Tonight I attended the Google Intern Talent Show. It was held in the main cafe, with an audience of 200. Ten performances ranged from singing to piano to rapping to short films.
I sat on one of the benches along the middle of the dining area, behind a table, and bopped along to the music while typing code into a ssh window. If only I could work along to this live entertainment every evening!
The judges gave one of the awards to a performer for "clearly having passion".
"What the hell?" I said to my friend next to me. "This is Google. It's about the results. What does passion matter without results? This is a talent show."
His response is too snarky to print.
"Look at these interns, living their carefree lives," I said.
Then I suddenly remembered a mortifying story from my own intern days. I'd forgotten this for years.
When I was 17, I interned at Microsoft in the Bill Payment group. At the company picnic, I stood in line behind a fellow engineering intern from my building, Redwest-A. We chatted while waiting to get admittance to the picnic. He was nice, and cute, though I had no designs on him since I was in a relationship at the time.
After that, occasionally we would run into each other in the cafeteria, or he would come chat with me at intern events.
A month later, this young man came to my office one night at 9pm. I was playing Age of Empires over the network with a friend in a different Microsoft building. I glanced quickly to see who it was, said hello, and turned back to my game.
He looked pretty nervous.
"My internship ended today," he said, standing in the doorway. "I'm flying out tomorrow. I came to find you to say goodbye, since we might never see each other again."
In hindsight, I realize this probably took some guts.
At that moment, my Age of Empires opponent sent a rush of archers, so I wordlessly ignored the boy in my doorway, to focus on repelling the attack.
Now you know why I identify with all the jokes about geeky engineers being completely oblivious to other people's feelings.
He waited for fifteen minutes, in silence, for me to finish my game. Eventually he left without getting a proper goodbye.
I don't remember his name, or any identifying facts. For all I know, he could work at Google now. But perhaps into the mists of time, I can still apologize for acting like such a dork. Sorry.
Speaking of this generation of young'uns and their internet patterns, last week I was talking to a longtime friend about the fad nature of social networks.
Me: ""Facebook is getting a lot more use than Friendster ever did. That's certainly true for me."
Friend: "We're the last to know anything, right? So by the time you and I think something is exciting, it's probably already over."