With all my travels this month, I have added location information to my October date-stamps for those penned outside New York City.
October 31, 2000 (Paris) +
It's 10:18 a.m. and I'm on the 10:19 (which is definitely not leaving at 10:19) Eurostar train to Waterloo. I would have been on the 9:10 yesterday were it not for the winds and rain that decimated western Europe.
If the train leaves at 11, I will get into London around 1 local time; then I have to shoot over to my office to pick up my things, get to an express train to take me to the airport, and board a plane to fly me back to the States tonight.
If I experience no delays getting into and out of Newark International Airport, I will arrive in my apartment 16 hours after I left my Paris accommodations, having ridden in three taxicabs, two trains, one airplane, one hired car and countless escalators and people-movers.
On your mark, get set....
October 30, 2000 (Paris) +
There are far worse things, really, than being stuck in Paris in the presence of gracious and wonderful friends.
The tough thing about Paris is that the stereotypes are true: No matter how well a Parisian knows English, it's only used as a last resort. And I don't know a lick of French. Lots of one-word sentences, bad accents, and pointing have gotten me through my solo excursions this weekend.
I have had a great time, yet, fascinatingly, I am even more of an outsider here than I was in Hong Kong. In the Orient, I was a curiosity and a nuisance but a consumer and part of the expected routine. In Paris, when not in the company of my hostess-translator, I am basically a stupid American who can't say "merci" as well as a six-year-old.
But man, the bread is good.
October 25, 2000 (London after Hong Kong) +
In Cantonese, the main language of Hong Kong, a quick "hai" means "yes" and "thank you" is spoken with an upward-lilting "mgoi." They're pretty much the only two words I learned.
Dumb American that I am, I said "hi" all the time when greeting people, which in my vernacular is staccato and upbeat, and gave a good-natured "thanks, man!" when thanking was in order.
So in the locals' eyes, instead of saying "hello" and "thank you," I spent most of my trip saying "yes" and "something unintelligible in English."
The biggest effect of my trip is that my body no longer has any clue what time of day it's supposed to be.
I hope to exploit this and watch some of the baseball game (starting at 1:18 a.m. local time) tonight.
Over the weekend Jeff and I hung out with a Hong Kong woman named Yummy.
She emailed us Monday and signed the message, "Thousand kisses, Yum Yum."
Ain't Hong Kong grand?
October 23, 2000 (Hong Kong) +
SportsCenter International just showed the Paralympics highlights from Sydney. The 100-meter dash was won in an amazing 11.10 seconds (the regular world record is 9.79).
The man who won the race has one leg.
October 19, 2000 (Hong Kong) +
Hong Kong is New York on steroids.
October 17, 2000 (London) +
Sometimes, when I'm in London on business, and I go out to a nice meal and the service is good, I leave an extra tip for my server above the included-on-the-check amount, and I don't report it back on my expense summary, because the tip was just something I wanted to do, not an expense, and because generosity does not require reimbursement.
Right now, it's 6:37 p.m. Tuesday where I sit.
For my parents, it's 11:37 in the morning. In my hometown, it's 1:37 in the afternoon. And to my brother, it's 1:37 a.m. tomorrow morning.
I'm thinking about dinner, my coworkers are eating lunch, my folks just finished breakfast, and Jeff thinks it's Wednesday.
Call me shallow, but I think that's neat.
October 16, 2000 (London) +
I have lots to share -- there's an essay about my alumni weekend brewing in me -- but it's not happening today. Stay tuned.
My mom will appreciate this.
I spent 22 days in the U.K. in August and September and got rained on twice. Really. Two times in three weeks.
Today I arrived in London to a typical nasty London day, dark and dank and wet and drizzly. This being a business excursion, and this being London, I shrugged it off.
It's 5:15, and the sun is now peeking through the clouds.
Not-so-confidential to Newlywed in the Midwest: Congratulations and all the best!
October 14, 2000 (Lancaster, Pa.) +
"Pennsylvania is still part of Verizon. ... Can you go to the Verizon web site? There's a lookup to determine the local numbers. Thanks. ... Yeah, with the DSL service the dialup is part of the account."
Was the above statement spoken by
a) a Verizon customer service representative or
b) a customer who knew more than the Verizon employee?
Yep, you're smarter than the Verizon rep, too.
October 12, 2000 +
My computer monitor is none of your business.
Obviously, when I'm at work, I'm doing largely business-y stuff, so what's on my screen is fairly public, and not something I worry much about displaying.
But when you come by to ask me a question, your first instinct should not be to walk past the start of my desk, stand next to me, and turn your eyes to gaze upon my workspace. I'm composing emails, I'm instant messaging coworkers, I'm looking at web pages and resumes and outlines that may not concern you or be something I want to share. Frankly, that's not why you stopped by, and you should butt out.
So when I pull up that blank, white, full-screen Internet Explorer window, it's not to show you something. It's to get you to stop looking at what's not yours.
Thank you and have a good day.
Yesterday at lunch my meal came to $9.11. (Welcome to midtown north.)
The woman behind the counter cheerfully said, "Nine ten," making my life a little easier. I handed her a $20 bill and fetched a dime out of my pocket.
She handed me back a ten and two ones.
I glanced at my change, then handed her back a dollar, saying something about the change being too much. She thanked me and I left the store.
Even steven, and a clear conscience for someone else's buck.
October 10, 2000 +
My attention span is so short that I am hard pressed to believe I even have one.
I have reached the point where, as I think meaningful thoughts, I think about how I'd write them for inclusion on this page, and whether or not I want to post them.
I am debating whether this is a good or bad development.
October 5, 2000 +
Confidence is everything.
October 4, 2000 +
I actually forgot to put on my watch today. I never do that. I feel vaguely naked, like I'm exposing forbidden skin to the world. At least I don't have a leftover watch tan from the summer.
The balls-out confessionals are so much more fun to read, I know, I know.
October 2, 2000 +
Oh, my achin' back!