My Trip to Google (with photos)
I went down to Google for an important meeting today (I can't say what it was about, but it involved someone whose name rhymes with eBay Kwuckles). I was treated to a free lunch in the distributed cafeteria peer network during what was apparently a lousy-salad-demand traffic spike, was promised a free Google sporting vest, and generally had a curious time.
Since most people will never get to enjoy the sprawling Mountain View campus of this Internet behemoth, I documented the affair with top secret, clandestinely snapped photos.
Photograph No. 1: Before the meeting.
You can't enter a building at Google without plowing into a shelf laden with free water bottles, fresh apples, "Flee, Radical!" berry trail mix, and high-gluten "grubble muffins." After you recover from your spill and swat the last grubble muffin from your chest, a nearby stack of unused 38" Dell flat panel monitors, upset by the commotion, works itself loose and washes over you. Once you have extricated yourself from the cords and displays, you totter over to the receptionist, who discreetly zaps you in the eye with a retina scanner. (In the photo above, you see one of my many water bottles, adorned with the lapel sticker that shot out of the guest registration machine the instant I'd been "logged in.") While I waited for my host, I was invited to take as much as I wanted from the "hundred dollar bar" (a large stack of hundred-dollar bills on a disused SGI tower). I felt like it was some sort of test, and only took one. Soon, it was time for my meeting.
Photograph No. 2: After the meeting.
This is the enormous tent where the Google workers dance and play and hug each other in big Nerf chipmunk suits ("Money! Money! MMMMONEYYYY!"). No...actually, it's where I had to park: the nearby lot of the Shoreline Amphitheatre. The main Google campus only has twenty-three parking spots for its 4,500 employees (whoops) so they operate a pretty swift system of shuttles out of this lot. Google Fun Fact: they have two guys manning the twenty-three convenient spots, whose sole job seems to be to sit under umbrellas, look thoughtful for a moment, and then tell you there's more parking down the road. Google Sadden-U Fact: Google's fully-loaded Useless Parking Lot Attendant budget is, perhaps, three times the annual revenue of my company.
Photographs Nos. 3 and 4: They Have Their Own Yeti
The elusive Google Security Prius (license plate: DOINOU?). Both times I tried to photograph the Google Security Prius, events transpired against me. The first time, it ducked behind a tree, and the second time, my windshield wipers underperformed and I panicked a little. Later, while pulling out of the parking lot, I got the sense that it knew I had been taking pictures of it, and suddenly I found it pulled up alongside me. I quickly snapped a photo while driving past and trying to keep my eyes on the road. Upon returning home, I was stricken with fear when I saw that the driver of the Prius was Lost's Benjamin Linus. I'm too scared to post the image here.
Photographs Nos. 5 and 6: Pulling out — some cars parked in front of Google Headquarters.
Come on, Google. Don't have a car like this.
Another instance of bad car style at Google. I got a haircut, shaved, and bought new shoes to go down there, and then they throw this in my face. Alright. Look -- I'm a man. I'm a person. I know how ugly it is to see some crap like this. We all do. I consider this image the proverbial "don't let the door bump you on the ass on the way out" type of goodbye. Do I even want to work with these people?
Photographs Nos. 7 and 8: Stuff I Listened To on the Radio.
On the way home, XM Radio treated me to some old cuts I hadn't heard in a while. It made me feel better about the bad cars I had been subjected to on the way out, and the salad with the whole coriander seeds in it, and the guy on the parking shuttle who was so plump that when he sat down thirty-two pagers, cell phones, USB memory sticks, Blackberries, Wiis, Mag-Lites, and Spread'm-Slather'm mayonnaise knives popped off of his belt and clattered to the floor like so many dreams deferred.
Thank you, Google, for the neat time and the roasted pork loin in Calvados cream sauce. The macaroni salad was also decent. I urge you to hold your apple-raisin bread puddings at a higher temperature, and also to inspect your salad team for the requisite qualifications and trade certificates. I shall watch your future career with considerable interest.