Garage Tales: The Sea of Cortez (S1 EP2)

Mustafa Shaikh
4 min read

One thing I realized with this batch of writing is that some episodes won’t exactly be self-contained stories with a defined beginning and end. Garage Tales (the third title in three weeks) is a longer, slower-moving story. More of like a memoir of my times at Boombotix.

As such there won’t be as many really long episodes since I won’t have the need to finish a complete story. I’m curious to see how this impacts your enjoyment of Garage Tales. There’s a thought that because this series will rely more on 1) you reading the previous episode and 2) you recalling what you read the week prior, your enjoyment will be less. I’ll try to balance that by juicing up the writing a little more and dropping some more jokes in there.

Speaking of which, if you missed last week's episode, you can catch it here.

Feel free to respond to this episode and let me know if you’re enjoying this series thus far, or not so much.

Without further ado ...

“I think Cmac is trying to get me to join Boombotix,” I told Alex. It had been two weeks since we were playing "baseball" in his backyard.

Alex nodded his head. “Yeah. I’m pretty sure he is.”

If you recall the get-together in Alex’s backyard, Alex actually hosted it as a going away gathering for his vacation to Baja California with Cmac. (Before you ask, yes, you should throw a party for yourself the next time you have a four-day weekend in Tahoe.)

Alex and Cmac were actually an odd pairing to go on a trip together. You would be surprised to see the two of them hanging out at The Page together (a cramped dive bar in San Francisco a few blocks from Alex’s apartment), let alone on a NAFTA partner’s beach.

Their connection was through Katsaros. Chris was Katsoros’ best bud from high school. Katsaros and Alex were now roommates.

The plan was initially for the three of them to go down to Baja California together. When it came down to booking tickets, Katsaros didn’t have the budget for the trip, which left Cmac and Kaplan as unlikely travel partners.

Alex relayed to me that while the two of them were hanging on the beach, Cmac was probing him about me. With the clay model of his new speaker in his hands, Cmac essentially ran through a reference check.

(Unnecessary side story: Lack of money was a theme of that trip. After bumming around Baja California, Alex and Cmac returned to Cabo for their return flight the following morning. The only hiccup was that they didn’t have a hotel room booked.

They figured they’d handle it when they got there. After a night of unsuccessfully chasing a couple of girls, and getting roped into paying for overpriced flaming liquor shots, they decided to sleep on the beach. Alex had picked up two blankets on the trip and he figured they could wrap themselves up in those and fall asleep on the beach.

At this point, I’ve heard Alex tell this story numerous times. I’m so sick of him talking about the next part.

He speaks poetically about getting woken up at dawn by the rising sun. He looks out and sees the Sea of Cortez in front of him. It was such a magnificent sight that he was glad they ended up sleeping on the beach. He says this all in a way that if you don’t have your wits about you, you wish you were out there sandwiched between Alex and Cmac.

Nah, Alex. You ain’t getting me. You slept outside on a freezing beach with a thin blanket and woke up at 530am with a hangover. That sounds absolutely miserable. No FOMO on my end.)

Cmac’s line of questioning was spurred by me coming through on my offer to help him out with the naming process for his new speaker. Along with the names Eat My Words had previously worked up for Logitech, I sent him over a USPTO report which showed some potential issues for his “Hex” moniker.

When Cmac got back from the Gringos-Do-Baja trip, he reached out to me a few times. We talked about his progress on the name and some of the USPTO issues “Hex” might encounter.

Then he started taking the conversation in another direction: Boombotix was looking to get into college bookstores. They needed someone with business development experience to get them in there. He didn't explicitly ask if I'd be interested in working at Boombotix—he sort of poked around it.

I didn’t quite understand Boombotix at that time, but I was happy to hear him out. Cmac caught me at a good time. I had just recently started looking for opportunities outside of Eat My Words.

What I didn’t know at that time was that getting into college bookstores was a fairly tedious task. Cmac was leading the sales charge at Boombotix, and that project was something that had been on the to-do list for a while, but no one had tried to tackle it.

In me, he saw someone who might be perfect for it. He figured I went to Berkeley so I must have half a brain. I work at a naming company doing, well, naming, and business development. That sounded cool. I seemed like a team player as I lent him a hand.

Here was an overall go-getter. Maybe Mustafa would be the guy to get Boombotix into college bookstores?

After Chris had warmed me up to the idea of cold-calling buyers at college bookstores, he invited me to come over and meet Boombotix's founder, Lief. It was time for my first trip to the garage.

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Do you have a friend who also cannot stand hearing Alex talk glowingly about the Sea of Cortez? Can you do me a favor and forward this episode to them?

Next week on Garage Tales ... I enter the garage and consider accepting a salary that puts me below San Francisco's poverty line. Read it here.

This episode was edited by Mustafa Shaikh. Blame all grammatical errors on him.

You can catch up on past writings here.