Day Two: In which I learn that day one was just an introduction to an introduction

The class hasn’t gotten any more interesting. Today we learned how to—brace yourself—connect to SAS and submit an SQL query! So far, all the useful knowledge I’ve gleaned over the last two days could maybe fill both sides of a sheet of paper, assuming a largish font was used. Nevertheless, tomorrow’s lesson plan includes phrases like “multi-dimensional databases” and “data cubes” and “OLAP”, so I still have a tiny sliver of hope that things will get more challenging.

During lunch I’ve been unable to avoid having conversations with a certain classmate who we will refer to as “Robert”, because that happens to be his name and I’m sure as hell not giving him my URL, so he’ll never know. Robert is a former stock broker from Florida who believes it is very important for me to understand just how unbelievably world-changingly wonderful data warehousing is.

“It’s the wave of the future,” he says, in an accent from somewhere between New York and Chicago. He goes on to tell me about his brother, who works in Beaverton for Intel, and his other brother, who is a pharmacist and therefore has access to all the pharmaceutical-grade cocaine he wants.

“Not that I’d ever touch the shit, not now anyway,” he adds. “Hey, how about Janet Jackson’s nipple, eh? You see that? Eh?” Wink wink, nudge nudge.

Robert’s a nice enough guy, but I don’t enjoy talking to him. If I didn’t have a badge on my chest with my name and the name of my company in big bold letters, I might be rude and eat lunch somewhere else. But I can’t do that. People here know who I work for—some of them personally—and what I do reflects on my employer. So I pretend to enjoy talking to people and I smile and trade small talk for small talk and try not to let the boredom show.

I don’t think I’m cut out for business travel. Being fake isn’t my bag.

But have I mentioned the free Coke? From a fountain, no less? It almost makes it all worthwhile.