A New York Taxi Story

Where are we going now?

3:15 pm – Leaving a Battery Park office Its time to go. I have to give a speech on One Laptop Per Child in 45 minutes in Brooklyn. I’ll be part of The World in Your Library at the LACUNY Institute Series, talking to librarians about one of my favorite topics and its impacts on the dissemination of knowledge in the developing world.

Brooklyn College has invited me to NYC, one of the rare speaking engagements where I’m going to be a paid speaker. Before you think that amounts to much, this trip is netting me train, hotel, and $100 for meals and such. In New York, a $100 lasts about a minute.

3:19 pm – Getting in a taxi I hail a cab, and climbing in, tell the driver to take me to the Brooklyn College Library in Brooklyn. I’m running a few minutes late, but I figure I can still make it in time. That’s until, as we’re crossing the Brooklyn Bridge I hear:

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The Thomas Lee Bachelor Party

Thomas enjoying the night

I’ve never been a Best Man. This realization came to me late one night at my dinner table. It was around midnight, long after a party I’d thrown was over and Thomas Lee and I we talking. Or, more to the point, Thomas was asking;

“Wayan, will you be my best man?”

This was an odd question for me. Both because I’d not been a best man before, but also because I’ve not been to that many weddings. Yes, I’ve been to mine, both of them. But I didn’t pay much attention to what Sean, my best man for both was doing.

Outside of those two moments of sheer terror joy, I’ve tended to avoid weddings. I stay so far away from them in real life that Amy stopped asking me to attend her friends’ weddings. I don’t even watch movies about weddings!

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United for First Class Flying

Inflight ice cream rocks!

I was surprised at the first question the purser asked me as I took my seat:

“What would you like to drink?”

Here we were, just boarding the flight to Portland, and he had already taken my coat and hat, and now was offering me a pre-take-off beverage. A cold Heineken later, I realized the full difference between this United First Class accommodation and my usually seat back in Economy Plus.

Here, I was treated like a friend versus a customer. Note that I don’t have a real complaint against Economy Plus – I find it as bearable as any seat on an airplane, all of which are too small, too close together, and too high in the sky to make me at ease.

But Jimmy, my purser on this IAD to PDX trip, really made my frequent flyer miles upgrade worth the 5 E-Upgrade coupons I traded in for the privilege. After that first beer, the vodka tonics started quickly and never stopped till we landed. I had them right through a real dinner with real metal silverware.

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Amy and Wayan Wedding Day Photos

excitement in the air
Happiness in pixels

We now have wedding photos for your visual enjoyment of our happiest day:


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Presenting Mrs. Amy Ross Vota

lucky me
Kissing the bride

Years ago, I saw a photograph of a joyous bride, a woman in mid-laugh and beamingly happy, being led to the altar through a crowd of wealth and stature, by a father swelled with pride.

In that photograph I saw a dream, a vision of a life I wanted to live, a moment I wanted to see with my own eyes. Yet, I never thought it possible. I did not have that wealth, and I did not know that bride.

Until today, January 12th, 2008, my wedding day. Today, after months of planning, weeks of preparation, and days of stress, I saw that joyous bride. That father filled with pride. That crowd of wealth and stature.

Today I saw that image, I saw that moment in my own life. No. I lived that dream! It is my life now.

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