Joe's Oasis and Grille

Have a seat at the bar, enjoy a tall cool one and listen to Joe the Bartender kibitz with our cast of regulars. Joe discusses everything from behind the bar, from favorite drink recipes, new gadgets, raising rugrats (or is that rugrat raising?), home-improvement, sports, and, of course, politics. So, welcome! The bar's open!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Miller Time -- Technology Time Warp Means Any Time!

I set a frosty draft of Dos XX in front of one of my regulars, Harv O'Connor, and noticed he was dialing a number on his cell phone, retrieving the number from an old, tattered American Express Travelers Cheques envelope. I noticed that the number was written in crayon.

When he finished his call, I had to ask, "Harv, what's going on? You need a loan for some new stationary and decent writing instruments?"

Harv looked up quizzically from the paperwork he had scattered across the bar. He works from a home office and pretty much daily brings a load of work with him into the bar. He calls Joe's Oasis and Grille his North Office. Strange, because Harv lives east of here. He's kinda directionally-challenged.

"Huh? Oh, you mean the American Express envelope."

"No, I'm actually more concerned about the crayon."

"The crayon was the only thing I could find to write with at forty-five miles per hour."

"I see." The dude needed another drink. Or a straight jacket.

He said, "I was driving my daughter to school this morning and I got a call I'd been waiting for. Had to take it, and the guy wanted me to call him back this afternoon."

"From the bar?"

"Oh, gosh no. He didn't know I was calling him from the bar. I got it set up so anybody calling my business line finds me on my cell phone. They think I'm sitting in my office, no matter where they catch me."

"Except when Boonie Davis shouts 'look at the jugs on that babe!' after his fourth shot of Hurradura."

"That's why I've got a noise canceling mic on my cell. Anyway, I left the house without a pen and paper, and the only thing handy was a purple crayon sitting in the console and an old Cheques envelope from our trip to DisneyLand. Wow, looks like I used this envelope before. See the notes on this side? From the conference call I had while we were driving across ... somewhere outside of Indio, California. West bound I-10."

"You took a conference call while driving your family across California to DisneyLand? On your vacation?"

Harv shrugged. "Kids were content in the back watching the DVD; wife had her headset on, listening to her MP3s. Afterward, we stopped at the Dinosaur restaurant and had a blast."

"MP-what? Sounds like a new rap group."

"MP3. You never heard of it?"

"I'm still trying to figure out how your phone calls to your office know how to go to your cell."

"Uh, call forwarding? Anyway, MP3 is a file format ... so you can download music, video, all kinds of stuff onto your Ipod or portable player."

"Your wife must be a pretty big woman to carry around a complete Hi-fi system."

"Hi-fi! What era do you live in? Don't tell me you've got shag carpet and still listen to 8 tracts!" He said. "No. The Ipod is about as big as a credit card, and they're getting nearly as thin."

"Hey, I'm up with the times. I got Tivo for Christmas last year. Got rid of my portable 8 tract player when I sold my Pinto last month. I wanted to keep it, but it was lodged pretty good under the driver's seat, so I left it. Besides, that Led Zeppelin tape is pretty much stuck permanent. I hope the new owner likes 'Stairway to Heaven', cuz that's pretty much the only song you can play in that car." I drew Harv another beer and saw he was clicking away at some tiny keyboard on his phone. He was pushing way too many numbers to be dialing another phone number. So I had to ask. "What, you calling Mars?"

"Huh? Oh, I'm responding to e-mail. Got a client in Korea. It's nine in the morning tomorrow there."

"E-mail! Here, in the bar?"

"This is a Treo. I get e-mails, Internet access ..."

"That's enough, Harv. Enough already. Let me just ask you this. When is it Miller Time? Remember the old commercial? 'When it's time to relax, we've got the beer'.

"Miller Time? Anytime I want. I'm on no schedule."

I left Harv there to his gadgetry, thinking about that last statement. The dude's in a time warp of some sort it seems. His office is portable ... so he's not tied to a desk 9 to 5. Call forwarding takes care of calls he may miss in the office. E-mails are answered anywhere. With customers calling him from tomorrow, the client thing is a 24 hour thing. That's gotta have something to do with some phenomenon I heard about called the 'Global economy". Even his entertainment. Wait for your favorite song to come the radio? Nope. Just download a song list from the Internet, control what you listen to when you want it. DVDs are a take-along thing, play them in the back of the SUV while you take the kids to soccer practice.

Time warp. No more 9 to 5.

I wondered if it was such a bad thing, though. I mean, Harv came in just last week in hysterics about having just watched his son and daughter play tea-time. She had the princesses lined up in a row for tea, while the boy pulled a commando raid on the shin-dig with a rappelling GI Joe. He would have missed it had he not been working from home. Or the time he'd negotiated a $100,000 deal on phone, watching his daughter mimic him with her toy princess phone.

Oh, well. Maybe the time warp technology only affects the techno-savvy few in this world. It'll never affect the common folk like me. I mean, beer's gotta be served in real-time; you can't mix a Manhattan in tomorrow land for a guy in Asia; about the closest I get to time-warp technology in my business is the fact that some people claim my Margaritas don't hit them till they get home. But hang-overs are real time.

Yep, glad the techno time warp doesn't affect me. Miller Time is Miller time ... oh, shoot. I just realize, I'm closing tonight. Shoot. I'm going to miss the Day 5 premier of 24!

Oh, wait, I'm Tivoing it .... whew!


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