« The mouth of the gifted horse | Main | Oaktown and Risk Aversion »

September 28, 2017

The last day on the project

The last day on the project

Like, I just can't say what it's like to be fired from a project. It's tough. And, I mean, it's the nature of the beast. It is what it is. If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

After I got over the initial shock of it, in a few days, it gets better. I mean, it still sucks, but you can't deny a leopard his spots. Every consultant has been let go from a project. I was here for 14 months for Christ's sake. It was, by most accounts, a successful project. By that I mean, I made an absurd amount of money in 14 months.

And then one day, they told me not to come back.

But now, I'm getting some emails from headhunters, and there are some projects going on out there. And people forward me some leads. And I apply for them. Not because I want to go back to work. I don't. But I'm not going to be the guy to look a gifted horse in the mouth either.

I spend some time copying all of my files over onto my home network. Send everyone an email saying "I'm out of here. GOing on an extended motorcycle journey through south america."

Like, I'm doubling down on my motorcycle trip to South America. Part of me thinks I can't afford to do it. Part of me thinks I can't afford NOT to do it. Because, you see, life is short. You only have so many days on this earth.

Maybe I will die on this motorcycle journey. That could happen. There's no denying this. But we all have to die. Everyone dies. Not everyone lives. I need to get on a motorcycle and roll across South America. I've never really done this, you see.

Oh, sure. I rode an XR around Cuzco for a little bit. But that hardly counts. This time, I want to go through Ecuador and Bolivia and Paraguay. Not just Peru.

Now, I'm getting emails back from some of my coworkers..."you need to be sure to catch a plane to the galapagos..."

I'm like...oh hell yeah. that's the kind of advice I need.

Before lunch, I discover that Ben has some grapes that are out of this world. The best I've ever tasted. They taste rough...raw...like the muscadines we ate as kids in Mississippi.

The grapes are to die for. They taste exactly like the muscadines that we ate as kids. We used to stand in the creeks, holding onto bedsheets, and shake the muscadine vines. Bloop. Bloop. Ploop. Ploop. And the grapes would fall into the sheets, where we'd collect them and take them home to eat them privately in the shade of a sweetgum tree.

And now, I've discovered these grapes again.

Ben...where did you find these? We have to go back. We have to buy more. Are these from the famer's market?

"No. Are you kidding me? They have those shitty grapes you find in the grocery store."

At lunch, we go to the Farmer's Market. It's broiling hot in Oakland.

We just rape the place. We buy tons of fruit. And go back and just gorge ourselves. Normally, I really enjoy riding home across the central valley, and stopping along the way to scarf down some fresh fruit. But since I found the Wednesday farmer's market in Oaktown, now I think that maybe I won't really appreciate the fruit stands of the central valley so much. We'll see. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

But, after lunch of Mexican steak pambazo, I buy some grapes from the farmers market. But they're just shit. Just the same crappy grapes you find in the grocery store. Tasteless, seedless grapes. Like eating cardboard.

Now, after lunch, I tell Ben - "dude...you have to show me where you got the grapes...let's go to Koreatown and get some."

"OK. Sure man. Let's go."

SO, with that, he marches me down to Koreatown, at Telegraph and like...22nd?

And we walk into the grocery store...something like K & N?

We each buy a flat of concord grapes. And then I find the jelly candies. 3 bags of jelly candies.

The only problem is that we can't get drinks.

It's impossible for the CVS pharmacy next door to keep diet cokes in stock. They don't even try. And the restaurant downstairs is closed for remodeling. So, I go into the CVS and ask them "Why in the fuck can't you keep diet cokes in stock? Are you retarded? Do you not understand how capitalsim works? Like...fuck this...I'm tired of this shit. Why don't you get more diet cokes?

Sir, they come to us on a truck. We have no control over it.

Like...what the fuck ever. That's a lie and we all know this. This isn't communist Russia. I think I'll call CVS and complain. The bastards.

But, at the farmer's market, they sell canned diet cokes cold for $1.00. I want to go by and buy the whole cooler.

After lunch, we just gorge ourselves on concord grapes. Strawberries. Jelly candies. Just choke ourselves with food until we're sick. The detritus of an agricultural revolution.

Like...we're just disgusting. imagine if nothing mattered in this life. Imagine if you had more money than you knew what to do with. That's about how we've been living for the last 14 months.

I've been worried about my cash flow, but now it dawns on me that I still haven't been paid for last week, and for this week. So, I'll still have a little bit of cash coming in.

And, part of the adventure, is having the balls to reach down, grab your nuts, and saying "fuck it - I'm going". So, I think that that's where I am. I think that I'm going. I tell everyone that asks me that "I'm going". I don't want to back out. I don't want to leave myself any room to back out. I want to paint myself into a corner. I want to tell everyone that "I'm going to South America come hell or high water."

And now, that's the plan.

Keep painting yourself into a corner until you have to go.

But, I want a few more days to shoot in Oakland. I'd like to stay here for a few more days to shoot.

I ask the jackass at the YMCA hotel.

"When do out check out?" I ask him. He's watching some game on the television.

"You want me to look?" he asks.

"Like...why in the fuck do you think that I just asked you the question jackass?"

Slowly, he realize that he'll have to turn off the TV and look up when I'm checking out.

"You're checking out tomorrow he says."

Like...Thursday. Fuck me. "I want to stay longer."

"You can tell the guy that's here in the morning. Ask him," he offers.


The hardest part of being a consultant is knowing when to back off, and when to push on. I've always been certain of this, and nothing confirms my belief in this mantra more than every waking moment of my life.

Should I go home and save money? Or should I swing for the fences?

Right now, the smart money says, "swing for the fences."

Every night, I go to the Jupiter Pizza place, and every night, they've got some fucking disturbance going on...some band, or some idiot turning records. I want some peace and quite. The city is what it does to you. Every waking moment is ruined by screaming ambulances, police cars, firetrucks, mexicans playing that obnoxious shit they listen to. Just ...there is no peace and quiet here.

And, every night, I go by and ask Bo, my buddy at the Jupiter pizza, and he sends me to a different place every time. Tonight, I finally found Crunch, the little Korean place on center street. They play zero music. I can sit outside and drink beer. The beer costs $3.00. That's hard to beat.

So, I stopped by and talked to my buddy Bo at Jupiter. He's now routing me to another place...about a blcok up Shattuck. Tonight, he decides he likes me. This is a good feeling. It's nice to know you can still make friends, even though so much divides us. Respect for each other unites us. The ties that bind.

It's so odd ot be driving my KTM around Berkeley and Oakland. Like, I love being able to go wherever I want, free from BART. It's a totally different perspective. And now, I see murals I've not seen before, or murals I've not seen since last year when I had my bike up here last time.

The people at Poke Zone recognize me. Tonight, he gives me a frequent flyer card. Like...dude...you're in here every night. Start using this card. You'll get free meals.

The city is so loud. You can't get away from it. The homeless people are taking over the city. They never used to be like this. Now, there are tent cities. And countless people sleeping in doorways.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 28, 2017 at 12:22 AM


Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)