Below is an actual email I sent to my Computerworld editor, the incomparable Tommy Peterson.
So anyway, I visited Intersystems today, at the insistance of PR lady Rita Shoor, even though it seemed a phone call would have sufficed. Notwithstanding that this was a relatively longstanding meeting, Linda scheduled a dinner for us in Cambridge with my stepdaughter, which is basically good, because Intersystems is in Cambridge, but forgot about my meeting, and wound up scheduling the dinner for 9:30. Rescheduling ensued, but when I drove to Intersystems for a 2:30 meeting, it was still in flux. I was in an odd state anyway driving to the meeting, because I was already rather tired (my sleep schedule oddities), but psyched from having FINALLY posted the white paper online that represented my biggest writing project in almost a decade (because of the number of sponsors).
Despite several wrong turns at the tricky address of 1 Memorial Drive, I arrived in plenty of time, or even a bit early. I’d worn my hooded leather jacket due to the rain, but since I was in a parking garage, I decided to leave it in the car. “What can possibly go wrong that would make me need this jacket, I thought, except for a fire and building evacuation? And how likely is that??”
So I go upstairs to the meeting (after walking fruitlessly up many flights of stairs and then back down, in an error that seems common among newcomers to the building). But all is good, and there’s a very pleasant start to the meeting (as well there should be, given the GREAT column I wrote about them last year). Before long, however — you guessed it, there’s a fire alarm. After much noise and disruption, it turns out that it’s a REAL fire, and we evacuate, through the smell of smoke, that is stronger on the lower floors.
So I’m outside in a cold drizzle in my shirtsleeves. After a few minutes of stoic schmoozing, I’m reunited with the meeting folks, including Rita Shoor clomping over in 5 inch heels (her estimate) with somebody holding an umbrella over her. At my urgent suggestion, we decamp to continue the meeting in a restaurant, and they select the nearest one (with Rita commenting along the way about said heels). We’re evidently the first people to have this brilliant idea, and continue the meeting in quiet. But soon a flood of people has the same idea, and the place has techies hanging from the rafters, noisily. We continue the meeting over the din, but with some interruptions. We learn there had been a notice of substantial time before the fire department would let people back in (hence the exodus across the street). We further learn that the apparent cause of the evacuation is a fire in a red Toyota parked in the garage underneath the building, which concerns me, because I indeed arrived in a red Toyota. However, it is clarified that this car was on a different level of the garage than mine, and I relax, and we continue to discuss the glories of Ensemble.
A little while later a young man dashes in, wet from the rain, and inquires whether Curt Monash is present. I learn that one part of the prior information had been wrong; the fire had NOT been on a different level of the garage than the one I’d been parked on. In fact, it is my car that had burned up. More precisely, the engine compartment was burned, the sprinklers had suppressed it, the fire department had staved in the windows, everything was soaked, and the car was almost certainly totalled.
And that, Tommy, is why although you will get a column before I leave on my flight Monday, it may not be as long BEFORE Monday as you had requested, and as I had originally intended.