The last couple of days have been very busy. I’m set up in an office building in San Mateo where the workmen are still installing network cable, painting drywall and cleaning up dust. The desk I’m at only came out of the IKEA boxes a week or two ago. In a lot of ways I feel like it’s 1999 again, except for the fact that I’m not an employee, and that I have to leave for home in a couple of days.

It’s been a good week so far, though. I hit the ground running Monday morning, and put in an eleven-hour day before Eastern Standard Time caught up with me. The people working here are wickedly smart—smart enough that I feel like I’m too dumb to belong in a conference room with them—but they’ve been friendly and welcoming to the country mouse who blew in from Maryland and suddenly told them their cobbled-together business cards looked like shit and that there’s been a design approved and ready since last December, had they seen it?

Today is my final day on site, and then I become virtual again, a voice on a phone and a blinking 6AM email message. I’m going to miss the excitement of feeling like a hired gun on a mission, but I won’t miss the lousy hotel bed. I really shouldn’t complain, though, because it’s an exceptionally cheap room with a kitchenette, which came in handy for reheating my Thai leftover dinner last night, and it’s less than a mile from the office. This part of California is strange, because in order to get from my hotel to the office, I cross two highway overpasses, one canal, and under two more overpasses. The grid structure here is very mixed as well, which means there’s no empty space—malls adjoin suburbs, which are overshadowed by high-rise offices, which butt up to freeways, which dump out into feeder roads everywhere. I now understand why some of the first and most successful internet ventures incubated from the Bay Area were mapping applications, because I wouldn’t be able to find my own ass with a flashlight out here without Mapquest.

Happily, my lovely wife is on a plane headed West to join me this afternoon, and we’re going to spend the next three days enjoying the warm, sunny California air. My old friends from college have invited us out for cocktails this evening, and we’re heading to Napa tomorrow to get shitfaced, and from there, the weekend is an open book. Which, I’ve recently learned, is the way I like it.

Date posted: September 8, 2006 | Filed under art/design, humor, travel | Comments Off on Offsite.

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