The world has become boring for this retro girl because our culture is so in love with many things I was exposed to decades ago! Of course, I love many things retro and I’m here to remind us of those things – but it isn’t retro when it’s treated as if it’s new. But I guess that’s what happens when you get older – especially when you grew up in California.
The Bay Area is especially progressive – and then it moves across the country. I’ve really had enough of these being in the spotlight – can we just get on with the next new thing?
- Revolving door of redux – the list is ever-changing – from Atkins to the HCG injection (pregnant woman’s uterus shot) – too numerous to mention each one.
- The Gay community (see San Francisco Dive Bars) – my boss and his partner considered themselves married – this had nothing to do with how I lived my life (don’t assume you know where I stand on this issue – it’s too complex to go into here).
- Tattoos (yep, worked with a guy in the 80s who had full body tattoos).
- The “F” word – the surprise factor has long faded and now you just sound like a moron (watched Romancing the Stone again the other night and it was so refreshing to hear the phrase “screw it” instead).
It totally seems appropriate, then, to repost the following blog post about the Silicon Valley Programmer Biker Girl who tried so hard to get me to say the “F” word publicly. Now everybody says it – how boring! (It’s become so common, I see nice Christian girls on FB posting stuff from “I f***ing love science.”
Silicon Valley Programmer with a Biker Girl Attitude
(First posted last year when we were catching up with the Bay Area living in Hotel California.)
This weekend, we drove down Memory Lane on El Camino and couldn’t help but notice how much things had changed. It bore little resemblance to the El Camino we once knew. Gone were the eclectic shops, restaurants, and book stores. Printer’s Ink in Palo Alto, the first book store that we had ever seen with a coffee bar, was still there but it was simply Printer’s Cafe, their web site giving no hint it had ever been anything else.
So when we saw Beltramo’s Wine Shop, well, we had to stop and see what it was like now – what it would be like to be inside that store again.
We walked into Beltramo’s and we were transported back to 1996. As soon as we opened the door, we were whisked back in time. We were seventeen years younger, excitedly preparing for our wedding, purchasing the champagne for our reception. I don’t remember what we chose but I do remember it was on the recommendation of a co-worker named Barbara.
Barbara was tall, long-legged, and slender with long, wild, wiry grey hair, and a smoker who welcomed you into her outdoor patio smoking circle if you had any wit about you at all. A typical Silicon Valley programmer with a biker girl attitude (think Emmy Lou Harris/Outlaw country), she gave you the impression that if you were in her company, you were cooler than most. Like so many smart women in Silicon Valley at that time, she had a biker boyfriend. No suffering fools gladly with little patience for those she deemed too stupid to live, she could surprise you with the compliment of her presence.
Holding her cigarette to her lips, inhaling deeply, and then exhaling into the air, she instructed, “Just say it, Kathy, say the “F” word.”
“Come on, repeat after me. F***.”
“You can do it – come on, F***.”
“Ha, ha, ha, Barbara.”
“Park those morals at the door, girl! Repeat after me – F---*. Come on, Kathy, you can do it!”
“Yes, Barbara, I can – but I choose not to.” :)
There are 3 kinds of SMEs (subject matter experts) I’ve known during my technical writing career:
- Those who are arrogant because they’re bright and think they’re brilliant (they may be but the arrogance is such a turn-off – that’s not so brilliant)
- Those who are bright but respect you if you show any intelligence at all or willingness to ask smart questions
- Those who are smart and good at their job but you don’t even think about that because they’re just all-around nice, down-to-earth people
Barbara was #2. She kept you on your toes and if you were prepared and showed any sign of intelligence, she was in your corner. Believe me, that was a good thing. It made your job so much better. And it provided an experience and memories you will never forget.
When I told Barbara that Rich and I were engaged, what did she do? She took a puff, exhaled, and said, “He’s a nice guy without being boring.”
Ah, high praise, yes, high praise, indeed, coming from Barbara.