Monday, October 19, 2009

Travel is in the air

What is that I hear? The sound of squealing children at 5:30am? The sound of snoring coming from what can only be described as a ‘portly’ gentleman in the distance? Where am I? None other than on another germ tube from sunny PHX to hopefully sunny ATL.

Business travel is interesting. I see all kinds of people. In fact, some of them are in a similar situation that I am in. Resigned to pack up what meager belongings they have in a TSA approved suitcase and drag their already tired asses to the airport - only then to get to 2nd, or if you are lucky, 3rd base with one of the TSAs finest.

For one of the first times, someone recognized me as a fellow road warrior on the PHX-ATL path and struck up a conversation. Our eyes locked, each knowing the pain of the other, each sharing a few battle stories of weeks travel gone by. Ahh memories. Thankfully I was able to remember a few facts about him and his life and he was able to do the same. I feel like we had previously shared an exit row seat before each of us had gained “gold” status that would enable us to cast aside the mere mortals and forever be upgraded to first class. These.are.my.people.

I take a taxi to and from the airport on Monday and Thursday and have had some VERY interesting encounters over the last few weeks. For some reason I envision the application for a driver reading something like: “WANTED: Driver with license, lots of household drama, and a crazy life story. Safe drivers need not apply.” Some of my recent encounters have included:
  • A polish driver who, after asking permission of course, cranked up some VERY good Russian pop music. In fact, I had the Russian version of “Shake your Bon Bon” stuck in my head for many days afterwards. (When I asked what the translation was, the driver simply said: “it is literally, ‘dance around’”….Disappointing). He offered to give me the CD, because I honestly did like it, but I declined – he promised to have an extra copy next time.
  • A driver whose son was a professional Halo video game player – and had been since he was 16. He is flown around the country to play in tournaments all expenses paid. If my grandmother was correct, with all of the video games that kid plays his brain has most certainly turned to mush.
  • The most bizarre was a driver who had no issue with telling me, after meeting me for 10 minutes, that he was in the middle of a divorce and was going to have to file bankruptcy because (among reasons) his Lincoln Towncar lease was $800/month. Lord knows what sort of secrets he would have shared had I known him for longer.
  • Finally, probably one of the most funny was the guy with a foul mouth. He would cuss up a storm – all the while swerving across 5 lanes of traffic to make an exit in 100 yards. All that I could do was hang on and provide encouraging words such as “wow, can you believe these drivers!? You really have to take the bull by the horns and lead the way sometimes, right?”. Fuel to the fire.

I can’t help but think back to some of my more funny trips because I can sense that my travel days are, in the short term, numbered. My contract is scheduled to end around Thanksgiving and will certainly end no later than the middle of December. I’ll take a few weeks to get to know my wife a little better, but as is usually the case will get kicked out of the house after a few weeks. I seem to create a lot more clutter than my wife is used to with the house to herself.

Update tomorrow on my 35 mile bike ride this weekend!

5 comments:

Ace said...

So much pain...so much suffering...such is business travel...

If all these weren't universal truths we've all gone through, it would be easier to laugh... :)

The Sean said...

apparently all you need for the driver's position is ... a face. And a name with like 17 consonants...

-Jerry Seinfeld

Adam said...

LOL - YES! I love that bit.

"What's with cab drivers and the BO?"

Barry said...

Laughed out loud on this one. Can relate to the "I feel your pain" guy. This is why you will always see Pilots who are strangers nod to each other while passing each other on the moving walkway. It's kind of like the "big gulps" scene from Dumb & Dumber -


Your life is suckin right now huh?

yep.

Well, see ya later.

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