Well, Dan, I
spoke too soon. The slowdown has had an Affect after all, in the
hallowed halls of Wilson Sonsini. There has been a Freeze on hiring,
the temps have all been Fired, the perks are Gone -- no more free
dinners, and the Labor Day weekend at Pebble Beach has been Cancelled
Forever. But the most ominous sign is that now all overtime has
been Cancelled. That takes about a quarter to a third or more of
my take-home pay on any given week away. And that hurts. Until that
happened, I was getting ahead out here, getting on top of my bills,
getting out of debt, and I still had money to go buy goofy shit
-- tickets to Dave Matthews or the Giants or the Sharks, or to drop
two cool twenties on a huge salmon filet and a twelve-pack of Bass
for a Friday night barbecue with friends. Ah, the halcyon days.
But NO MORE. I
spent the weekend watching baseball on TV and drinking homemade
schnapps alone. Even my porno was cheap, shitty porn, left at my
door by a Fleeing Dot Com Millionaire Neighbor. I had spotted him
moving out the night before and went over to talk to him about it.
"Seattle" he said, "Maybe I can go back to selling cars." That is
a wretched fate, Dan, for someone who only two months ago bought
brand new skis and a big screen TV ON THE SAME WEEKEND and WITH
THE SAME PAYCHECK and had cash to spare, which we both did. It wasn't
supposed to end this soon.
And great ideas
were in the works, too. I heard rumors about two companies that,
six months ago, were inking a deal to merge and create software
capable of translating foreign languages into English and vice versa
in real time through cellular phones. Both companies are bankrupt
now, one of them facing charges from the SEC for securities fraud.
But the software might have worked. It might have been really beautiful.
I am feeling the
way the hippies must have felt when the yuppies came to town --
that the dream is dying, and being sold to the highest bidder. The
corner of Haight-Ashbury now sports a Gap store, and all the purity
of that time has vanished in a blur of mass-produced tie-dyes, and
franchised coffee houses. There was a time when the internet held
a lot of hope, and dreams were built. Not anymore.
"What does the
future hold?" That's the voiceover in those damn Agilent Technology
commercials with Anthony Hopkins sounding wistful and optimistic
and wise -- they still play every seven minutes on CNN, and they
remind me of the posters left to rot on the walls after the Circus
has left town. The Party is Over. The future holds more of the same.
Cold tuna from a can. NASDAQ: 1600.
It won't be long
before the mortgages start drying up here, and the million-dollar
bungalow homes of Palo Alto, Atherton, Woodside, Los Gatos and Saratoga
begin showing up on the foreclosures lists, and legions of Carlton
Sheets' real estate magnate wannabees turn them all back into rental
housing for Stanford kids. We will be infested by a plague of The
Ugly, The Mean, and the Jackals. The garage sales will be legendary.
A Playstation 2 purchased four months ago for $1200 in the frenzy
of gotta-have-it-now consumer nonsense will go for $20 at every
third garage sale in the Valley for the next two years at least.
But I will bide
my time and pay the bills. Hunker down and eat poor. This storm
will last all year.