Friday, June 5, 2009

Elizabeth Fournier - Author of "All Men Are Cremated Equal"

I'm happy to host Elizabeth at Fatal Foodies' stop along her WOW! Women on Writing Blog Tour. Elizabeth, a mortician, has penned an autobiographical account of her quest to find "the One" by going on 77 blind dates. Visit her online to learn more about her and her delightful book. Below is Elizabeth's account of her date with Skip.


I recently went on a blind dating jag. This jag lasted a full year and included no less than 77 blind dates. A jag? Really? Who am I kidding. It was a lugubrious part-time job that I intentionally signed up for.

I was just looking for a guy who could make me laugh, wanted to get to know my family and friends, and didn't lick his fingers while eating. And maybe one who didn't think a noisy Starbucks was a suitable venue for a first date.

But if you're living in the California Bay Area, you bet your RAM (Silicon Valley computer speak which stands for random access memory) it is!

I never expected anything as extravagant as dinner on a first date, even though that was the choice of some of my suitors. I believe a drink or a cup of coffee is perfectly fine for talking and seeing if there's an initial attraction. After all, it is a blind date. If there's a mutual desire to see each other again, then a longer and more expensive date would be a probable next step.

But a Starbucks? Yes, it is a familiar location, a casual setting, and a convenient locale since practically every block has one. I get it. But it equally lacks creativity and is a generic choice. I often wondered why men who worked so hard to be "somebody" in their career life didn't seem to care about making a valuable impression in their personal life.

And then there was always their significant other to deal with: the cell phone. It was always on the table and ogled frequently. It was always present and intrusive, and I felt a tinge of jealously over how much it held sway over my 77 potential husbands.

So what was dating really like in Silicon Valley during the post-dot-com boom era? Let's take Skip. I like to refer to Skip as the "triple date:" it was me, him, and his cell phone.

Look, we all have cell phones. I'm in a profession where I am always on call or at least I need to be reachable, so I understand it and accept it. My beef was that he was checking the caller ID each time the phone rang, and had no issue picking it up to talk even when it was just a social call. These conversations weren't prefaced with "Oh, sorry, I really need to take this one." It was, "Hey, dude!" every time to whomever was calling. And then Silicon Valley babble that would go a little something like this:

"Yeah, we reviewed his skill set, looked at the variables, and decided to link our people. He lives in the five and dime but can BART it down and sit in the pod. He just might be the curry we need since we'll back forty production soon, and the new nomenclature is on the critical path. I don't want to sunset that project and would like to throw it over the wall soon. So let's see if we can get him into the loop and pencil him in since Doug was officially uninstalled last week. Let's discuss this later off line."

Even the woman next to us turned around and glared at him. And, yeah, who can blame her? Did Skip really have no clue how obnoxious it was to those around him, and that his huge vocab of industry lingo wasn't that riveting?

Just writing that conversation was annoying! But that was how homo Siliconis spoke during (and after) the dot-com boom in San Jose, self-proclaimed "Capital of Silicon Valley," and high-tech Mecca.

Let me break it down for the rest of the country: "Five and dime" refers to area code 510, which covers the east San Francisco Bay Area. This guy can ride the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) train, and sit in the "pod," or sea of cubicles. "Curry" would be the spice or new person added to the mix. Something is "back-fortied" when it's temporarily set aside, and a project is on the "critical path" when it absolutely needs to be completed. Ideas are "sunseted" when they are finished. You "throw it over the wall" to have the other departments take a look. And poor Doug was fired or laid off.

Skip's self-important ring tone went off again and I gave him a look that clearly said I was losing my patience. He decided that phone call number four was more important than my blind date #13, so I got up and waved buh-bye. He placed the phone on his shoulder and said, "Hold on. Just hang for a few minutes." Let's spin it this way: the buzzword is "no."


Gayle said...

Elizabeth, I have to tell you I'm so glad you translated the Silicon-speak. I was completely lost! You know, Skip is probably STILL wondering how you let a great guy like him slip away. LOL!

efouefour said...

Tell me about it! It was much more painful in first-person!

Ruth J. Hartman said...


Your book sounds hilarious! I know every part of the country has different lingo, but good grief, that guy Skip sounds obnoxious!


Cathy C. Hall said...

I think skipping out on Skip was a great business decision! But I;'ll bet there's a Skipper somewhere, just for him :-)

Good luck with your book-it sounds painfully funny!

efouefour said...

Thank you, ladies! I really am happy you took the time to write.

Dana Fredsti said...

Gahhh!!!! You should have killed him! I need to read your book...

irishoma said...

Hi Elizabeth,
Good luck with your book!
Donna V.