An open letter to Michael Kraft at the SBDC

Dear Michael,

I understand that you’re not a Humboldt native.  How, you ask?  Let me explain.

If you are standing outside the Small Business Development Center on E Street in Eureka and facing across E Street, you are facing East.  Just because the highway going that direction is named 101 North does not mean it is going North at that moment.  You see, there’s this big thing that juts into the  coast.  If it wasn’t there, 101 North would be able to continue North.  But it is there.  It’s called the Humboldt Bay.  Some people think it’s quite nice.  Highway 101 must go around it – in an Easterly direction – before it heads North again to Arcata.

So…if you then happen to be teaching business skills in a classroom in the SBDC and ask all the students to close their eyes and point to the North, all of the students pointing their arms in the direction that Highway 101 is going in that part of town are wrong. Which means the one plump blonde girl who just happens to be a Humboldt native and is pointing in the direction of the Eureka boardwalk is right.  And when you then agree with all the wrong students and you, yourself, point East and say it’s North, well then…that one girl gets a little bit miffed.  Especially when the skinny woman with the bony elbows knocks into her and says, “I’m glad I’m not driving with you.”  So miffed in fact, that instead of listening to your point about this exercise, she grabs her Blackberry and turns on the GPS just to show her best friend who’s sitting next to her that she is right and the rest of you are just plain wrong, and irritating to boot, and then says to the annoying skinny woman, “Yeah, like I’d really invite you,” and then can’t even concentrate on the rest of your rather dull talk because who can really trust business advice from a man who doesn’t even know which direction North is, anyway?

Just a helpful hint from me to you.



26 responses to “An open letter to Michael Kraft at the SBDC

  1. Funny post but you make a good point. As a point of reference if you are on the coast and pointing at the mountains, you are pointing east… in most cases.

  2. heheheheheh Sorry to laugh, but that’s hilarious.
    I fell for a transplant. (Not only was he not Humboldtian, he wasn’t even Californian!) Being manly, he always *thinks* he knows which direction he’s headed.
    Once we had to return some visitors to SFO. I’m a bad traveler. More than an hour in a car & I begin to fidget & whine. So, when we were done waving from the “I can’t go there because I don’t have a boarding pass” point, he was grateful that I crawled into the back seat to nap and recover from the margarita clouded night of goodbyes. I awoke about an hour later & crawled to the front. Groggy & with only one eye I looked at the highway ahead. “Man, where are we going?” He gives me that look that says *Good thing you’re cute, Einstein* followed by a smiling “Home”. I look around again. “Umm, are you sure you’re going the right way?” “Baby, I got this. Why don’t you go back to sleep?” I’m tired & his slightly superior tone is irritating so I take a few deep breaths & let my brain wake up. I look at the highway & landscape again searching for the familiar & trying to pinpoint what is bothering my slightly addled mind. It clicks. “I think you’re going the wrong way.” I say with more conviction.
    “I make this trip all the time, I got this.” He sounds a little irritated now. So I try to be gentle about it. “Dude, the ocean’s on the right.” I watch his mind work its’ way to the answer, and sit back to enjoy the colorful southern expletives.
    I love that you included a map, and I really hope he reads this.
    Welcome to Humboldt Mr. Kraft, welcome.

  3. Fred…I wasn’t picking on you this time…really.

    Thanks, Bee! Can you imagine what Delores would have said to Mr. Kraft? There would have been a whole hell of a lot of sighing and recalculating.

  4. Dude, the ocean’s on the right.

    Hee hee hee heeeeee. I’ve totally been there, only I was the one driving. It’s the only thing that saved me from ending up in Mexico.

  5. Ouch! and Sorry!

    I didn’t point along 101, to my defense…it was actually worse. I knew it didn’t go along 101, I forgot my compass, and I kind of pointed over my shoulder, therefore going even more to the east…rather than across 101 to the north. I’ve only been here 5 years and that coastline is confusing.

    I am sorry that this was distracting for you. I’ll do better next time…thanks for straightening me out.


  6. Geez, Michael…you sure responded graciously to having your (understandable and made by many) mistake pointed out.

    For the record, your talk wasn’t that dull, I probably would trust you with business advice, and I have been known to exaggerate and add a certain dramatic flair when I write. As for that woman with the elbows, though, she’s a pain in the ass and deserves no mercy.



  7. I would like to add a disclaimer… the actual distraction on my end came when beer and hot tubs were being tossed out willy nilly and then my mind started to fantasize about Big M hops… oh see I digress again!

    We’ll be back for more business advice…

    We’re working on a patten for a non sticking your bony elbows into strangers device.

  8. I love the fact that you posted an open letter and he READ it. I wonder if that would work with Jeff Leonard and I could get some questions answered from an elected official. I will ponder this possibility.

  9. You totally should, Beachcomber. I bet you’d get a response, although maybe not as good humored. Michael Kraft has proven himself to be full of awesomeness.

  10. It’s just absolutely painful being from here sometimes. There are so many of them and so few of us. And they are so goddamned enlightened!

  11. Sorry, I almost forgot: I want to give a shout out to Ernie Branscomb! What’s up dog!? Apparently what comes around goes around.

  12. What’s even more painful, Lodgepole, is that some of them are just so god damned adorable. Then we start kissing them and living with them, and before you know it we’re ordering half-caf lattes and protesting the Marina Center. Oh, the horror!

  13. I tried to comment earlier when it was timely. I muffed it, and prematurely “entered”, that threw the timing way off, and I decided that I might as well slink away, while my pride was still intact.

    “…so many of them and so few of us. And they are so goddamned enlightened!”
    They know so much more than we ever will. They know that Redwoods are sacred, gravel needs to be saved, We need to chase anybody away that tried to come here after they got here and discovered paradise, and WE need to learn THEIR new names for our plants and animals.

    Sadly, they are as wrong about most things as they are about north and south. Like what the hell is a “bay tree”?

  14. And what about the buzzards??? My life has never been the same since I found out that wasn’t the correct name. Something about a turkey. Geesh.

  15. Yeah, I know what you mean, you could have knocked me over with a feather(pun)the first time that I heard them called a “turkey vulture”. The person politely explained to me that there were “No Buzzards that live in California. True buzzard only live in Blah, Blah, Blah.” We are just so stupid!

  16. I even sang a song about buzzards in the church talent show once. Hmmph.

    I must say, though, that some of my favorite people are newcomers – some even from just the last decade! And if we stereotype all of them, as some of them do to us…well then we’re not any better.

    And we are better, dammit. Heh.


  17. Yeah, well, you can get a little discombobulated when you relocate and your geographical referents get cockeyed. All my life the Pacific was west, where the sun set, and 101 ran basically north-south (strategic alternate routing to avoid submersion in Humboldt Bay notwithstanding). Now I live in Santa Barbara, where everything is a quarter turn counterclockwise – 101 runs east-west, the Pacific is south, and in late summer, if you’re facing the ocean, you won’t see the sun set because it’s setting behind you, behind the hills. Serves me right for moving to this end of the state.

  18. Oh, man, Chris, it would certainly take some time to adjust to that. When I lived in Missouri there was no ocean anywhere, and I was always completely lost. Thanks for your comment. Weren’t you posting some funny wing nut letters from the local paper in Oregon for awhile? They were hilarious. xo

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