My first clue was a phone call from the Boss, first thing this morning. "We have a problem," he said. And I spent the next three hours on a wild goose chase, never catching up with the wild goose or any other feral fowl.
What he needed — and right now, too — was a particular piece of small equipment we could rent for the day. Our crew was stranded on a job site far from familiar territory, unable to work for lack of this gadget. They were standing by, waiting for me to find it somewhere nearby.
There was no answer in the phone book. Five different Internet yellow page sites gave me nothing in that town, or any closer than fifteen miles, and even those places didn't have the particular gadget we needed. I kept searching, writing down phone numbers and faxing them to the Boss so he could make the calls. It was faster that way, or would have been if I'd actually been coming up with any useful numbers.
Instead, I came up with dead ends. We had a gadget that could have been repaired, if I could find a gadget repair shop. Dead end. A dealer in new gadgets? Dead end, unless they wanted to cross the Bay. They would have had to cross the Bay twice, once each way, and I think the fourteen mile estimate was probably crow-flying distance, without accounting for the need for a bridge.
I was asked to keep trying, so I went further afield. I found places in Southern California, and way up north almost all the way to Oregon. I found places that had gadgets that were sort of similar in a kind of a way, but not close enough to solve the problem.
After three hours they called it off. They were breaking down the job site, loading up and heading back to home base. I was off the hook, nothing wasted but a Monday morning, which isn't worth much in the first place.