walking home from Venice
Sunday, December 17 2000
I spent most of my day at work trying to unravel a troublesome data integrity problem that had resulted from a developer's having failed to define a primary key on an important table. Everything boiled down to differences in interpretation of the "true meaning" of certain fields, and once I figured out what this developer's intent was and could square it with my vision, everything started falling into place. But it took about four hours of examining code, experimentation, and data cleansing. The mess needed to be fixed in time for the start of the Monday business day in the UK, and that's why I was in again on a Sunday. It's not something that makes me proud, mind you, but sometimes I'm the only one with what it takes to make things happen. I've noticed this happening more and more as people look to me as an increasingly senior developer. In the UK team, if I can't figure something out, then it cannot be done.
The CTO wanted to go out for drinks to celebrate a job well done, but I had a frantic Bathtubgirl spamming me with tearful emails and her placation was more important. Her webcast software was acting up, and since I'm her only tech person, I was the only one who could fix it. So I had the CTO drop me off at Bathtubgirl Central in Venice on her way to go drinking with Frank the producer. She left me her UK cellphone number so I could reach her, but I had no desire to run up international calls on Bathtubgirl's long distance service just to find out where the drinking was happening across town.
Bathtubgirl's webcasting problems were easily fixed within the space of a few minutes. Then it was time to evacuate. Unfortunately, though, Robert (her driver) was nowhere to be found and neither was the Volvo. I couldn't simply hang out at BTG Productions because Bathtubgirl had arranged to do some sort of lucrative four hour tantric massage with a client and those tantra sessions are not the sorts of things one can hang out through. So I had to set out on foot, without really knowing how I'd be getting home. Just as I was leaving Bathtubgirl sprung a question on me: when was I going to be making another one of those ever-so-helpful $300 payments? Remember, folks, I just put $4000 on my credit card so she could buy bath products and tidy up some loose ends. Suddenly she's planning on paying other people to do web development for her and I notice she's not smoking schwag anymore either. Has that money gone already? While I struggle to make ends meet living the cheap life even as her expensive habits in an expensive Venice Beach apartment continue, she seems to think I'm some sort of inexhaustible fountain of cashola. I told her in all honesty that I really didn't think I owed her any more money. At this point she freaked out on me, having somehow calculated a persistent figure of $5000 that I still owed her (as if all the work I'd done for her had added up to a negative value). I just shrugged my shoulders and made motions for the door, first stripping off the jacket she'd loaned me as protection from the evening chill.
But there wasn't much of a chill to the evening air and I was comfortable in a tee shirt (one of the tee shirts commemorating the infamous Viking Party). I ended up walking all the way back to my workplace, which Mapquest claims is 4.2 miles away, but I went the long way, taking Abbott Kinney to Main, then Main to Pico, then Pico eastward to Stewart and from there north to my workplace, where I retrieved my bike and rode home to West LA. I suppose I could have caught a taxicab or even a bus, but sometimes fate deals you an opportunity to walk, and why turn it down? It's a great opportunity to mull over thoughts and get the blood pumping in isolation from normal distractions. Unfortunately, my Mexican sandal-boots were ill-suited to walking such distances and during the walk I developed large blisters on the soles of my feet.
Along the way I stopped at the Wild Flour pizza place on Main Street for a slice of what the LA Times has praised as the "best pizza on the westside." Back in the early days of our Los Angeles move, the Wild Flour was Bathtubgirl's one concession to my frugal dining impulses. Happily, I was thinking, "I never really have to sacrifice another Saturday to that bitch Bathtubgirl ever again."
During the course of my long walk home, I passed three different places where Christmas trees were being sold. I loved the smell of the Christmas evergreens; that fragrance almost made the overweight people shopping for trees look attractive.
I emerged on the north side of the 10 Freeway (where it crosses Stewart on an overpass) and I found myself in a noticeably cooler airmass. This airmass must have been constrained in its southward advance by the raised causeway of the 10 Freeway. The air north of the 10 remained consistently cool all the way to Broadway, where it suddenly warmed noticeably. It warmed even more dramatically less than a block further on, a few dozen feet before I reached Santa Monica Blvd. Each of these streets is slightly higher in elevation than the one before, so it seemed that cold air had flowed downhill (having perhaps started in the Santa Monica Mountains) and settled in low-lying pockets wherever it could. Since the landform of the 10 Freeway is the most dramatic east-west surface feature in the area, it actually serves to define a cool microclimate stretching four or five blocks northward.
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