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  • The Long Goodbye

    Posted on January 2nd, 2013 ashinn No comments

    With many things I once knew quickly fading into the distance, I thought it quite poignant to record how I even arrived in Iowa.

    In 2001 I worked a small .com in Delray Beach, FL. Things weren’t perfect, but it seemed like we’d be able to weather the post-bubble financial storm. I lived in Boca Raton with a buddy, and didn’t have many cares.

    In early September I took a few days of vacation and traveled to New York City to buy a 1996 Honda Civic from a friend. I hung out for my birthday, and then proceeded on to Reston, VA for an interview at AOL (of all places). I didn’t really want to work in Northern Virginia, so I didn’t take the interview very seriously. Mostly I just hung out with an old IRC buddy who worked at AOL and cruised around in his Ferrari.

    After the interview I drove all night to get back to South Florida. As I was about to pass through Jupiter, I first learned of the 9/11 attacks from Power96 (people from SFL know what radio station I mean!). I recall it being surreal getting that news from renowned Miami Bass/Booty Music maestro DJ Laz.

    I drove to the office first, since it was nearest to me, and everyone was in the conference room watching the events unfold. This will sound bad, but as I watched the towers fall… I knew the company was finished. Most of our funding was via NYC venture capital, and it goes without saying they got spooked. September 14th … I was officially on the breadline.

    I know it’ll come as a great surprise, but at age 22 I wasn’t very strategic with money. I had bigscreen TV(s), arcade games, motorcycles, multiple cars and maybe… $500 cash to my name. I applied for unemployment, but the maximum monthly amount was $1250 at that time. Just my share of the rent consumed 75% of that. I tried to find work in South Florida for two months, but was unsuccessful.

    In an act of desperation, I applied for a job I saw listed in Des Moines, IA. Really long-story-short, I had lived in Iowa for 8 months in 1998 with my parents. I recalled it being a decent enough place, and since I had nothing to eat … what the hell. It was a 6 month contract, and the phone screen went well. About an hour after the screen the hiring manager told me if I could be in Iowa Monday, I had the job. This was on Wednesday afternoon.

    I packed what I could into my 1995 Ford Mustang GT, and set off for Iowa. I was just sure I’d be back “home” when I had some money saved up.

    11 years later, I now find myself finally departing Des Moines. It’s interesting how the best laid plans turn into almost a third of your life. I’m not really sure what to expect, but I really do hope for the best. I’ve never really felt completely “at home” here, but so many formative years and memories happened.

    I’ll end with a quote from Doc Brown: Your future is what you make it. So make it a good one, both of you!

    Here’s hoping for a great 2013 and beyond.