Lots of good things happening at 10gen... :)
July 2008 Archives
Every now and then I'm reminded how cyclical life is. The carbon cycle, the Krebs cycle, the Carnot cycle, the business cycle, technology cycles ("Cloud computing! It's the new SOA!")...
Every morning, I take the subway from GCT to 23rd St in Manhattan, which is near the NY Police Academy. Over the last year and a half that I've been working again in NYC, I've noticed the young men and women police cadets as they too ride the same subway, exiting at 23rd St. If you pay attention, you can see gentle change. First, the are just in their uniforms, maybe with their "New York Police Academy" duffel bags. Over time they eventually get a nightstick (or whatever they call them these days.. maybe a RMASIRCD ? "Rigid Mass for Alleged Suspect Influence via Rapid Contact Deceleration") which is neatly attached to the side of their NYPDA duffel with velcro straps clearly designed for such purpose. Very unthreatening. Then come the patrol pads, large, leather covered pads that they are required to carry in their right back pocket, which seems specifically tailored for this purpose.
After the pads come "the book", this *massive* binder which I can only assume is the penal code applicable to street policing. It's huge. Dragging these around, you'd think they were Marine recruits undergoing some sadistic boot-camp routine at Parris Island. Obvious jokes about "throwing the book at 'em" come to mind... Then comes the "utility belt" - gunless of course - that gets attached to the duffel bag strap. And so forth.
A few weeks ago, the cadets disappeared. Budget cuts? Shipped off to Iraq under some "It's not a draft.. really... they willingly sign their stop-loss orders..."-type Pentagon program? Some silly DHS drill harassing the aged and infirm at airport security checkpoints? Graduation? :)
This morning, coming down the stairs to the downtown subway platform, I noticed suits. Now, at 6:30am, there aren't a lot of suits riding the 6 downtown from GCT, just a lot of construction workers, software engineers, and other blue-collar types, so the density of suits were noticeable. And as I looked I noticed that they were somewhat I'll fitting and wrinkled - like that suit you had in high school that fit for the wedding you had to go to in your Junior year, but didn't work so well in your Senior year. And everyone had a duffel bag, but all different. And I caught them eyeing each other, but without real recognition. Well dressed terrorists, pretending to not know each other?
I stood next to one on the subway, and asked him :
"Sir?"? This is NYC. Who responds with "Sir?" in a NYC subway other than tourists? Did I run into a missionary group? Maybe the terrorist theory has some merit...
"Well, I couldn't help noticing the suits..."
"And it can't be a coincidence that a multi-cultural group of young people in somewhat ill-fitting and uncomfortable looking suits, each with a random duffel bag of similar size and contents - judging from the shape - happen to converge on the downtown 6 platform at 6:30 in the morning by sheer coincidence."
This was the new academy class. They hadn't been issued their uniforms, and clearly they hadn't been instructed to dress to blend in. I spent a few more minutes talking to the young man - what his hopes are (working with the Transit Authority), if he's afraid ("Well, NYC is better than it used to be...") and how to cope with the danger ("You just have to always be aware"... "Isn't that tiring?" ... "I guess it will be..."). I couldn't imagine doing what he's doing.
I didn't get his name, and I doubt he'll ever read this. (I mean, even my friends don't read this...) But either way, to that young man and the rest like him on that train and trains to follow - thanks. You're brave and we're glad you're here. I'm sure you'll make a fine officer and I wish you the very best in your new career.
And yes, I'll be watching for the bag, the pad, the stick the belt and the book. And once again, I'll make the "throw the book at 'em" joke. And I suspect I'll hear a very polite "Yes sir."
I'm on the way back from FOO. Other than the 3.5 hour delay for my redeye, it was as always a perfect weekend. Perfect weather and a perfect event. It was great to see old friends and make new ones and get a glimpse of what truly interesting and talented people are doing. I always go away humbled from these.
(We managed to tie the standing FOO Werewolf record. End of sat was 6:15am. Never trust Jane after 5am.... Imagine you find yourself in a world separated by time and space from your own, where you are a humble villager, seer-less, healer-less, werewolf-less... gets confusing awfully fast....)