� Jobless Recovery Explained | Main | Fall Season �

September 25, 2003

He Looked Just Like You

Today has been one of those weird days of harmonic convergence. Every once in a while I have those days, and sometimes it goes on for a few days, in which I am the center of a lot of attention.

Last night, when I finally checked the mailbox, I found an unexpected gift. In fact, since I have humbled myself totally to a select group of folks, appropos my pathetic economic situation, I have been very very fortunate to have found people who have helped. It may not sound like much, but the fact that I can pay my October rent now has been the answer to the prayers of my family. I will be crafting thank you letters (as well as shareholder notices) this weekend. At any rate, I now have enough money to afford a $2 luxury and I tell you in all seriousness that I am taking my wife to McDonald's today. It will be a real celebration.

So I clean up and head over to deposit this check in the bank. As I am driving I get a phone call from my wife. One of my headhunters called. She's trying to get me a gig in Bethesda, MD. Well, that's good news. I spoke to her yesterday and she's already back with more information. Five minutes later I get another call. Sarah from the consulting firm I'm applying to called back, hopefully with news about my last interview. That's wild. Two calls in 10 minutes. So I make my deposit and am on my way from the teller window and the phone rings yet again. I answer my wife's special ringtone with 'You're kidding me.' A third guy is getting back to me about a resume I posted yesterday.

So I drive away with a little cash in my pocket and try to navigate my way back through the maze of parking structures that are Del Amo, formerly known as the world's largest shopping mall. There's a cop behind me. I make a left. There's a cop behind me. I turn into the parking structure. There's a cop behind me with lights on. I make a right turn down an aisle; the cop is out of the door before I can stop.

Hey what's going on? I say. He needs me to turn off the motor and step out of the car. Did I turn incorrectly? No, there is no traffic violation here, he says. It turns out that there is a bank robber in the vicinity who looks just like me. Let me guess, black male five foot eleven, 199 pounds (yess!), bald head, cool goatee. Yeah everybody looks like me, but I make it work. Nevertheless, I am calm and relieved. I sure as hell didn't rob a bank, although the thought had literally crossed my mind last week.

After he finishes patting me down and I unlock my fingers from behind my head, I am able to survey the area. An older black man 15 feet away has got my back. He is looking intently at the scene and probably sweating bullets on my behalf. The thought calms me further. No shit is going down here. Nevertheless, by the time the cop tells his partner that I am clean, there are four squad cars in the immediate area. The officer is about my height, pale blue eyes, short cropped blondish hair. Easy smile, stout but fit. He's with the Torrance PD. I'd say he's about 32 years old. He's calm and persistent with the questions. His partner is about 6 foot 3 dark longer hair, slim face rather resembling the Daily Show's Jon Stewart. Also young. I think I can take him, but not both of them, certainly not all of them.

The guy looks exactly like me, he says again except no glasses. And since I'm driving a car with out of state plates, he decided to pull me over, he says. I tell him that the car is new, I really don't know where the registration is because my wife drives it. When I opened the glove box, in the gloom of the parking structure, all I could see was a blue package of baby wipes. That's strange because we don't have a baby. We got a deal and bought it from Detroit and drove it here. It's smogged for 50 states, but I don't know where the registration is. Is there a gun in the car? No there's no gun in the car. He asks that about 3 more times.

The call comes in that the suspect is wearing a black blazer and a cowboy hat. He weaves that into the conversation. I let him look in the trunk. He asks if I have any paperwork that can connect me to the car. I don't know I don't drive it. He asks where I'm coming from (BofA), where I'm going (Barnes&Noble - to price Quicksilver, in hopes that the copy I pre-ordered weeks ago wasn't a waste of money). I told him that I'm in the parking structure because it's the first left turn I could make. He sees the beach chairs and animal blanket in the trunk. Yes three kids. When am I going to get my California plate? As soon as I get a job, the software industry stinks.

Poor sap. They lost the real perp. I don't know if they redispatched the other cars, but I was out of there in ten minutes. I called out to my man "Thanks citizen. Thanks for keeping your eyes on things." As I looked towards him, but before I spoke, he scowled and raised his arms in questioning frustration. I know exactly what he meant and I know exactly how he feels. I hope he's not too worried for me.

It turns out that the news from my headhunters was mixed. One of the gigs of two from one agent is far too junior for me to consider hauling the nuke out of California and relocating. The other gig still doesn't have budget approval, and somehow people don't understand that I know everything about this technology. I don't understand the dichotomy between DBA and development work because I do both all the time... Anyway. All in all it has been an eventful day.

Oh, and I'd say that makes it about the 35th time I've been detained by law enforcement without a citation. I'd say it would rank in the top 5 for civility in Southern California.

Posted by mbowen at September 25, 2003 12:12 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Mr. Bowen,

Been reading your blog for a little while now-- super job.

Your day, with the phone calls, the police, the emotional ups and downs, reminds me of a Taoist story about a farmer.

The guy is dirt poor, and the only horse he owns runs off. Now, he and his son have nothing. The villagers sigh, "Oh, isn't that terrible." The farmer shrugs.

But the horse comes back a few days later, bringing with it a bunch of other horses. "Oh, isn't that wonderful!" the villagers cry. The farmer shrugs.

The son has to train the new horses; in the process, he gets thrown by a particularly wild horse and breaks his leg. "Oh, isn't that terrible!" the villagers moan. The farmer shrugs.

The king is drafting people to fight a major war with the neighboring kingdom; he sends his messengers out to recruit able fighters, but because the son is injured, he's passed over. "Isn't that wonderful!" the villagers beam.

And the farmer shrugs.

Like the farmer, you seem to meet (mis)fortune with a very level head. I wish you only the best with the offers that come your way.

My family lives in Northern Virginia-- the Alexandria/Mount Vernon area (I'm in Seoul, studying Korean and Chinese and Korean Zen). Not far from Alexandria, there's Vienna, which has been called "Silicon Valley East." Traffic's a nightmare around the Beltway, as you probably know, but maybe the job market there is worth looking into...?

I'm a religion student, so to be honest, I have no real clue what the market's like there, but I thought I'd throw out a possible option.



PS: Interesting remarks about krav maga, aikido, and Edward Said. I have my reservations about Said as a scholar, but agree completely with your martial observations.

Posted by: Kevin Kim at September 26, 2003 07:24 AM