In all the fuss about work I forgot to mention the other fuss about work, which to be fair I only learned about in the indirect way information is communicated at the company, a mass e-mail reporting that the code for the back door was changing from its current pattern (the bottom digits, then a top one) to the other door code (the top digits, then a bottom one). They periodically swap.
It was a couple days later that break-room talk let me in on the secret. one of the first-floor workers --- the extremely enthusiastic one who wanted me to join his group that didn't make sense if I didn't believe in God --- had wanted to borrow one of the work vans over lunch. Though he often does, he was refused this time, and took it anyway. When he got back late there was a fight I missed between him and the guy in charge of technology stuff. Finally the new guy announced he had had enough of this and couldn't take it anymore, and stormed to the office manager who, baffled, accepted the resignation. And thus with a hostile turnover in personnel, the door code had to be changed. Security: they'd know it if they saw it. Maybe.
What transpired was that he had been running his own business on the side, and using the work vans for his own deliveries, explaining why he was always late coming back from lunch; it wasn't just running home to take care of his dog. (I apologize for being cryptic, but this is as much as I got and might be all the lunch room folks know.) More, when customers called asking for services the company couldn't provide, he referred them to a woman who was coincidentally his wife and hinted that she was the company's official recommendation for that stuff. Showing the sort of sense that gets people fired, he'd done much of this business through the company's provided e-mail so much was revealed as the tech guys cleaned up his computer. (A friend I described this to said the guy was ``just reinforcing stereotypes about New Jersey''; perhaps so.)
As a little topper, apparently he'd managed to fill his hard drive with ``we'll just call them pictures'', which strikes me as a somewhat courageous act as his desk is in a big common area with no obstructions other than one's own body, and it's not rare for anyone to just grab any open computer if they're up and the phone rings. I feel nervous enough having a ssh client on my computer and that doesn't contain any personal data in it.
The other lunch room people did point out that (to my surprise) the tech guys never got along with the new guy, for some reason, and they felt the tech guys were always giving him a hard time, so I don't know how much of the more scandalous stuff to credit. It's still exciting even if I don't know whether it happened.
Trivia: In 1831, Rhode Island produced a fifth of the United States's yarn. Source: Rhode Island: A History, William G McLoughlin.
Currently Reading: Tea: Addiction, Exploitation, and Empire, Roy Moxham. Boy, it's easier to be fond of the British Empire when you look at the top and heady debates on grand issues of policy, and a lot harder when you look at, say, the way workers on tea plantations get treated. And that's leaving out the opium side of things.