Return to April 12, 2007 (log)

It's way past beddy-bye time but joys shared are doubled, or quadrupled, (and sorrows halved) or something like that.

It's public news now and no longer under-covers; I've landed the account for sushi services and Asian food specialties for Aetna Insurance Company's headquarters in Hartford, Connecticut. All we have to do is sell product, and then I'll be installing another sushi bar at Aetna's enormous claims processing center in Middletown, Connecticut. There'll be a lot of consulting work to do, also, as their foodservice operations are undergoing a multi-million dollar overhaul and I'm certain that at the very least I'll be able to get a bit of work outta that, too.

We started out with a wee bit of a hiccup. Now, Aetna's security policy is legendary. Everyone, I mean everyone, must be vetted (including criminal check etc.) and must carry a magnetic, photo badge at all times when on-premises. So me and Jack, the head sushi-dude, followed my client (Director of Foodservice) into the bowels of the Security office (there must've been 20 people working in that office alone). We had mug-shots taken and badges made and parking permits issued and swore that we'd not divulge any Aetna secrets under penalty of loss of a pound of flesh or our first-born or something like that.

Jack feels the same about his Aetna credentials that he does about his Foxwoods Resort and Casino V.I.P. card. (For me, it's just something else I have to remember or I'll look like an idiot; and I forget things. A lot.) So we do the refrigeration install, and Jack finishes up making the spot for our operation his own, and we bade the folks who remained (it was about 4:00 by now) goodbye, and headed toward the loading dock, where our vehicle was parked.

We made it all the way to a glass sliding door (through which we could see our vehicle). Neither key-card worked the door, as promised. Try as we might, we couldn't get the attention of the security guard about 75 feet away, in his office but with windows and a door open (he looked like he was surfing the 'net). Well, I was about to turn around and Jack misread the sign on the door which said "PUSH IN CASE OF EMERGENCY - ALARM WILL SOUND" for a sign which simply meant that, "if this door doesn't slide, push the darn thing!"

Have any of you pushed on a door that's meant to slide open via a motor (like the ones at the supermarket)? It's a difficult task, and typically renders the door inoperative until reset. Well, that happened to us. As Jack reached for the door with both palms vertical, time seemed to slow down. I could hear myself like a tape-recorder going far too slow: "Nooooooooo! Dooooon't doooo thaaaaat!"

A buzzer buzzed. Loudly. Radio noises sounded from speakers. From some microphone somewhere a lady was asking "do you know there're 2 individuals leaving area (who knows what) without authorization?" The security guy jumped up. All the loading dock doors descended at the same time, red revolving lights flashing. Jack was scared and asked me what to do. I told him not to move. Two guys (with guns) came running around the corner from some other door. They waited for the loading dock security dude.

I was scared that I'd alienated the people I wanted on my side the most, security, 'cause without them I can't get stuff in and out expeditiously. And sushi fish waits for no man if it's a summer day of 90 degrees.

Security dude came running over and told us it was okay. We just had to go back upstairs and fill out a "security violation" form. The guys with the guns accompanied us. Literally a half hour after we'd been in the same office to get our badges in the first place, a morbidly obese woman who seemed in charge of things was interrogating us as if we were Bonnie and Clyde. (I felt like Bonnie.) The woman doing the interrogating was butch.

She looked at Jack: "What possessed you to push an alarmed emergency bar?"

Jack didn't understand. I translated. She said, "Can't he speak English?"

Jack was enraged. He was about to give her some of the poorer examples of English (you know, the ones that cause movies to be rated R) when I calmed him and told her that no, in fact, he could not. "Does he have a Green Card?"

Now Jack was horrified. Culturally, even if one has earned one's green card, the Chinese feel that it can somehow be taken away if asked for by anyone other than a bank they're depositing money in. I convinced him to show her the card. Now he was trembling with fear. I wanted to hug him and tell him everything was okay, but I was, literally, on the verge of tears, awaiting the arrival of my brand-new client, assuming we'd suffer his wrath, as well.

Nobody bothered to tell us that it happens all the time. Until, of course, my client did.

We'll be up at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow; do our duty, and then run the restaurant until 11:00 p.m. Hey, it's a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it.

Existing:


Non-Existing: