Thursday, January 27, 2011

Against All Odds

Like clockwork, when I write about work travel, someone will reply that they don't know how I can do it. Either the allotted time on the road, or the hassle of road, rail and/or air. To say nothing of hotels and food habits.

I chalk most of it up to them not having that same experience, and that's cool. I remember when I first started doing it, and everything seemed like such a hurdle for me. On my first trip, my flight was canceled....and I had no idea what I was going to do. After that, you learn to adapt. You have to - or you least internally.

So, I've had canceled or delayed flights, bad meals, stuck trains, hotel fires, people having sex in the room to which I was assigned....and all of that. But I adapt.

I do have to say, I normally don't have multiple bad things happen in one trip though. The odds - who knew?

I'm sure this retelling will have people defiantly stating they would not want to do what I do.....and I get that. I'm not looking to convert anyone anyhow. I mean, it's not like the gay-enrollment program we have doing on. ohhhhh.....I've said too much.

I took TONS of pics over the last two days or so, but I'm not making this a 12 of 12 on the 27th. I'm limiting it to a few pics with the story.

I was in Philly and had planned on seeing a client in York, PA. There was scheduled rain and freezing rain, but it seemed doable. After my plane was to leave yesterday evening, it was to turn to snow.....I figured I'd be long gone.

However, I woke up to about 3" of snow and it was coming down fast....and it was only 06:00. Checking the weather, it seemed unlikely that I'd make the 90 minute trip each way and still get to the airport on time. It seemed unlikely that planes would be flying at 18:00, so I rescheduled my client lunch and changed flights to 13:30. Easy, right?

Now I had time to kill in the hotel, but I could work and take calls. That didn't last long. The fire alarm went off. I was only on the third floor and it was really cold and snowy out so I just thought I'd ride it out. Mr. Fireman knocking at my door (yeah, it sounds like the opening to a porn movie scene.....but alas it was not), told me I had to leave. I took a few minutes to finish packing and just decided to leave the hotel. That was the one of two good things of the day....and the one smart thing.

There was no fire, but a carbon monoxide leak. Can you frickin' believe it?

For this there were nine ambulances and about eight fire trucks. ....and tons of firemen and EMS workers.

One I got to see up close and personal. Nooooo....not that way. Since I had woken up in the middle of the night with a splitting headache, of which I thought nothing of, EMS asked that I step into an ambulance to get checked out.

No worries, nothing wrong. My blood-pressure was higher than normal, but not high....just high for me. My pupils were fine and all. They offered to take me to the hospital to get evaluated, but I thought that to be a little extreme. I went on my merry way - after snapping a picture of course. (actually, I took one in the ambulance too, but it was shitty.)

So after that, I just got in my rental and took the 20 minute hour drive to the airport. Damn weather. Oh and on the walk to the terminal, I found out my dress shoes had a crack in the sole, as I had a sopping wet right foot and sock.

And I had to stop at ticketing to have them issue my new ticket, they could not do it electronically. But they had no record of me changing my flight. UGH! My original flight had already been canceled six hours in advance, so had the flight before that. The 13:25 was my only option. ...and they had no record of me.

I did get on stand-by though. I scurried (yes......scurried) to the assigned gate....which was empty. Fuck.

It turns out, not that the flight had left, just that they had moved gates....and thankfully, some lady just sitting there reading told me. I never had a chance to thank her, so if she's reading this.....'thanks'.

They were almost boarded and as luck would have it - I did get a seat. Not sure why it was 'stand-by'.....after me and three others, there were still 6 empty seats that I could see. Everyone else I know who was with me on this trip and did not leave the day before are still in Philly, by all accounts....some maybe even at that hotel...if they were allowed back in.

With all that rushing around, naturally, no real food was consumed this day. Here was my lunch.

Appetizing, huh? Continental supplied the pretzel and water. I always carry granola bars in case I get stuck on a plane.

One last shot, after we were above the clouds, the snow and the gunk - and even airplane air was making my head feel better.

....oh, and I lost one of my gloves, probably left in the ambulance or when I got out of it. I threw the other one away.

So there you have it - the glamour of an on-the-road business guy. It's not all nice hotels and expense accounts.....quite the opposite. It's not a bad life, and it pays the bills. Some days, like everyone else's just sucks. Mine happened to fall on yesterday.

Song by: {ugh} Phil Collins


Cubby said...

At least you didn't lose your iPhone again. That would have totally put you over the edge.

I wondered why you didn't get any good pics of the firemen, but I leaned in close to my screen to examine the one pic you posted and now it's very clear why you didn't get a better one. Yikes.

Are you done traveling for a while?

tornwordo said...

Good thing you weren't killed in that hotel! And it feels so much easier to read about it than it is to actually go through all that. Bravo.

A Lewis said...

Good gawd. That's why it's just easier to STAY HOME. Unfortunately, neither of us get that luxury!

Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm.....yes, to the n'th degree!! Having all that happen to you in your home country is bad enough...having it happen in a third-world cesspool is just a mindf*ck. But, as you say, we adapt .. and carry on! Sympathies and regards are with you.

rebecca said...

That was not worth a FB tease!!

anne maruie in philly said...

OMFG, you were only 5 miles from my house! the hotel is one of the better ones in the area.

seriously, it's a good thing you went home. we got 12-17 inches and everything was fucked up. I never went to work yesterday and today was a delayed opening, courtesy of my nice boss.

the next time you come into town, you MUST call me!

Dith said...

Ugh! Phil Collins in my head all day. Hate that little worm. Verification word is "unkin". Worse than unfriend?

Ur-spo said...

You have convinced me; I am glad my work keeps me home!

david said...

I have a no Phil Collins clause so perhaps you could use PAT BENATAR THE WARRIOR because you are a road warrior.

David G said...

Could have been worse. You could have stayed in Cleveland!

(oh relax, I know, I know, Cleveland is fantastic, I get it)