Friday, October 02, 2015

How I met Josh Radnor ...

Driving through minty green fields in my small boxy European car, I was looking for a lot to buy on an island. After I found one, my companion took me in her car back to the mainland.

She looked familiar. She was a twenty-something woman with long brown hair; I knew her, but try as I might I could not remember her name.

We went to meet some folks she said would be interested in my ideas. We waited for them for an enormously long time, looking out the window to the wintry narrow Oslo streets from a messy third-floor apartment. Inside, the lighting, which came from an unknown source, suffused the furniture with a dark gray hue that was set off only by a flat reflection of the walls' white paint.

When everyone gathered, they showed me several thumb-sized dongles that looked like plug extensions, except they had no pins. A blond guy in a suit, a serious but soft-spoken young man, explained that they were building a "skyryx."

I asked what a Skyryx was, but he couldn't explain it to me.

Every time he tried, others intervened to say that such-and-such a function was not yet proven to work. Somehow, it would connect or communicate or transform or control wifi channels and all sorts of peripherals from outside a computer or from other devices.

I got stuck on the name because it didn't mean anything. However, the group vociferously rejected verbs such "switch" or "connect" or "control" to describe what the new gadget would do. But that's what it does or might do, I argued, to no avail.

Suddenly, they realized they were late for something else and left in a hurry without saying goodbye. Even my companion left me alone. I fell asleep and later woke up in the disturbing grayish apartment.

Near me were the dongles and a dark rectangular cardboard box about the size of a piano-bench seat. In it were blueprints and instructions. I put all the dongles in the box and walked out with everything to find my car, which was back on the island.

My island had meanwhile been plowed and built up, with beautiful little farmhouses here and there dotting neatly plowed fields. As I became familiar with the terrain, it came to me that a magnate was buying up all the land on the island, almost leaving mine locked off the road.

Looking around, I realized that my plot had no path from the main road to my newly built farmhouse, near which was my car.  So I began to trudge through fields to get there. The island had unnaturally minty green plants that stood up like wheat stalks. Fortunately, they were not stiff, so I could easily push my way through as they waved in a gentle breeze.

The field in which I was walking was about a person's height higher than my field, but I came across a downward sloping rutted dirt path. I just knew it led to my car and started down that way.

Then, as I was almost at my car, I heard loud voices from the field from which I had just come. They were calling out to someone who, because he was on the higher field, I couldn't see. I left my stuff in the car and went to help.

Retracing my steps, I came to close to where he was and recognized one of the guys who showed me the gadget. He was carrying a thermos, which kept him from gripping plants to steady his way down the path without slipping.

"Give me the thermos and I'll help you," I said to the youngish man.

As he passed me the thermos, he turned his attention to me and recognized me. "Hey, a lot of people are looking for you. Do you know where the stuff we showed you is?" he said.

"I have it in the car," I replied. "If I'm going to name the thing, I have to understand it, so I took it to study it."

Turns out I hadn't understood that I wasn't on the project yet; the encounter had been a job interview and they hadn't decided on me.

"It's an 'outboard nexus,' "I said.


"We should call it an Outboard Nexus," I repeated, explaining the name by way of recalling the engine off a small fishing boat.

We drove back to the mainland in my car. Back at the grayish apartment they all argued with me.

Then I realized. The guy with the thermos was Josh Radnor. I knew I knew that face.
Josh Radnor, who played protagonist Ted
Mosby in the TV show "How I Met Your Mother"
That's when I woke up and trudged to the bathroom. It was 5 am.