Thursday, June 08, 2006

Pack Rat Confessions.

My name is Mike and I am a Pack Rat.
(Unethusatically, the crowd says: "Hi Mike")


I come from a long line of pack rats. My grandfather was actually the King of the Packrats from 1972-85. On his way to and from our home in the suburbs he would trash pick and bring it home to his row home in South Philly. At the time of his death in 92 the house had the basement filled with 70 years of junk. It was a solid wall of crap.

The King of the Pack Rats would have been proud of me yesterday.

Last night I took home some scrap material that had been collecting in my office (relax, I had a property pass). I drove into work rather than take the train and parked several blocks away in order to save a few bucks since the parking lot under my building requires that you pay in offspring.

At 5 it was time to take home my treasures.

I walked the 5 blocks to the parking lot in the drizzling rain. This particular parking lot is one where you pay your ticket in the lobby rather than at the exit. So I pay downstairs and head off to the elevator to find my car.

I realize I have no idea where my car is on the 12 floors of parking.

I guess at 5 since a friendly looking man is going there anyway. I figure it’s a sign.

I get off on 5 and realize that it can't be 5 since the parking spots are angled the wrong direction. This level has parking spots angled towards me and floor I parked on had them away.

I walk down to 4 and then I realize that I left keys back at the office.

I walk 15 minutes in the drizzle to my office, not noticing the big sign in the parking lot lobby that says "15 minute grace period: You must exit the parking garage within 15 minutes of paying".

I get my keys and walk 5 blocks/15 minutes in the drizzle back to the parking garage. I realize I still have the problem of finding my car and I quickly develop a new strategy: start high and work your way down.

I start at 9. 9 is angled the wrong way.
Down one flight of steps: no car on 8.
7 is angled the wrong way. I'm dense, but I'm picking up a pattern here. Odd is bad.


Down one flight of steps: no car on 6. Now, you have to realize that I parked, of course, at the far end of the parking garage. So every time I check, I need to walk pretty far to verify "no car".

I skip 5. Whew.
On to 4, where I started a half hour ago and lo and behold, there is the car. Since I haven't seen the inside of a Gym since, oh, 1978, I am now sweating like rancid pork.

I get in the car and drive around and around and around down each level, thanking God I did not park on 12. I arrive at the exit where I proudly put my card in the machine where it lights up:

EXPIRED

And the gate does not open.

Great. Now I have a car behind me, can't get out the front gate and I can't back up and my treasures await back at the office.


The car behind me backs up and exits through the other gate. I thank God for redundant gates and recall that I AM AN IDIOT. I back up and park out of the way.

I go back in the lobby and explain my sad-sad-story and since I am sweating, the parking attendant has mercy on me and doesn't charge me the $5 for using the garage for an additional 1/2 hour. I sign a log that they keep of all the IDIOTS that day and she updates my ticket. I notice that I am the fifth idiot that day. Hmm.

I drive the 5 blocks back to my building and park along the loading docks. I enter the building through the loading docks thinking "shouldn't someone check my badge?"

I call for the freight elevator and wait. It is now 6 PM and I am thinking that elevator more than likely doesn't run 24hrs.


I wait. And wait.

The freight elevator has an elevator operator (great job by the way: 17 please! press 17, it lights up!) who speaks some sort of eastern European gibberish and only understands numbers in english.

Finally, elevator does come and I ride to my floor, get off and get my new possessions that are ready and waiting on a cart. I push the down button and wait. And wait. And wait. Is the elevator still running?


ding! Mr. Bulgaria is back and I get on the elevator and ride back down to the loading dock. Mr. Bulgaria takes my property pass mumbling something that I can not make out. I am pretty sure he said nzzerglif.

I am now on the loading dock and need to get this stuff to my car and this will take three trips. Three trips down a small flight of stairs across the super slippery metal decking and across the street to the car.

Three trips later, without slipping I might add, everything is in the car.

I am sweating like a coke bottle in Juuuu-ly.

I get back in my car and a tractor trailer is now trying to navigate the tiny back street that the loading dock is on. It blocks the street. I still need to get the cart back to my floor though.

I press the up arrow on the freight elevator. Mr. Bulgaria arrives and I ask him to take the cart to my floor, please. He responds with “shhholg”. I am hoping that this means “sure buddy” and leave the cart with him.

I get back to the car and now am waiting for the tractor trailer to clear.

At 6:30 I am finally ready to get home and unload my goodies.

Unbelievable. All for a 48 port patch panel, a 700 MHz PC, a 1 GHz server that boots off Compact Flash of all things, an 8 port KVM, an 8 mm tape drive and a 30 G DLT tape.

I should have just spent an hour on ebay and bought all this for like $50.

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