I’m changing the channel for a while. I hope you don’t nind. I promise it won’t be dull, but it won’t be overly technical either. In fact, I’m strongly considering a shift away from technology with regards to future blog posts. 

Why? Because I really don’t feel that I have anything compelling to offer compared with the current front runners of social media tech.  I’ll get to that some other time. For now, please read at least the next paragraph before you decide to stick around or bail on me?

Prolog

In the years since I began working in a “profession”, as it were, I’ve accumulated quite a few stories of odd events and interesting situations. Many colleagues I’ve known used to say I was a “magnet for strange events”.  I prefer to see it as I just happened to work with people who also attracted weirdness. In any case, I’m going to share some events over the course of the next few blog posts.  These events are 100% true and factual. I will use the actual first names of others involved, but not their last names.

The Setting

In 1989, the engineering firm I was working for had three offices working on a large contract. The San Francisco office, the New York office, and the bread and butter Newport News office (in Newport News, Virginia). While two of the offices were ahead on their tasking and deliverables, the New York office had begun falling behind. To shore things up, the president asked for volunteers in the Newport News office to travel to New York and help out until things were in better shape.

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The four who volunteered (okay, I’ll be honest: begged) were myself, Kevin, Mark and Frank. Frank was in his early 50’s, while the rest of us were in our early-mid twenties. I had visited the city before, to stay with my oldest btother. Kevin and Mark had never been. Frank was a native of Long Island. Kevin, Mark and I stayed in a hotel near midtown, while Frank stayed with his inlaws in the Hamptons (I’m not kidding)

We landed at La Guardia airport in early January 1990 and stayed until late March of that year. Three months in all. We slept at the Southgate Hotel, near 7th and 31st, and rode the subway to the office down in China town seven days a week at first. We didnt see much of the hotel actually. Since overtime pay was generous then, we each burned 12 hours a day until they either made us leave, or we literally fell over. The money was really good, and the experience was mind-blowing, to say the least.

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We didn’t bring cameras. Cell phones were science fiction at the time, so this might as well have been the 1970’s.

Got Milk?

On the first day we settled in, and then decided to go for a walk to get some groceries. We walked about three blocks north and two blocks east when I realized that my directions were backwards. We turned back and found a small grocer and grabbed a few things. Each of us targeted specific items. My list included milk, cereal, bread, Peanut butter and jelly.

We left and headed back towards the hotel when we came to 3rd Avenue near 32nd street, I think. It was a sunny and cold day. Traffic was the usual busy mess. The nearest lane had an idling stopped bus. We looked up and saw the crossing light indicating it was safe to cross. Heh heh.

We stepped off the curb and someone behind us yelled to “get back!”. The crossing light started blinking while we were really taking our time. One of the guys said “eh. Go for it. We can make it.” I was wearing slick-soled dress shoes and pleated dress pants. I had a plastic bag with a gallon of cold milk in my right hand and two bags in my left containing the other gallon of milk and the rest. I tried to hurry up, but trying to hurry with all that stuff was awkward as hell.

As soon as I could see around the opposite side of the bus, I saw a black limousine speeding towards me in the next lane. I tried to stop, but my shoes kept sliding forward. Both arms were outstretched as if I was trying to fly, but as soon as the driver saw me he hit the brakes and skidded. His right front wheel grabbed the toe of my right shoe and dragged me to the right (in the direction he was heading).

When it all stopped, I had been dragged about ten feet to my right, in a James Brown half-split position. One grocery bag went airborne and landed on his trunk, and exploded on impact. A woman on the opposite corner screamed like I was mangled or something horrible. A cop on the other corner yelled something as well (I still can’t recall what he yelled though). My left knee was bleeding as it was ground through my pants into the asphalt. I was also covered from head to toe in cold milk. Hair. Glasses. Jacket. Pants. Even my socks were squishy. In all, I was okay. The bleeding wasn’t terribly heavy and I was able to walk.

The limo driver was ticketed for 60 mph and failing to stop. But because I refused to go to the hospital or file a report, that was it. I walked another three blocks through busy pedestrian traffic dripping with milk and getting some pretty odd looks.

We got back to our room, cleaned up, ate some dinner and crashed. Worked started at 6:30 am the next day. End of day one.

More to come…

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One thought on “The New York Chronicles (Part 1)

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