Decades of my life
In August of 2019 our neighbors Vic and Sandy invited several couples over to share pizza on their newly-completed front patio. Daunna and I joined Marc & Mimi, and Swapnil & Gagan in celebrating. The last slide shows Gagan offering his approval!
California boy guiding tour bus of Germans through Berlin
In the 1990s I worked for an outfit that had developed a reasonably inexpensive way to to transmit voice and data over fiber optic cables. One of the investors was Deutsche Telekom and we had an office in Bonn.1996Part of my job was to help verify that installation and programming techniques were as simple as possible, so I spent a lot of time in Bonn, and later on projects near Berlin.
Then Ericsson bought our firm and at one point a group of Swedes that was visiting Bonn wanted to check out the Berlin project. We all flew into Berlin and somehow I was the designated driver. As part of the visit the Swedes wanted to take a tour of Berlin, so I drove our minibus around and pointed out all the sights. There were several guys from Bonn in our group but they had never been to Berlin. At one point the Swedish leader just burst out laughing, saying that this is a story for the ages: An American from San Francisco guiding a bus of Germans and Swedes through the capitol of Germany, without a map.
Sometimes simply relocating elsewhere has amusing consequences
Shortly after moving from the San Francisco Peninsula to Bloomington, Indiana, I needed to set up refills for some prescriptions.
I made an appointment with a local doctor’s office and was checking in with his assistant.August 2008She was facing down, looking over my forms, asking me questions and filling in my info. It was difficult to understand her because of other noises in the area.
At one point it sounded like this:
“And your (mumble) dressed?”
To which I plucked at my shirt and exclaimed, “I sure hope so!”
The other clerk, who understood my distress, said in a slow clear voice, “She was asking you for your address.”
Clearly the mistake was mine – out West we say ADD-ress but here the accent is on the second syllable – uh-DRESS, which sounded to me as if she were asking, “And you are dressed?”
Never follow a set routine
Our neighborhood is served by a community mailbox – all of our mailboxes contained in one large box on a pedestal where the mail carrier delivers our mail
Since most snail mail is junk mail, I normally walk up there twice a week: Wednesdays and Saturdays. Most of our neighbors know my routine.Wednesday of Labor Day week, 2018
Neighbor George F. likes to kid me about my peculiar habit, and today was no exception as he pulled his car over when he saw me walking our dog.
“Today’s Wednesday so I s’pose you’ve picked up your mail, huh?”
“No actually, this week it’s Thursday because there was no delivery on Monday .”39.1534253-86.467236
You can never pull a fast one on a 1st Sergeant – they will eventually catch on
I was in the Army in the mid-60s, stationed in Berlin as a telephone repairman / switchboard operator. Our outfit was a Signal company, which included any job pertaining to communications – telephone, radio, microwave, crypto, whatever. Our sergeants and officers were not the the strict gung-ho types you see in war movies or accounts of life in the Infantry. We bunked three to a room. Each of us had a tall closet and a footlocker, where all our worldly possessions were kept.1967
Every Saturday morning we peons headed to a movie theater for a couple of hours of training in some obscure military course. During that time the outfit’s sergeants would go room to room and inspect our gear and the general cleanliness of our quarters. The basic idea was that nobody’s perfect, so each room would get a demerit for one very minor infraction or another (such as one sock was gray from too many washings). You get the idea.
At one point I found a fake dog poop in a store downtown and I placed it in a corner behind a couple of footlockers. There it remained for months – so long that I’d forgotten about it…until one day the list of infractions that was posted named our room with the following: “Dust on fake dog poop in corner.” The captain knew he’d been had as the layer of dust on it must have been there for a long time and none of the previous inspectors had noticed it. His note of infraction was priceless. And he knew exactly who to discipline over it!
Verse by FionaFiona created an amusing verse after an afternoon of play ended by a drizzle
One afternoon in 1993 or 94, I took our daughter Fiona to Foothills Park above Palo Alto. It’s great for enjoying a picnic, hiking the trails, or playing catch.1990s
On this occasion, we were wrapping up our visit just as a light rain began to fall. A car pulled up next to us with several youngsters, who looked ready for fun. At that point, Fifi came up with this short verse to describe what would probably happen after we left.
When they get out
They’ll jump back in
And ZOOM they’ll be off!
Take the road less traveled but choose your route wisely
One afternoon as I varied my route from work at IBM, taking a different road to my motel, I came upon a T intersection, with my road ending at the cross street. On approach, one lane became two: One for turning left, the other, right.
In front of me was a car straddling both lanes, making it impossible for me or several other cars behind me to make a free left turn on the red light. The driver behind me began to honk his horn (or “hoot his hooter” in local vernacular).July 1986This upset the driver in front of me and he and his passenger got out of their car and headed right for me, thinking I was the one responsible for honking. I quickly rolled up my window and locked the door, but I needn’t have worried as four boys in the car behind me piled out shouting some rather colorful language and were ready to fight.
The lads from the lane-straddling car quickly revised their plans and strategically withdrew to their own car and burned rubber getting out of there.
After the excitement, I made my left turn and drove to my motel, noting to myself to avoid this route in the future.