October 12, 1998
Sometimes it's kinda scary to know, in a physical sense, how many people I've known in my life. How many people whose lives I've at least brushed often enough to recognize their faces and remember their names and have some idea of their personalities. It's odd. It's especially odd to step into a room with about 150 people and realize that I actively *know* nearly 90% of the faces in the room. Now *that* was scary.
Several weeks ago, some email circulated to all the ex-employees of Data I/O that invited them to RSVP for a party of ex-employees and have dinner at some restaurant.
By the RSVP date, there were over 140 people who said that they'd come and not bring a spouse because there wouldn't be room for spouses. Data I/O just laid off about a third of it's work force, so is presently about the same size as the party. That was pretty astonishing.
It turned out to be just that crowded. It was insane, in a tiny psuedo Chinese restaurant that had really terrible food, but no one really cared, what was really amazing, astonishing, was seeing all these people that we once knew, catching up, and talking with them again. That was amazing. All the coolest people. It was pretty keen to just get together with them all and talk about anything but work and shop. Where did *you* go? Where did you end up? How are things going? Restablishing connections and thoughts and memories.
There were many comments that it was a lot like a high school reunion, but, rather than being thrown into a room with people that you were thrown together with, many years ago, by chance here we were thrown into a room with the people that we'd worked with for years and years and years. People that we'd shared problems with, shared working lives with, probably more waking, coherent, and problem solving hours with than we'd even shared with the people we were married to. It was amazing how well everyone still knew everyone and how many still kept in touch and in contact.
Of course, being who I was, I was overloaded in the first hour, and sat for a while by myself on some chairs against the wall and just watched people like an observer.
Mike Baker, who had worked with John and I on Mesa at Data I/O, then worked with me at Applied Microsystems for a while on the Domino project that turned into their mini-emulator line, was there and a bit of a godsend for me. He'd gone all over, and has ended up at Intel, down an hour south of Seattle. It was really cool to just sit out of the way and talk with him for a while. One on one conversations don't seem to drain me the way the constant reintroduction thing does. It was good to catch up with him.
Couldn't quite get over the fact that for a person that was lousey with names, I had the names of most of the people in the room, mostly because I'd contacted them so often during my time there.
The food was so awful I just couldn't eat anything. And, after the restaurant closed at 10 p.m. a couple of us dropped by Lil' John's, which has a normal restaurant along with a lounge in back, where we drank beers, talked and traded stories of the last few years until about midnight and then dragged ourselves home.
I was wearing my J. Peterman's coat and even as the sky just poured down water, I stayed pretty much dry, though still brilliantly green.
John and I managed to get out and walk Fezzik in the cool night air, fresh and free of all the smoke and stuff from the lounge. It was nice to just walk and talk and marvel at all the past that we've gotten through. It was a lot of years. John worked at Data I/O from the week he graduated until they sold Synario to Minc. That's a long time and a lot of memories to dig up all at once. Kinda amazing.