Content-type: text/html Ray Manning

Monday, January 17, 2000 6:55 AM

An Accident Prone Weekend

It is Friday afternoon. It has been a relatively slow week in TRW-land.

But it is about to get more exciting (in a not good manner).

The accidents start with a minor one. As I'm removing clothes from the truck, I drop them - sending them onto the pavement and sending a coat hanger careening off the side of the truck. I'm glad that it is sorta dark out so that 1) I cannot see the scratch that I have put in the truck, and 2) the neighbors cannot see how clumsy I was.

Later in the evening, I help my neighbor - the older german lady who plays the neighborhood lottery and has a house watch exchange with me - navigate the Internet to look for cheap airfares between LAX and Oakland. When I point her to and tell her to type in her address and her friend's address in Oakland, she is surprised and hooked when mapquest gives her great driving instructions and maps to make the 380 mile trip.

On my way out the front door, I catch my short sleeve on the door handle and hear "riiiip". One sleeve is now much larger in circumference than the other. Seeing that it is just the Frat House that I am heading to, I ignore it and proceed.

The Frat House, much to the loss of fellow TRW employees who have decided to bypass attendance tonight, is in rare form. ChiChi is there and runs up to me before I enter the club. (ChiChi was outside gathering up some fresh air.) We go in, get 7-Ups, and find a seat. A weird guy stands 8 feet away and keeps staring at us. We get up and go outside and he follows us. We go back inside the club and he follows us again - staring at us with piercing eyes. "Well, ChiChi", I say, "We tried ignoring him and it didn't work. So now we should follow him and constantly stare at him". But ChiChi chickens out of this plan and the weird guy eventually leaves us alone (for a while) when we start talking with some of ChiChi's friends. Sabrina, the HVAC, is there and also in rare form - wearing heels as tall as the Washington Monument, a skimpy silver-sequined dress, and a silver see- through wrap. And silver sparkles mixed in with the makeup on her face! ChiChi introduces me to a friend of a friend and now I am in love! How do I get rid of ChiChi? By 12:30 the club is packed with people of various genders - some indeterminant - and, seeing that we have parked ourselves near the club entrance, we get to make idle chitchat with everyone who enters the club. The Starer again stands near us and watches and we finally decide to leave. But only after I have decided against asking the friend of a friend to join us. (But after I tell the friend of a friend to meet me here next week.)

In the middle of the night, after an accident that I cannot really describe here, I get up to go to the bathroom. As I slowly and quietly close the bathroom door, I close it on my finger and let out a loud yell!

At 8 am on Saturday morning, I call TRW to find out when I need to be there. I'm told 10 am, and seeing that I can do a few things before the actual test, I bid ChiChi farewell for the day and get ready to come to work. As I open the backyard gate, I catch my finger on the top of the gate and the finger starts bleeding.

I review recent events. I have had five minor accidents with varying degrees of consequences in the last 10 hours. I make my plan and stick with it - it is the right time to ride the motorcycle to work.

I arrive at work on the motorcycle with not even a single close call. We are told that there is a delay and the test will not happen until 2:30pm. At 2:00 we are told the test will not happen until 4 pm. I find a computer and play on the Internet with an unnamed colleague. We type in random words in the middle of www. and .com and see if the domain name is taken. We start with squirrel, bike, globalthermonuclear war, wet, fuzzydice, and proceed all the way to killtheboss. Most of these exist!

We finally start the tap test at 4:15 pm. By 6:15 pm we are wrapping up the test. I deflect the nice, but inquiring, Mitsubishi Electronics Corporation visitors from the dynamic test tech/test engineer with a combination of slow english and hand gestures. (And I may have tried some spanish in there as well.) And with the drum roll and the crowd anxiously starting to get nervous (and feeling just a bit like the results may push them into a wild, chaotic frenzy) it appears that the frequency is higher than expected and there will not be a loads issue with the reflector. (Subject to some post-test analysis.) The crowd would normally break out into a street-running riot at this point (just like what happened in Seattle last month when people heard about the successfuly X-band testing on EOS), but we are so tired from waiting/standing around and we are so hot from being in the bunny suits (with unmatched rubber gloves and booties I might add) that we casually put the equipment away and go home.

On the way home a car tries to change lanes into the side of me, but I see it coming and take evasive action. I consider stopping at the liquor store to purchase supplies to relieve stress, but I do not. Instead playing on the computer and taking Nopester for a walk around the neighborhood.

Sunday is a slow recovery day except for an ice hockey game which we lose. But no accidents or broken bones.

Monday morning I wake up and look in the mirror - which is an accident just waiting to happen as it is. And I see a bruise near my eye between the actual eye and the bridge of my nose. I do not know where it came from, but it was probably another...uh...incident. It is raining and I consider the proper mode of transportation to get to work. I consider "the utilization of an environmentally-friendly transportation source", but decide to skip riding the motorcycle in favor of the truck.