My friend Farbe
commented on my last post: 'PY: You are travelling again - why am I sitting with my ears perked up and in anticipation of your next blog?'
Given my tendency to make my travels, let's say, interesting I was looking forward to my next post too. But, I decided to do the good-boy routine this time. Normal is Boring, said an Ad for 7-Up a long time ago, but I guess it does get you to where you have to go when you have to. I had to get into London wednesday morning for a presentation at Google's offices. 'Please make sure you are here between 4:30 and 4:50 so that we can start on time at 5 pm', the invite said. I wasn't going to risk doing anything stupid and miss this one.
Leave school at 2:30 PM tuesday to catch the 3:50 train to O'Hare - Check.
Arrive at station 10 minutes late - Check.
Next train not for 40 more - Check.
Arrive at O'hare 25 minutes before Departure - Check.
Barbarian at the gate: 'don't tell me it was the traffic. you were supposed to be here 2 hours before takeoff' - Check.
Settling in to get some sleep on the flight - Check.
Staying up to watch Mr. and Mrs. Smith - Check.
Arrive in London - Check.
Handle on my baggage broken in transit - Check.
Meet up with friend for breakfast - Check.
Get offered to ditch Hostel and stay at his place - Check.
Head to LBS - Check.
Make Suzy wait for a half hour - Check.
Meet up with Suzy and KV - Check.
Tell Admissions at LBS about why I want to do an exchange program - Check.
Get told by Admissions at LBS they don't make the decisions on those - Check.
Go shopping on Oxford Street for clothes for evening presentation - Check.
Leave back for home and get off train at 4 - Check.
I had just enough time to get back home, change and head towards Victoria. Walking out of the station, I was making a mental checklist of things I needed - business cards, directions, wallet, socks. Socks. Damn. Socks.
I just remembered that I had forgotten to pack any socks !! See, in my hurry to pack, I found like 4 pairs but with only one sock of each, so I figured I'd go buy some in London before heading to google. The socks I had on were these colorful knit peruvian wool ones that were a gift from a friend. Let's just say them and wingtips aren't exactly buddies.
Luckily, there was a mall in the train station. But, as is usually the case, there were no stores selling socks. I did manage to buy a sandwich though. Walk outside, and considered heading home and bumming a fresh pair from my friend. But, what if he didn't have any? I decided to leave that for the last-case scenario and see if I could find something along the way. Nada. Then, I see a shoe repair store. Walk in, and he has no socks. But, he directed me to another place that was back where I came from. As if to reiterate the point that I need to take Managerial Decision Making, I headed back. And didn't find the store. Turned around again and headed home this time.
This thing was going downhill in a hurry.
Then, I saw this woman's store thing. Walk in, see a few men's shoes, ask the lady if she had socks. She then shouted for her husband to come out. Said it would be a minute. He was on the phone. Out walks this jovial chap of around 60. Of course, we have socks. Black or Blue? Blue. Wait, maybe black. Can I see both? Sure thing. Except it took like a couple of minutes to fiddle around with the boxes. Black. 1 pound 50. Thanks much Sir, I couldn't have gone to my presentation without these. No worries mate, what presentation?
Note to readers: Never, Ever, get me started on a conversation. 15 minutes later, I stepped out of the store having talked about the river behind his store, the museums of DC, driving into Boston, London's architecture, significant pauses trying to figure out that city with a tennis stadium ... Newport, yes !, the Patriots' stadium, similarity between London and Boston, and trying to answer his question: why do you want to move to London?
Ran home, changed, didn't have time to eat my sandwich, ran out again to the train station. 4:55.
This wasn't good. But, the train arrived prompty. And it left on time, albeit a tad slow for my liking. At least, there were none of those abrupt stoppages in between stations that seem to happen with regularity on the Tube. This guy stopped at a station.
The doors opened. closed. Then, they opened again. Stayed open for a while. Closed. Opened again.
Damn it. why now? Finally, they closed and the train moved on. Got off the Tube at like 5:20. Ran down the street, through the tallest revolving doors in the world, and up an elevator. Entered the office, hung up my coat, took a seat. 5:30-ish. The presentation was well on, but I was looking quite dapper. At least that's what I think those looks, especially from the Stanford women, meant. So I look around, and there are people with their hands raised. I tap the guy in front of me. What's the question? What is Google's Strategy. Thanks.
My hand goes up. Yes?
And, just like that, the road turned and it was all uphill from there.