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How Berkeley Can You Be? Parade

May 3rd, 2003

All day today I've had this flash it must be Sunday (since I took Friday off) and in that brief instant before I realize I'm wrong, I freak. That brief thought "god, I've got to psych myself for tomorrow" is a downer. A down, down, downer.

What does that say about my job? The good news, my man, is you're able to pay the rent and may one day be able to retire, and the bad news, my man, is the work is killing you. Well, OK, killing is a little dramatic. Making you as crazy as a drum, drum, drum! One day I'm going to sit down and stare at the wall, count the cracks and examine the texture of the paint and not get up. Which is, I guess, what most people do when they retire. I guess. On a Saturday. Here in Oakland.

Get off it. You're employed. Try unemployed for a while.

Well, yes. In my thirties, in the seventies, I had whole years when I was unemployed, whole long "what in the hell am I going to do" years, and those were tough, except, of course, I wouldn't trade them for the world.


I took the bus downtown this afternoon and had lunch at a table on the sidewalk at the overpriced Italian delicatessen in Old Town. I took a walk through Pro Arts. I wandered back to the City Center on the other side of the Marriott and ran into MRM, who was wandering through the deserted square on his way to see if Walden Books was open. No, I could have told him. Quizno's, Radio Shack and Top Dog on Saturdays, but not Walden's. MRM was laid off at the beginning of last month, one of the two really serious desktop guru's in the company. I was the guy who hired him. Desktop integration, it seems, will now be done in India. Long way to India.

He had the same reaction, not happy to be cut loose and out looking for a job, but oh god what a relief to leave the company. That's not good. I am not the sole complainer in the company, although I am the sole proprietor. Some people are wasted. Some are angry, the only positive in anger being it's a sign they're still alive.

I'm thinking "what the hell". The fact we are making money means we have the resources to underwrite another round of ill conceived projects. Ill conceived can at times be interesting. Maybe something good can come of it. Maybe, in the interim, the market will improve. Maybe this dizziness will go away. Maybe writing this lament day after day after day will drive me to the looney bin (to stare at the walls) and I won't care. Maybe.

The photograph was taken at the How Berkeley Can You Be? parade.