he heat was sheeting off the three eastbound lanes running towards Bithlo, Florida. I was in the right lane behind a massive pickup truck with all its proudly stickered vulgarities. Suddenly the trunk swerved its massive tires left, cutting into the center lane. In horror, I saw a guy on a hog (with no helmet) making an equally uncleared and unsignaled shift from the far left lane. Both spotted each other and locked up (I had to stop because the wide back end of the pickup was still in my lane). Then, like pitbulls, they screamed at each other, unmasked and from the bottoms of their likely coronaed lungs. And while they were doing that, a small Honda, all tricked out with chrome and self-styling, came flying up. The driver must have been in his phone because he panic-locked his ballerina-tiny wheels and damn near rode into the roadblock.
I just sat there in the heat and confusion, and felt my heart sink at the stupidity of people.
But I’d gone a mile and started thinking of the people I rather like.
So these are The Robby Awards, a listing of people I still feel a recent gratitude towards, who empower me and get me through events like these three road-hazard stodges.
From my professional career, I owe so much to LeaAnn, Kate and Marilyn, the exec admins who kept me informed and aware of foul plots and traps set against me. And Sam, my manager and later MD, who let me set the bit between my teeth and run.
There are Cassandra and Luann, the two opposing chess queens. Both of them were dynamic and supportive, and if they learned to work a little closer together they could achieve miracles. And Cindy, who pressed her hoplong shield into my back and braced the process line. With her assistance, we made RSE1 the top group for compliance across the org.
And then there was Sabitha, Manjula, Saritha, Supriya and Kalyan, who graciously invited me to sample Indian culture. I include Manjula even though the Hindi words she taught me for “Sir” and “Ma’am” were actually the gender specific names for donkeys. Ho ho. Jolly joke.
Outside of the entire Orlando N-Trak club (who financed my idea of a sectional layout and make it the most magnificent display layout in existence), we have the Tuscarora team, who are helping me build my next layout – Steve on electronics and construction, and Greg on research and geography, and Doc Andy for his knowledge in Kato Unitrack. This thing we’re building – it’s going to be magnificent.
Speaking of train friends, I miss Bruce and Pam. Bruce and I shared many hours chatting on drives to far-away layouts, and I got a lot of great ideas from him. And then there are the people who allow me to join their sessions – Ken and Bev, John and Tom and Al. I miss those crazy hours making your little train worlds come alive!
While I’m riding my bike a lot (3000 miles in the last eight months) I do miss commuting with Cody and Alex (both Alexs – train-guy and Page) who rode in the dangerous-crazy city. So many adventures!
With the pandemic, I’m learning the importance of friendship. To my brother, and to Brian, Tyler, Logan and Dave, thanks for pushing me to referee a roleplaying game again. I forgot how much I enjoyed that. And the Scurvy Dice crew – I don’t need to tell you who you argh. Thanks!
And thanks to my sister, Dr. Pat, who is willing to phone diagnose the smallest of sniffles. And my best friend Jesse, who does his best to put aside time for us to chat each week.
And of course, JB is up in the winner’s circle. She didn’t even blink when I started building a second layout to go with the first. She’s been there for thirty-one years, and we’ll go for thirty-one more.
And Ritz and Chinki, who are cute and evil, like phases of the moon.
If you didn’t make the list, I apologize for the omission. But then again, try harder.