Yesterday I braved the intricate public transit system of Seattle, where you pay when you leave the bus and where some buses only run three times a day. I was aided by a lovely lady driver who noticed that I was clueless and helped me out (even if she did demand cookies for it).
All the people I’ve met so far have been very polite, friendly and eager to help a lost looking Englishman. This is not the impression that I got of Americans from the TV…
So why did I risk life and limb on getting a bus to the outskirts of Seattle? (The picture might give you a clue…)
I was meeting up with fellow blogger, and ex-pat Steve Lacy. He was going to show me the Microsoft campus, and then go for some drinks.
The Microsoft campus was pretty much as I expected it – only much, much larger. Steve shares my love of Microserfs, and it was a real pleasure to see the place where the first part was set. Unfortunately the museum was being used for a private function, so I didn’t get to see it, but just being in that hallowed place was geek heaven for me.
In an alternate reality I would have continued my computer education, got a job programming and ended up prowling the corridors of Microsoft getting paid obscene amounts of money for writing super-efficient code. In this reality my skills at 6502 machine code is the zenith of my computing skills.
Steve then took me to meet his wife, child and father-in-law, and they were all wonderful people. It’s really nice to hear an English accent when you are abroad, and we had some of the largest pizza I’ve ever seen, and we talked about what America is really like. We agreed that it is much nicer than you would think watching the TV.
The next time Steve or his family are in England, they should let me know so I can buy them dinner or something. I’d invite them to my home, but their house is so lovely I’d just be embarrassed.
So Steve, his friend Zman and I then went to a genuine tavern. It was just like the ones you see in the films. Everyone there seemed to know Steve, and so there were plenty of people to talk to. The night went on, with much drinking of pints of Stella, conversation that seemed, for some reason, to revolve around foreign bodies I’ve seen up peoples arses.
I have absolutely no idea how I got back to Jeannie’s place. There was a taxi involved, but because he couldn’t find the address (and didn’t really speak a form of English that I could understand), I told him to just drop me off.
There then followed an indeterminate period of drunkenly wandering around, staring at the picture that I have on my compact digital camera, trying to make sense of the funny way that Americans lay their streets, and how place their street names. However the god of drunken fools was smiling on me (as he often does) and I managed to make my way safely back through a strange city.
The amusing thing, is today I had real trouble finding the house, while sober, in daylight and with a map.
Perhaps I should have popped into a bar for a few drinks…