That was another thing. They hated having to translate their work into dumbed-down metaphors for the shiny shoe set-the meddlesome lawyers, media scribblers, and potential corporate sponsors who came through wanting to "understand" without doing the hard work of paying attention. Oh, god. This was just one more reason that Francis Benoit was glad he was working here at the La Honda Research Center and not out there in some corporate start-up, because despite all the roll-up-your-shirtsleeves myths and stereotypes, when you got right down to it, working for a start-up meant he'd spend 80 percent of his time doing complete bullshit-chasing VC money, writing technical documentation, hiring people-and all of it involved dumbing down your work. And the meetings! To participate in that game would be a waste of god-given talent, it would be a crime against his very own nature. Francis Benoit could just see himself cooped up in some office park, suffocating on his own unvented thoughts, poisoning himself, just to prove something to the shiny shoe set. Then there was the time that photographer and his camera crew came out from New York to shoot an ad for a new line of casual clothing, Lo-Tech Work ware. Some Italian conglomerate had built up sufficient internal consensus to approve its ad agency's recommendation: put unassuming clothes on semi-famous titans of the American computer industry, take pictures, and print the pictures alongside the slogan "High tech insiders wear Lo-Tech on the outside." The company hired the renowned Italian fashion photographer Adriano Paschetta, flew him out to San Francisco, and gave him first-class treatment for several days to primp his artistic temperament, then put him in an air-conditioned van for the trip down to Silicon Valley. The producer had received, by fax, very specific directions; they had found the turnoff for Old La Honda Road, passed over a little gangplank bridge, and ascended into an evergreen forest, where sword ferns straddled the one-lane road and neon velvet moss circled the tree trunks. But about 2 miles farther up the road, the asphalt became all cracked and broken so the wheels of their van started a drumbeat rump rump rump; then the canopy of forest overhanging the road began scraping the metal roof, and naturally they started thinking they'd missed a turnoff, this couldn't be it, no way, something was wrong here, this couldn't be the way to the world-renowned La Honda Research Center. Right about when their ears popped from the altitude, they caught up with this fat guy on a frail 50-cc pedal-scooter, which was whining and bleeding a trail of oil-tainted blue smoke into the air. A plastic grocery bag dangled from the elbow of one arm; a diminutive Styrofoam helmet adorned his head. There was no room to pass, and the fat guy wasn't about to pull his scooter over and lose all his momentum, so they had no choice but to roll along behind him for the next mile and stare at the pale smile of flesh between his shorts and shirt.