December 16, 1999



Austin City Limits


Greetings from Austin, the town that Stevie Ray built. I'm out here on business. Finally, at age 37, after hearing about this sort of thing all my life, at long last I am on a Business Trip. It almost makes me feel grown up.

So far it's not all it's cracked up to be. No hookers, no boozy nights at the hotel bar, no scantily clad blondes draped across the ice machine down the hall, no nubile nymphs in French maid costumes sallying in without knocking just as I'm getting out of the shower. None of those wonderful things, no, just me and the TV and the laptop and a complimentary filter pack of 100% Arabica gourmet coffee to brew in the wall-mounted coffee-maker in the bathroom.

On the other hand, there's been the hassle of flying Southwest and changing planes in Phoenix, logging on via a modem that only connects at 21,600, getting up at 5:00 am California time, a youth choir practicing hymns in the hallway this morning, and microwaved bacon at the buffet table for breakfast. So it's not like it's been all bad.

The business in question is the website, where I work as Community Manager of the Addiction & Recovery community. They're based here in Austin, I've worked for them for about a year now, and I'm here to meet my bosses and coworkers for the very first time, attend a few meetings, and go to the Christmas -- uh, "holiday" party. How cool is that? That I can work for them for a year without ever laying eyes on anyone from the company, then get flown out to meet them and party on the same trip? The Internet is a wonderful thing.

We were up at the crack of too damned early this morning so we Community people could have breakfast together, then we trekked over to the brand spanking new and still under construction offices for a day of meetings. We met with people from Employee Relations (nee Human Resources) and our bosses and the CEO and I'm not sure who else. A lot of talking was done, a lot of information was transferred, free polo shirts and baseball caps were handed out, and along the way something very strange happened.

Loathe as I am to admit something so feel-good, I actually came away feeling inspired. Everyone I talked to today had a story about how they came to join, and every one of these stories was about someone who wanted to help people and make the world a better place. I'm not used to that.

Tonight, we all went out to dinner together and talked and laughed and ate Mexican food and got to know each other better. I'm not used to that, either. I'm used to 9-5, getting paid, getting through 'til Saturday. This is the first time -- ever -- I've found myself in a job where I suddenly realize that I, too, can make a difference. I'm really not used to that.

Tomorrow holds another meeting -- on sexual harassment, a topic neither I nor my newly-met boss think I need to study for -- then an afternoon of hanging out with fellow Koopsters, then the company Christmas -- uh, "holiday" party tomorrow night. Another day of potential bonding and inclement inspiration.

Check back tomorrow to see if I'm proclaiming my love for my fellow man. Hey, at this rate it might just happen.


No wish list, no weblogs, no forums. Nothing but a good old-fashioned web journal.

You know, the way it used to be.