Thursday, January 06, 2005

Hard day's night

Thursday in Seattle was a hard day. I hadn’t had a blog in 24 hours. I didn’t know just how addicted I was to the Internet – you never do – until I was alone in a foreign land, with no access to blogger. I shouldn’t be surprised, though, because I have a highly addictive personality. It’s not my fault; it’s my mother’s. She gave birth to me in March, which made me a Pisces, which made me devoid of any willpower.

Elizabeth Taylor and I almost share the same birthday, and my life mirrors hers in a way that makes me fear for my future. She fell off a horse as a teen while filming National Velvet, sparking a destructive addiction to painkillers. I fell onto the couch as a teen while watching the film Blue Velvet, sparking a destructive addiction to David Lynch movies.

She has a desperate need for love and acceptance, which she unsuccessfully tries to fulfill by bouncing from one unhealthy marriage to the next. I have a desperate need for love and acceptance, which I unsuccessfully try to fulfill by bouncing from one unhealthy imaginary marriage to the next.

She played Maggie “The Cat” in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. I sometimes play with my cats on a hot tin roof. You should see them jump!

She has Michael Jackson, I have Seamus. It’s eerie.

Crippled by my Piscean weakness, I spent much of Thursday with the shakes, nervously drumming my fingers on the dashboard, and scanning the streets for signs of an Internet café. Fortunately in Seattle, local law mandates one Internet café per six Starbucks, so that meant that there was an Internet café on every block.

My co-worker, however, was not in favor of bailing on our client meetings so that I could read the latest hijinks of my favorite bloggers. I tried to explain that it wouldn’t take me long, that I just needed a few hours to make sure I hadn’t missed anything important, but the rental car was in her name, so I had to sit back and take it. She doesn’t get you. She doesn’t get you at all. I hate her.

While we were meeting with the client, I could feel beads of sweat collecting on my upper lip, and started to feel queasy. I excused myself to use the restroom, and immediately splashed some cold water on my face. I looked up from the sink and saw myself in the mirror – the pale and clammy skin, my dry tongue, the dark circles under my eyes – and thought, “My god, what have I become?”

Just then, some women came in to fix their hair. I saw my opportunity and grabbed it. As they walked out of the bathroom, I followed them past the front desk and into the office area. No one gave me a second glance as I snuck in behind them. I knew I probably only had ten minutes at best before my absence would become concerning, so I walked with purpose around the maze of cubes until I found an empty desk. The name plate said: Susan O’Connor.

After checking to make sure no one saw me, I sat down and started to log onto her Internet.

“Well, Susan, whoever you are. I hope you don’t mind me borrowing your pc for a few minutes.”

Come on. Come on. Doesn’t this company have DSL?

Damn! Password protected.

I rifled around Susan’s desk to see if I could figure out her password:

Soccermom04? Denied.
Irisheyes? Denied.
Puglover? Denied.

Please Contact System Administrator To Unlock Password.


Just as I got up from Susan’s desk, she arrived with coffee in hand.

“Uhh… can I help you with something?”

I had to think quickly.

“Yeah, hi. I’m looking for accounting, can you tell me if I’m on the right floor?”

“This is accounting. Who are you looking for?”

Crap. What are the odds?

“Uhh, actually it’s finance that I’m looking for. I need to talk to Dave in finance, but I’m running late for a meeting, so you know what? I’ll just leave him a quick voice mail instead. Thanks!”

I quickly made my exit and slipped back into the client meeting. My co-worker shot me a dirty look, but I don’t think the client paid much attention. Thanks to a series of deep breathing exercises and the remainder of my venti skim latté, I miraculously made it through the meeting. When I got back to the hotel, I realized that I really should have paid better attention to the inordinately chipper woman at the front desk when I first checked in, because I looked at the information sheet she handed me with my key on Wednesday, and saw the sweetest four words I had ever read: Free High Speed Internet.

So why? Why hadn’t I read this earlier? I think that maybe the gods were trying to teach me something. It’s really true – you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. I think that perhaps 2005 will be focused on appreciating what I have, so I’ll start here and now: I love you, Internet. And I’ll never take you for granted again.