Wed Jan 20 19:17:18 1982
Fear and Loathing in Stuttgart
Fear and Loathing in Stuttgart
Alan S. Watt
"Dawn - a time when men of reason go to bed."
Mornings are always hectic, especially if you arrive late so oth-
ers can plan your day for without due process or opportunity to
rebut. "Good morning Alan; you have a meeting at 11, and another
at 3"; or "Good morning Alan; you are giving a presentation for
Mr. XYZ at 2 on 'How Word Processing Technology can Combat the
General Increase in Illiteracy'".
This particular morning I arrived late because a stomach
pain of the previous night was still with me the next day, which
is very unusual. Nausea I don't mind; either it will go away
soon or I vomit - in either case I feel better. Random,
insistent, unexplained pains are the nemesis of the receding
hairline generation. Is it ptomaine? an ulcer? a hernia? appen-
dicitis? Psychologically, middle age is when you daily expect
divine retribution for the youthful neglect and abuse of your
Two extra hours in bed and a glass of water did nothing to
abate the pain so I assumed going to work would not make it
worse. Arriving this particular morning at 10:30 I was greeted
with "Good morning Alan; you are leaving for Stuttgart tonight at
I like to travel, but generally I like to plan my trips further
in advance than 8 hours. I always find that I have put off laun-
dry for the past few days ("I have enough to get through tomor-
row; I'll do it tonight ..."). When I come back after several
weeks of sudden absence, the milk has gone sour; the ice cream
has crystalized, the saltines are stale, and the postman has been
practicing isometrics by cramming weeks' of shopping news circu-
lars on top of letters from parents containing photographs of
their latest trip to Tahiti. Letters from TPC (The Phone Com-
pany) saying: "You have ignored our previous letters about your
unpaid bill. We are turning over recordings of your phone
conversations to the FBI ..." are always a thrill.
3. Sturm und Drang
Traveling leaves me with so much unoccupied time I have no choice
but to read. This trip I read that New York faces a crisis in
the breakdown of its magnificent but aging water system, and
plastic pellets used to reduce friction while loading crates on
ships are washing overboard by the billions and entering the food
chain of the Galapagos islands.
I eat a snack, packaged in a cardboard box, wrapped in plas-
tic, consisting of 2 breadsticks individually wrapped (plastic),
a dish of cheese dip (in plastic), and 1/4 handful of "crunchy
snack" in a sealed dish (plastic). I am cautiously testing for
ulcers by sipping my second manhatten from a tumbler (plastic)
with ice, stirred with a miniature airplane propeller (plastic).
All of which the stewardess (I wonder ...) efficiently and smil-
ingly collects and puts in a garbage bag (plastic). I wonder of
the per-capita consumption of plastic is rising faster than the
per-capita consumption of water in New York city. Maybe we will
choke in our own plastic garbage before the Advanced Programming
Environment has a chance to increase productivity by 500% in all
those offices selling plastic products. Maybe we can stave off
our own demise for several years by re-zoning the Galapagos
Islands as an international sanitary landfill.
Next: There'll Always Be an England
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