Part One - Take Flight
Andrew Spruce looked on in horror as the hard-backed, Jeff Doyle Routing TCP/IP Volume II slide from his unzipped travel bag and tumbled from the overhead baggage compartment. In what appeared to be frame-by-frame video motion, he watched as the book fell through the air, smashing the nose of the frail, elderly, female passenger.
Oh my God! Andrew thought, Please tell me this is not an omen.
"Whose book is this?, Whose book is this?" barked the platinum blonde ExpediteAir flight attendant incredulously. She stood, football linebacker-like, hovering above the now seated, and badly injured geriatric passenger.
Awesome, whatever happened to the "some bags may have shifted during flight" excuse... thought Andrew as he slowly raised from his seat to claim his Cisco Press volume. Say something rude to me and I swear I will address you as STEWARDESS for the rest of the flight.
Andrew was en route to his 5th attempt at the CCIE Routing & Switching lab exam in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and he suddenly, very badly needed a drink. Not the plastic nip Bacardi Rum available in the galley, he needed the jug and handle variety.
Will this be the last time I endure this trip?, mulled Andrew as he inspected the spine of Doyle's masterpiece for blood or mucus.
"A little light reading?", joked the window passenger beside him.
"Yeah, exactly. That poor woman sure wishes this author was not as thorough," retorted Andrew as he opened to the bookmarked Multicast configuration chapter.
Please let me read, please let me read, please let me read...
"What do you do?"
Son of a ..., thought Andrew. "I do computers," he replied and did his very best, completely fake, smile. He had actually learned it from most of the staff on the airlines.
"Doing computers" was the latest job description that Andrew was trying on for size for moments just like these. It was a description that had actually been coined by his father, a semi-retired carpenter from Worcester, Massachusetts that knew as much about Cisco networking and the Internet as Andrew knew about Skill Saws and Chalk Lines.
"Computers! No kidding, hey, help me with something," exclaimed the Window-seater as he reached into the attaché at his feet.
Please God, take off a wing!
"What do you got there?", Andrew muttered, eyeing the oncoming computer with complete and total disinterest.
Oh thank heavens, at least it's a Mac.
"How the hell can I get rid of the Web sites I've been to on this thing?" asked 13C.
"Are you using Safari?" asked Andrew.
The passenger stared back with the exact same head-cocked expression Andrew's chocolate Labrador used when he asked him to answer the telephone. "Never mind, here let me see," Andrew grimaced as he accepted the incredibly scratched MacBook Pro.
Andrew clicked Safari from the dock and immediately dropped the History menu. Sandwiched between several real estate search engine sites lived the inevitable, a collection of porn Web sites that would have Larry Flint squirming in his wheel chair. One shortcut even possessed an icon of what appeared to be a nude woman spanking Alfred E. Newman, or perhaps the 44th President. Impressive!
Andrew demonstrated the Clear History miracle mouse click and returned to Doyle's musings on Multicast. Before he began the paragraph that awaited him, he leaned his head back and repeated to himself a little mantra he had been using a lot lately:
This is all worth it, this is all worth it, this is all worth it...
TO BE CONTINUED...