Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Travels With Charley

In 1962, Travels with Charley was published.  For John Steinbeck, it was the last significant work.  He was in a retirement state of mind and this was supposed to be some literary piece describing some trip across the nation.  People liked the storyline, the travel agenda, and the characters mentioned. 

For me, of the 1,500-odd books I've read in my life....I consider it one of the ten best books I ever read.

All this said and done....I've kinda noted over the years various discussions with the book, and how actual events and travels mentioned....didn't really fit well together.  Some folks have gone onto discussing the idea that Steinbeck didn't really make the trip, or that he staged two or three of the stops, and just filled in the rest of it with fictional words and descriptions.

A Steinbeck-enthusiast would be shaking their and defend their hero, but then you'd have to imagine this trip, and having discussions with various people along the way.

My humble guess?  I think he basically drove the truck out to some Oregon coastal area, and just quietly sat at some cabin writing up the story while gazing at some map and travel books.  Six weeks later, he wraps up the piece and mails it off.  I don't think it's a terrible thing but it's an odd thing we are stuck with and wondering about. 

Arlington?

There's a piece out there today which suggest a number of browsing episodes are popping up from Amazon....noting Arlington as a question-topic.  There's a suggestion by folks now that the big number two headquarters being pursued.....will end up being Arlington, VA.

I sat and paused over this idea. 

Personally, I think it would one of the craziest and most stupid business decisions ever made....to base this in the county of Arlington.

Just going to find open ground to fit this large-type complex....would be near impossible.  My humble guess is that they'd go the Army-Navy golf course folks and make some billion-dollar offer, for the whole golf course, along the interstate (I395).  Beyond that, there's just no place with decent space.

But then you come to entry into the region.  from 7 AM to 9 AM....it's one of the most congested areas in America.  From 4 PM to 6 PM, it repeats itself. 

Mass transit?  If you were near some station, it might make sense....but virtually every station is layered out and I'd just shake my head over this idea.

Escalating home prices?  Right now....to buy just a marginal house...it's $300,000.  Putting 5,000 to 10,000 employees into the local area?  You would escalate housing prices to $500,000 easily. 

Apartment pricing?  I used to rent a plain studio place (full heat and electricity, with AC) for $1,150 a month in the local area.  That was a 400 sq ft place.  Go imagine the rent for that building if Amazon existed....it'd probably run at least $1,800 for the studio apartment. 

My humble guess is that....if they build it....within six years....this will be downsized to a thousand-man operation at best, and most of the real work will be done at some alternate site a hundred miles to the south.