Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Life: Memphis

I am now gainfully employed.

This means I can stop dumpster diving, cadging drinks off the irregulars when I'm down at the bar and sponging off my relatives.  Truly a happy day for us all!

Some months ago my brother told me his company was looking for a few good men and since they hadn't found any, he thought I should throw my hat into the ring. I did so, and promptly forgot all about it. Three weeks ago the company called and wanted an updated copy of my resume along with a telephone interview. The resume was easy - I just changed the date. The interview was easy as well - I just neglected to mention a few of my... ah, habits features, such as my morning snort, my August years and my somewhat odd sense of humor.

The thing about this job is that the company, The Big Corporation, just bought out their largest competitor and so needs to expand their IT staff, but since The Big Corporation uses a fairly arcane database engine and language employees are in short supply. Add to this the size of the data tables, some of which are over one petabyte, and they don't dare hire anyone right out of college. Hence The Big Corporation snatched me up with the understanding I'd learn the language as I go along. Truly an unusual opportunity.

For the uninitiated, 1024 Kilobytes = 1 Megabyte; 1024 Megabytes = 1 Gigabyte; 1024 Gigabytes = 1 Terabyte; 1024 Terabytes = 1 Petabyte; 1024 Petabytes = 1 Exabyte.  Really, really huge. See? The first mainframe I ever worked on had 3 to 4 Gigabytes of storage - it was an IBM 3090 connected to an entire building of burnt out dumb terminals. End of digression.

The Big Corporation is in Memphis, Tennessee. On Wednesday I packed up my gear and headed South, stopping in Columbus Ohio to see my brother Big Mike. This may have been a mistake in some ways. While Mike offers excellent hospitality, I don't think he's entirely human - he can't be and drink the way he does. I showed up at Big Mike's around 6:00 PM, threw my gear in his spare bedroom and accepted his offer of a drink. One large Manhattan later Mike took me out to dinner at a four and a half star restaurant where we had a fantastic meal and a bottle of red wine. When we got back to Mike's house I was offered a little Scotch as an after dinner drink. I declined, being far too deep in my cups from the wine.

I had intended to get up early the next morning and get a good start. I woke up early, but I was so hung over and tired out that an early start was difficult. I got on the road at 9:30 with a ten hour drive in front of me. Naturally my satellite navigation device went belly up, so I had to rely on a map. This was fine until I hit Kentucky.

The very best thing the State of Kentucky ever contributed to civilization as we know it is Bourbon. I have no doubt that the men who laid out the highway system in Kentucky were sampling the various brands of bourbon every single day they were at work. You see, the highways in Kentucky have no numbers; they have names. Great long names that will not fit easily on highway signage or official maps. Worse, not everyone has accepted Kentucky's system as absolute gospel, so while the sign may read "The Tom Moore Wild Turkey and Kerry Krumplecan Scenic Highway" the map may proclaim 34W. This causes some confusion for the traveler (that would be me), who has no navigator and has to drive the car, read the road signs and look at the map, all at 70 mph in traffic. This causes stress.

I got completely lost once and stopped to ask directions which were provided by another traveler who knew the way to the highway I was looking for. I'm thankful for that, as I'd never have found it otherwise.

Six hours into my arduous trip hunger forced me to stop for some road food. This was yet another opportunity to shoot myself in the foot.  It turns out that any food that is cooked South of the infamous Mason Dixon line requires extra grease be added to it. This fatback additive plays merry hell with the digestive tract of each and every stressed out Yankee who is desperate enough to eat it. I am no exception.

I arrived at Shotgun Bob and The Girl's house in Memphis, Tennessee around 9:00 PM, local time. Shotgun Bob's neighbor Barbecue John and Barbecue John's wife Tammy-Rae were in attendance and we all had a drink together before dinner. I turned in early, being more than a little fatigued from the road. I vaguely remember something Shotgun Bob told me just before I hit the sack. "I get up at 6:00, so be forewarned. I'm building fence tomorrow and I need to get an early start." So naturally I was up at six and hard at work by 7:30.

I lasted until 1:30 in the afternoon. Shotgun Bob is erecting 560 feet of board fence which will contain his dog pack. He's got a great dane, a golden retriever and an American bulldog. All are nice dogs but they need a large space to run around in. There are also three cats, all of whom live indoors. It's something of a zoo.

Shotgun Bob rented a two man post hole auger and recruited some help from work. One guy showed up, which was good. We got all the holes dug and several posts set. The man in question, Little Mike, is a good friend and generally great company but he really is small. So when he partnered up with my mother's favorite son, I had to do most of the work. And let me tell you, that auger is a real gut buster.

Still and all we got all the holes dug and Shotgun Bob got half the fence posts set on Sunday. Good work.

My first day at the new job was Monday, April 04, 2011. I'll write more later on.


flask said...

congratulations on the job!

Stephanie Lorée said...

Congratulations! Toledo will miss you, but given all the issues going on, I doubt you'll miss it. Memphis is lovely. I've often pondered moving to Tennessee if I ever become independently wealthy. I have family throughout the state.

Oh, and I'm pretty sure the only meaningful thing Kentucky has ever contributed to civilization is bourbon.