Jeanette Takes a Walk
Copyright 2002 by Jon Bondy, All Rights Reserved.
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Jon Bondy, firstname.lastname@example.org
There was a period of time when I was working on a consulting gig in Atlanta, Georgia. I would travel down there from Philadelphia early each week and return at the end of the week. Our company rented an apartment (paid for by the client) because it was cheaper than paying for hotel rooms. It got to the point where no matter where I was, I needed something at the other location. I even considered buying an emergency backup guitar to keep in Atlanta, just so I could play during the week.
I made a few friends at the client company, among them a young woman we’ll call Jeanette. Her history was unusual, as was she. Probably the most intelligent person I have ever met, she had been trained as a world-class gymnast and had traveled the world as an adolescent, somewhat pampered, and somewhat socially isolated. When President Carter decided that the US would not participate in the 1984 Olympics, she was personally affected. She qualified for a merit scholarship, and also for a diving scholarship, and attended UCLA, where she claims she received funding from both. She ended up in Atlanta when, school over and somewhat adrift, she found a job through her brother, another of the consultants with whom I was working.
Her brilliance was combined with extreme difficulty in getting along with the people in her job. I am clueless when it comes to being with people, so you can imagine the situation when I explain that she was coming to me for advise on this subject.
We became pals, and she would hang out with me when I was down there. We usually worked until 7 or so and then had a working dinner, discussing all kinds of technical geekage. Great fun for us both, and a write-off, to boot.
One evening, I had to make a phone call back to someone in Philadelphia. This was shortly after we had switched from hotel rooms to the apartment, so, while the apartment phone account was activated, there were no phones in the apartment. We went out to dinner, and Jeanette agreed to go borrow a phone from the company so I could make the call. After dinner, we went back to the apartment, where Jeanette fell asleep on the couch. She is one of those people who can sleep whenever and wherever she wishes, and usually can sleep for 30 minutes and then wake up, refreshed and ready to go.
I waited for a while, to see if she would wake up, but as the time approached when I really would need the phone, I decided to wake her up. At first I shook her by the shoulder. Nothing. Then I asked her to wake up. Then I started tickling her. She eventually rolled down onto the floor, and asked in a cranky voice why I was bothering her. When I reminded her that I needed the phone, she somewhat sleepily agreed to go get the phone for me.
We piled into the car and drove a few miles to the plant. There, she walked up to the night guard, said hello, and signed in. She found a phone, signed a property pass for the phone, and signed out. We drove back to the apartment, and I asked her if she wanted me to drop her off. She said that she was fine walking home, so off she went. I made my call, and I thought that was that.
The next day when I kidded her about how hard it had been to wake her up, she did not know what I was talking about. She thought I had made up the story about her getting the phone for me, but after she checked with the sign-in sheets and the property pass, she had to admit that she had done those things.
She had no memory of any of it. Not signing her name. Not getting the phone. And not walking home. She had been asleep the whole time, walking and talking, but essentially unconscious. Neither she nor I would have believed it had it not happened to us. But, it did!