Sunday, February 19, 2012

If You're Reading This, I'm Already Home

By the time anyone reads this I will have returned from the trip during which it was written.  I am fortunate enough to inhabit one of two seats in a row that has no third passenger on a flight from Charlotte to DC.  As much as I am enjoying the book I began reading on my cramped flight from Cleveland to Charlotte, that book is by Dean Koontz, an author whose writing I pretty much worship, but which also leaves me feeling exceptionally writey.
Sadly, when I try to write as or shortly after reading anything by Koontz, I end up very disappointed in myself.  Nobody writes like Koontz.  Not that I really try, I’d sooner try to sprout wings and make this trip under my own power.  But my style, my ability to pick any small detail and craft it into a paragraph that paints a vivid portrait, compares to Koontz like Koolaid to a fine Merlot.
Today is the fifth time in less than five months I’ve been in the air.  Whose life is this anyway?  While I have many times in the past six weeks mourned the loss of the money spent to fly twice to Texas, I no longer feel lost or confused in airports or on airplanes.  I feel like a bit of a road warrior, and I don’t know how the true road warriors tolerate it.  While I’m more comfortable with air travel than I was, I enjoy it less.  In fact, taking off from this second leg of today’s flight I didn’t even put down my book.  Taking off and landing doesn’t draw from me the same awe that it once did.  I feel like cattle, except that cows aren’t typically hurled from farm to farm in a tin can.  PETA would not allow it.

During the earlier leg of this flight, crammed into roughly two square feet of cabin space, between a window and a broad shouldered elderly gentleman…wearing a coat for crap sake (he, not I)….I thought of several things that I would have written about if I had the elbow room with which to extract my laptop from under the seat in front of me.
Now, I got nothing.

Mr. Broad Shoulders played Angry Birds on his iPhone the whole flight.  I found that interesting.  He was probably 60.  Maxine the cartoon character points out that in 40 years we will have a large population of elderly women with tattoos.  Maybe at that point I won’t find a 60 year old playing games on an iPhone to be interesting, but today I do.
So anyway I’m on my way to DC, to attend a meeting that leaves me once again feeling like a kid sneaking up to the grownup’s table.  I need to get over that.  It’s getting tedious.  I will be joining hundreds of people (edit…2,946 to be exact) who are in the business of running the same business my boss runs.  The company I work for owns a chain of franchise locations on the East Coast and also provides Accounting and Payroll support to two other franchise groups.   So I will not only be schmoozing with coworkers, one on my level but mostly above me, but I will also be hobnobbing with customers, some of whom I have never met. 

No pressure right?  Already I’m wondering if there’s anything between my teeth or hanging from my nose.
Tonight we will have a company dinner in a very nice restaurant.  My guess is when the name of the establishment was emailed to me I should have recognized it, but it neither rung a bell nor stuck in my bellfree.  As much as I appreciate the opportunity, the sentiment and the opportunity to experience something of this sort…it intimidates the crap out of me.  When faced with more than one fork I always freeze, scenes from Pretty Woman playing in my head.  What would Julia do?  I’ll tell you what she would do!  She would smile brilliantly and nobody would care if she used the wrong freeping fork. 

Why didn’t my mother get me braces? 
Tomorrow will be a blur of meetings, much of which will be greek to me, some of which will hopefully sink in and help me to better understand the people I serve.  Tomorrow night I will visit the Smithsonian, again with my oh-so-intimidating superiors, and once again try not to embarrass myself.

Then I’ll come home.
Oh and I should mention that I’ll be staying in a beautiful hotel, in a very expensive room. 

I really am very fortunate, and should try not to let my fear and inferiority complex cloud the experience. 
Soon I will be instructed by the captain to turn off all electronic devices and return my seat and tray table to their upright and locked position.  I saw the captain as I boarded.  I don’t think this should be allowed.  He’s just a dude.  Human and fallible.  I didn’t need to be reminded of that.

They all have the same voice, have you ever noticed that? 
When we land I’ll gather my ridiculously overpacked bag from the overhead compartment, ever cautious as articles may have shifted during flight, and as I exit the tunnel into the airport it will strike me that every airport looks alike.  Am I the only one who feels, when I exit the little plain-to-airport tunnel, that maybe there was a mistake and I’m back at the airport from which I departed?  Was it just a carnival ride, scenes of hazy skyline, patchwork farms, lakes and ponds and roads which I can’t distinguish from rivers being somehow projected on screens resembling windows?

Nope, it’s real.  My ears are killing me.
Shoulda just read more Koontz.

Today's lunch (at home, six days after I wrote this, when I'm finally getting around to transferring it from laptop to website): Shakeology.  Atoning for last week's sins never tasted so good.

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