19 June 2010

Invitrogen Threw Up in My Kitchen

I'm on a first name basis with my delivery driver.  Every week, Beau shows up and brings me a box full of marketing from the home office in Melbourne.  Two weeks ago, he brought me TWO PALLETS of office supplies, lab demo equipment, and boxes of files packed up by the previous sales rep. Unpacking was like Christmas, except without the good cheer, annoying music, or the smell of ham.

Some of the items were useful, like banners, branded table cloths, utility carts, literature stands, and protein gel boxes...and several shirts covered with animal hair. Others were downright pathological - like reams of expired promotional flyers, a crate of Immunology catalogs from 2006, and two large boxes of squishy toys shaped like water droplets (which are fantastic for throwing at cats). Needless to say, my desk is no longer a tidy surface.

Last night I finally tackled the daunting task of sorting through all the product brochures, attempting to organize them into some useful and accessible system...then promptly returned them to boxes to await further confusion...but mostly to keep Bad Kitty from eating them.

11 June 2010

Cue Ball

I once met a woman and introduced her to another woman, and that simple act set her life onto an unexpected trajectory, altered her destiny. I didn’t know it at the time. We lost touch, just recently reconnected, and she told me of the impact that thoughtless impulse had on her life. It kind of blew my mind…made me feel like a cue ball.

Phwip – clack. Off the rail. Side pocket.
It made me think of other people whose lives I have changed – either by mere circumstance or by coincidental action – and that naturally lead me to ponder the people who similarly impacted my own life. Some people are expected to have a profound effect on the direction of your life. Parents, teachers, mentors, lovers all press against one’s destiny in predictable and unavoidable ways. But sometimes, when you trace back through time along the course you life has taken, you can identify those random interactions, those chance encounters that so clearly mark an intersection of fate that you are forced to wonder – would I be here today if that had never happened?
When I do that, I think of Marc.

Cap’n Marc – teller of tall tales and dreamer of big dreams. If we had been assigned to any other space in the campground on Key West in December 2000, we most likely never would have forged the friendship that changed our life. We spent a wonderful month going to movies, holiday parades, and rode our bicycles all over that island paradise. We had a Christmas day picnic lounging on the beach and ripped up the bars on Duval Steet for New Year’s Eve. Late one stormy night, as we huddled cozy and warm inside his motor home, drinking white Russians, he hypnotized us with stories of pristine palm-fringed beaches, cheap beer, and juicy tacos. The next morning, we pulled up stakes and drove to Cabo San Lucas - from the end of one road, to the end of another.

The drive across the continent was a blur – save for the brief respite in Austin where we stopped to visit Marc’s Mom and Marc’s Sister – but the journey down the Baja Peninsula was filled with adventure. I remember every dip, curve, and roadside muerto as vividly as if I were driving it now, and I can certainly recall the taste of each and every taco (we stopped for tacos at least 5 times a day). Mile by mile, I fell in love with that stark wild landscape, and when at last Marc lead us out a dirt road to San Pedrito, I felt as though my soul had found its rightful place in the universe.
If we hadn’t met Marc, if he hadn’t shepherded us to Baja, would we have ever cashed out of our dull suburban life in Simi Valley, would Kevin not have broken his leg, would we not have bought the house in Shingletown, would we not have moved to Australia, and would we not be currently enjoying the exciting new careers we are currently enjoying?

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t hold Marc responsible for ALL of that, but there is no question that he broke our perfect rack and sent our eight ball careening down the table.