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Greg's diary
August 1982
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Sunday, 1 August 1982 Frankfurt → Heilbronn → Frankfurt
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Doris took me to the airport today for my flight to Cupertino. Problem: I didn't have a visa. Rather naively, I had assumed that I wouldn't need one. Today was a Sunday, so there was nothing to be done until tomorrow.

What should I do with the day? Doris was gone, and I was happy enough about that. I would have liked to see Yvonne, but she had gone to Heilbronn to visit her friends Gabi and Gerd Reichert. Called them up, got the address, called John Hughes and asked him for the car I had lent him, and then off to Heilbronn, getting some acquaintance with the Reicherts' horses in the process. Back to Frankfurt in the evening, and spent the night with Yvonne.

Monday, 2 August 1982 Frankfurt → New York (JFK) → San Francisco → San Jose
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Up early in the morning and to the US Embassy in Frankfurt. I think it was the first diplomatic mission I have ever seen guarded by soldiers. Explained my problem and got a visa very quickly—looking back, surprisingly quickly in view of how the US authorities act nowadays. Off to the airport before midday and discovered the next flight going to the USA was a Pan Am flight to New York, with ongoing connection to San Francisco. Off to have my ticket changed, and to my pleasure discovered that the Lufthansa fare class J meant business class.

In New York in mid-afternoon, about the same local time when as I left Frankfurt. What a mess JFK is! Discovered that I could join the frequent flyer club for not too much money, so in anticipation of lots of benefits, did that. On to San Francisco, where I arrived at about 21:00 (06:00 the following morning back in Frankfurt), and then down to Tandem's “Fremont and Mary” facility to pick up a key for the flat I was to stay in.

Down then to the flat in San Jose, and found evidence that somebody had already moved in there. Damn! That was the last thing I needed. Headed off looking for a hotel, not an easy thing to find in Silicon Valley, and finally ended up via a roundabout method shortly before midnight at a hotel at San Jose airport. What a day!

Tuesday, 3 August 1982 Cupertino
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Into the Tandem facility on the corner of Fremont and Mary Avenues in Sunnyvale today to belatedly start my course. Discovered the reason why the bedroom was occupied: it's a double flat, and I had chosen the wrong bedroom. All is well.

Made friends with a colleague from SSG Cupertino, Sue Kleiman, and spent a fair amount of time with her. Ended up going to Santa Cruz for dinner, where I was horrified by the queue waiting to get in. I suggested going elsewhere, and Sue had to explain to me that queues for restaurants are normal for the USA.

Wednesday, 4 August 1982 Cupertino
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After class, discussing some assignments with Sue and one of the assistants. Huh? There are files in my directory, $CLASS.GREG, that shouldn't have been there, and they had been modified in the last few minutes. Assistant looked at the controlling terminal and said “that's over there”, pointing to where a student was sitting. He was “Black” (with a capital B, it seems), and assistant looked daggers. I called over “Hey, Greg, are you getting on OK?". He turned around, “Yes, thanks”. He was in a beginner's course, and hadn't noticed the mistake that the course organizers had made: they had given us both the same user ID.

But wait, there's more! After getting back to the flat and finally getting some sleep, the phone rang. An unknown American woman's voice. “Is that you, Greg?”. “Yes”. “Yes”. The second “Yes” wasn't from me, but from Greg (Moore), the same bloke we had seen earlier in the evening. He's from Austin, TX.

Saturday, 7 August 1982 Cupertino
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Sue Kleiman and I have spent lots of time together, but today she had a “date” with somebody that she had made before she and I met. I was on my own, but somehow survived.

Sunday, 8 August 1982 Cupertino
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Phone call from Sue Kleiman early in the morning. Her “date” yesterday hadn't been quite what she expected. After leaving the restaurant, he saw a 1956 Chevrolet. “Hey, I wonder if he locked it up properly. These things have a guide for the keys that turns with the key, and when you take out the key, you need to make sure that the guide locks too; otherwise you can start the car without the key”. Got into the car. Started it. Drove off.

Sue was infuriated. I forget what she said about the rest of the evening, if there was one, but somehow she wanted to get the car back to its rightful owner, apparently without implicating the thief. So off we set to (I think) Santa Cruz again. Found the car. Almost no petrol in it, so we drove it to the nearest petrol station and put a gallon or so into it. Tried to drive off, but it wouldn't start. Damn! What an end to an altrustic gesture!

Somehow found the name and phone number of the owner, and called them up from a roadside call box. Owner was not happy, tried to shoot the messenger over the phone. I explained that I was trying to get the car back to him, not steal it, but he didn't cool down. So I told him where it was and that he could pick it up.

Then I hung up, of course. And immediately the phone rang. “Please put 14¢ into the box”. Another surprising thing: AT&T apparently had issues with calculating the cost of a coin phone call, and it was relatively normal for this sort of thing to happen. I suspected that it was also relatively normal for what I did to happen: ignore it.

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