Tales from the Checkstand: Contact

A couple of weeks ago, a customer came through my line who left a lasting impression. An older woman, very short, a little taller than the height of the credit card machine on the platform in front of the register, so 4-foot-something. White hair loosely tied up in a bun, toting a granny cart.

Her eyes downcast, she was quiet and withdrawn. I recognized the signs immediately: she was avoiding eye contact and discouraging interaction. As I attempted to greet her, she waved me off, indicating what I suspected, that she is deaf.
Continue reading “Tales from the Checkstand: Contact”

Tales from the Checkstand: Feelings

A man approaches with a striking arrangement of perfect roses in a very pretty and unique vase from our Floral Department. He’s a well-built stocky guy: short, blond, well-groomed, tight t-shirt, bulging muscles. Kind of a classic gym bunny look.

He places the flowers and a box of Fran’s salted caramels down in front of me with sort of a grim look on his face; almost a frown.
Continue reading “Tales from the Checkstand: Feelings”

Tales from the Checkstand: Lemonade

On the first or second day of a 3-4 day forecasted heatwave, with temps expected to rise as high as the mid-90s, two young gentlemen, 12-ish in age, approach my checkstand carrying two YUUUUGE bags of large lemons (32 @ PLU4053), a 5-pound sack of sugar, and a bag of ice (PLU804).

As I’m ringing them up, I look them over and remember the heatwave happening outside; I decide I must have a couple of budding entrepreneurs in front of me.
Continue reading “Tales from the Checkstand: Lemonade”

If your child were born deaf, would you get them a cochlear implant?

The question was posed on Quora: If your child were born deaf, would you get them a cochlear implant? This was my reply.

Absolutely. I speak to this issue as someone who lost the bulk of his hearing due to spinal meningitis at the age of 10 months in the 1960s. I spent the next three years failing to develop critical language skills as a result of living with hearing loss.
Continue reading “If your child were born deaf, would you get them a cochlear implant?”

Out For a Walk

A man is out for a walk in his neighborhood in an affluent niche of Silicon Valley, a lovely historic district home to a vibrant downtown scene, surrounded by loads of charming old homes lovingly restored and maintained, interspersed with attractive new construction here and there. It’s late afternoon on a bright, sunny day.

As he approaches the driveway of a downtown parking lot, a police car screeches out in front of him, blocking his way; he notices a shadow on the sidewalk in front of him cast by a police officer rushing up from behind, shouting at him. Several other police officers run up from different directions, all shouting at him.
Continue reading “Out For a Walk”

OpenSATX: Data For The People, By The People

San Antonio’s Code for America Brigade, dubbed OpenSATX, got off to a robust start on Saturday at CodeAcross, held at Rackspace headquarters. About 50 participants, comprising city staff, Rackers, Geekdom members, students, and other engaged citizens gathered to spend the day discussing how the city can better open its data to new and innovative applications to serve residents and businesses in San Antonio.
Continue reading “OpenSATX: Data For The People, By The People”

One Square Mile: Southtown’s Diversity, Culture Featured on PBS

“There are 268,000 square miles in Texas. Each one tells a different story.” So begins One Square Mile: Texas, a documentary series billed as “a microcosm of Texan life and culture,” that recently began airing on Texas Public Television stations.
Continue reading “One Square Mile: Southtown’s Diversity, Culture Featured on PBS”

Where I Live: Southtown

We arrived in San Antonio on the first Monday in 2011, relocating here from Silicon Valley so my partner Brian could help build the next generation of Cloud technologies at Rackspace. On Thursday, exhausted from unpacking and settling into our rented house on Barrera Street, we wandered down the block to have a drink at La Frite. Little did we know we were stumbling into the weekly “Lavaca and Friends” Happy Hour. Two hours later, we’d met about twenty of our new neighbors and had dinner with two other couples; thus began our infatuation with Southtown. In October, after 18 years as renters, we became first-time homebuyers, purchasing a home on Vance Street.
Continue reading “Where I Live: Southtown”