Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday Attitude Adjustment Story

The beginnings of the MAAS
Maybe I should pick on myself for a while. I hurt too much from all the abuse I had to take from relatives just because I made them immortal in print…there is no gratitude in the world, ouch, anymore. Damn, I have to be careful typing with my two broken arms. You know, I would never have believed that I could scratch the inside of my left ear with my right hand being leveraged up my back, but I did, once. Anyway, I have to share a story about some of my time in California…why? Well, the certain event I am about o relate to you is considered the official beginning of the Friday Attitude Adjustment Story [FAAS] at Signetics which, as some of you are well aware, lead directly to the current format, the MAAS (which makes more sense to me since more people need their attitudes adjust on Mondays than Fridays). Anyway the incident started with The Director of MIS at Signetics in California, Dan Cone, going to Hawaii with his girlfriend and leaving my family to babysit his house [there is another story there but I won’t go into that part until maybe later in this narration]. Anyway, the plan was for me to meet them at the company parking lot; park my car and then accompany those two lovebirds to San Francisco airport and then drive his car [truck actually] back to work where I would leave it until their return.  I would then be able to use my car to drive home.

We thought this was a good plan and only had to agree upon the time to meet. This was long before the current Terrorist procedures, so getting to the airport one hour before the flight was way more than required. Since their flight was set for 7:20 AM and it took about an hour to drive from Sunnyvale to the San Francisco airport, we decided to meet at 5:00 AM to make sure that the traffic heading north on a workday would hopefully ensure our on-time arrival. The flight was set for Friday morning so all day Thursday, co-workers who had been in California longer than I had kept stopping by to give me (and then Dan) their suggestions about our planned agenda. Since I do not know where most of the Signetics’ employees that comprise this story are these days, I will not name them (other than their first name). I do know that one of my friends from that time, in fact the guy who named the FAAS, Al “Boris” Morris, is now deceased and those of you who knew him realize what a comedic talent the world is missing now due to his passing. Al became known as “Boris” while long before the FAAS was established, but that particular dubbing is a story into itself and I will not divulge those details in this MAAS.

Anyway, the first to put the fear of traffic into both Dan and I was Frank "Wrong Way" [last name omitted]. I must pause for a second here to explain that due this particular, convoluted route of his, Frank was dubbed, by yours truly, with the moniker “Wrong Way”. Frank told us that our plan was so full of holes we would probably arrive at least an hour after the plane’s departure. He professed to be a maven of the US-101 Expressway North route we planned to take [mainly because the airport was right on 101 about 10 miles south of the city of San Francisco] and his unique knowledge told him we could not travel by car via that route and make it on time. First he said we needed to meet an hour earlier and then we should travel only as far north as Fremont using US-880 Expressway North where I should then drop Dan and his honey [name withheld due to personal reasons] at the Amtrak station where they could take the train right into the airport. “Only the train will get you there on time”. Dan and I dismissed this idea as adding too much mileage to the trip since US-880 took us on the wrong side of the bay and Amtrak itself did not offer the most reliable mode of transportation since the Government, thanks to “Tricky” Dick Nixon and Congress, established it in 1971.

The next person who offered us travel advice was Todd “The Hunk” [last name omitted]. He was given the nickname “The Hunk” because he was a dead ringer for Christopher Reeve’s “Clark Kent” persona in the move “Superman”. Now Todd agreed with Frank that we could never reach the San Francisco airport on a Friday morning, but he also agreed that taking Amtrak was a bad idea. His suggestion was to take US-880 North but his idea was to go as far north as CA-92 west and there cross the San Francisco Bay to US-101 North. “The Hunk” said he always avoided traveling on the “101 Parking Lot” as much as possible. Dan and I considered his suggestion but again felt that the added mileage would only extend the length of the trip and we also dismissed this suggestion because of that and the fact that we had heard that sometimes US-880 could also be dubbed the “Parking Lot”

The last suggestion was donated by good old Al “Boris” Morris. He also denounced the ability of US-101 as well as US-880 “♪To get us to the Church on time♫” and promised us our only alternative was to take I-280 North to San Carlos and then CA-92 East to US-101 North and then up to the airport. He told us he had often taken this route and had never been late to the airport. Of course, when pressed, he admitted he had only taken that trip once, but insisted it was our only viable choice. Again, Dan and I discussed this seemingly ridiculous path and decided that it too added needless, extra mileage and Dan stated the CA-92 east and west were many times shut down for hours as a time due to various reasons.

That day after work, Sylvia, Dan and I met at the Moria Inn, the local, nearby watering hole, to discuss the next morning’s trek. After a pitcher of beer, we decided that out original plan was the bet. It was a straight shot and the shortest route. Besides, I had traveled it many times and had fewer problems with the way than traveling on 880 or 280. The only alteration we made to our plans was to set our departure time an hour earlier, so we decided to meet in the Signetics’ parking lot at the ridiculously early time of 4:00 AM. This was the same time we had met to travel to the Oakland train station (via I-880) when we had taken the fun train to Reno and at that time we had two hours to kill in the train station before the 6:00 AM departure time; and another hour and a half it took the wonderful scheduling Amtrak organization to get the outbound trains ready to roll out to by 7:30 AM. This was one reason why we did not trust Amtrak. More on this Fun Train trip in another MAAS and the conclusion of this story next week.

Next week's 10-18-2010 (#163) title: The trip and the story itself

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