind people at corporate headquarters before hanging up.
"Oh, you're going to Network Circle. Why didn't you just say that?"
I thought I pretty much did when I first got into the cab. Stupid cabbie, no tip for you!