Monday 10th April 2006
The sun was still shining as we touched down at SFO, about 22 hours after we’d woken up. If every day could last that long, I swear I’d get more work done – or maybe I’d just spend more time playing Civilization…
We picked up the car – a Pontiac Impala which initially seemed unfeasibly huge compared to our Focus, but it’s funny how quickly you adjust and get used to the size, making use of the available space – then it was off down US 101 on the final leg of our journey. Despite it being rush hour, we had a swift journey due to being able to use the Car Pool lane (by virtue of not being a single-occupant vehicle). I was amazed how under-utilised this lane was, and started wondering how much of an incentive would be needed for more Bay area commuters to start sharing rides – there’s another good question for the economists to ponder.
Joce drove – I didn’t think it prudent for my first transatlantic driving experience to come during rush hour at the end of a long day’s travelling – and I gazed out of the window, musing again at the open, opportune feeling of the region, despite its large population. There are new buildings springing up, visible signs of affluence, and it all combines to create the feeling (illusion?) that anything is possible, there’s no history to hold back your dreams. And of course, as a professional software developer, I was very aware of the kind of businesses to be found in cities such as Mountain View, Sunnyvale, and Palo Alto, that we sped through.
Back home, there’s something about York – the wealth of history, the cramped streets maybe – that convinces me that it’s nigh-on impossible to get noticed or make an impact in such a city. How can you make your mark in a city with so many Roman remains on every street corner? There’s always a nagging feeling that someone got there first, that it’s all been done before. Name some famous people who’ve made an impact in York? Ivar the Boneless? John Sentamu? Dame Judi Dench? Rick Witter…? I hypothesised that this might partly explain the large number of Guilds, Companies, Lodges, Fraternities and Clubs in the city – people band together in an effort to attain power and influence. Is there a Company of Merchant Adventurers in North California? I suspect not.
I shared my musings with Jocelyn. She said "Well… what sort of an impact would you like to make?" I confessed that I didn’t have the foggiest idea. She rightly suggested that maybe it would be a good idea to decide that first, and worry about geography later.