This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Friend Jim

I first met Jim at Burroughs Wellcome in Greenville, NC. I don' know how it all happened, but we became good friends...and still are...

...despite the fact that he is a fiscal Republican, and I am anti-Republican.

But it has worked. We definitely disagree politically but I also have him pegged as a non-stereotypical republican. You know, the ones that I don't like.

Back at Burroughs, Jim and I were validation testers. We worked in a really cool facility, a Sterile Products Facility, that had little robots running around, as well as grand, automated pharmaceutical equipment in which we were testing.

During our breaks, usually one in the morning and one at lunch, a group of us would hang out in the cafeteria together, shooting the breeze. There were many, many, many heated conversations with Jim by me and my co-workers. And yet, the next day, we'd sit down with him again and talk some more...maybe get pissed again...rinse and repeat.

I don't think Jim was ever ticked off at us. He probably thought we were funny, getting all hot & bothered.

Most of the debates had nothing to do with politics. One debate in particular has forever been deemed "Jim's Zipper Effect". This was the discussion that Jim proclaimed: that driving in a merging lane to the end, then "merging" (AKA cutting in line) back into the through lane, was an efficient form of moving the line along. It's pretty funny, thinking back to how pissed off we got at him for this theory.

We also played tricks on each other. Course, I don't remember a trick he played on me. I'm *sure* he did. But I remember taking his work shoes -- being in a sterile products facility, we either had to wear shoes intended for use in the facility, or those hospital booties over our shoes -- and re-lacing his laces, but tying a hard knot in each lace hole of each shoe, then tying the laces of each shoe together with a lot of knots.

I am still laughing to this day about that prank. I thought it was HILARIOUS and BRILLIANT at thinking up that prank.

I was surprised at how upset Jim got about that. I guess it's hard to undo knots with big fingers.

But we moved past that and enjoyed many lunches outside of the company together. He'd make fun of my music whenever I drove.

And then there was the "date". I can't remember entirely but I *think* this was my own "going away" event. I was leaving Burroughs Wellcome for the big city ofRaleigh. And every time we had a celebration, someone leaving, etc. we had a get-together at BW3s.

Tim had to work late and I knew I was drinking a lot so I didn't want to drive. Jim volunteered to take me, and a few of our other co-workers.

I was the first pick-up and when I got to the car, I remember he walked me to the passenger door. Awwww...a true southern gentleman!

But this particular car, as he drove off and sped through the streets of Greenville, had a big rock or cinderblock, or some kind of boulder thing in the back.

He also added that he needed to change cars? or get something at his place. This was an odd turn of events for me because we were supposed to head over to pick other people up.

It was at this point in time that I thought Jim was going to kill me. He would take me back to his place, do what he would do, then use that rock and bash my head in.

I know he's reading this now and wondering "what the heck is wrong with you?" But Jim, it's true. I thought you were going to kill me.

You were the first (that I can remember) but you weren't the last...I found myself in similar situations (not with the rock) where I thought my good male friend was going to kill me. Most of those people know about my demented thoughts. You didn't. Now you do. :)

But I survived and he didn't kill me *with the rock*, but I thought he would with his maniacal driving skills.

So I left Burroughs and Greenville and we kept in touch. Jim somehow got lucky and met Elena, who was a student at the time, visiting the area. In time, she actually married him and they eventually lived in Singapore. And through the Clinton years until now, we were able to keep in touch.

Late last year, Jim and Elena, and their triplets, made it back to the US of A. Not just this country, but in Raleigh itself! How is that for a small world?

And last weekend he came by to say hello. It was a great surprise. And his dry humor was there, in full force, reminding me why I can befriend a Republican.

Thanks Jim :). You have been a great friend and I look forward to debating you more in the future.


  1. I have actually read that the merging method described by Jim (driving all the way to the end of the merge lane) IS actually efficient. Or at least, it's not less efficient than having everyone merge at the beginning. Regardless, it still makes me mad when i see people break in line.

  2. Thanks for memorializing me in your blog Cindy. I do think you are delusional about some sort of rock thing in the back of the car or about me needing to switch cars - I don't remember either - but I do remember your impression of my wonderful driving skills and I still treasure to this day the look of wonderment and admiration you displayed when I explained my ingenious and masterful zipper effect. In fact, the zipper effect does work because the person who zips to the front and merges in front of some slow reacting driver doesn't slow down those behind the slow driver because they are already stuck going slow. There is no speed difference for them. In fact, the zipper speeds of the line for the people behind him, albeit briefly, because they can then move up to his former spot behind all the slowpokes.