An experiment in creative blogging.
Friday was another day at work. Sure, I was getting stressed out about problems some of the people in our Chesapeake office were having that I couldn’t fix, but it had been that way all week. I was almost used to it. Since we’re getting ready to basically tear out everything IT related and rebuild all of our connections and servers from scratch, we have been having a lot of meeting with people wanting us to pay them to help us out. After a few of those meetings, my boss comes into the office I share with my IT coworker and says that the owner of the company is getting really nervous about those people in Chesapeake not being able to do what they need to do, and the customer is probably going to start freaking out soon. She told him that she wanted me to go down to Chesapeake and try to help in person. My boss and I have both been trying to help with no progress all week, so we actually laughed at the prospect of sending me down there.
An hour or so later, I got a call from one of the VPs. I go to her office, and my boss is there. Turns out that the owner was dead serious about me going to Chespeake. I was in shock. Afraid that I wouldn’t be able to fix their problems any better from there, I was told that this was more for PR than anything else. Since we don’t have an IT person out in Chesapeake, we need to show the customer that we care enough to send the very best (ok, I added “the very best” part). Still, I though, surely they can’t get everything I need to fly to Virginia at 2:30 on a Friday to have me there by Monday! It turns out that they can, rather easily. The travel expenses were deposited into my bank account and I had a flight, hotel, and rental car shortly afterward.
I’ve not traveled alone since moving back from Honduras in 2001 and never been anywhere alone for an extended period of time, so I was really nervous all weekend until I left late Sunday morning to get to the airport. I listened to some podcasts on the way up to Indianapolis and got to the airport exactly 2 hours before my flight left, just as prescribed. I met a couple waiting on the bus to take us to the terminal. Turns out they were going on a Royal Caribbean cruise to Nassau, just like Jess and I took last year! So we talked about cruising all the way to the terminal. I used to make fun of Jess flipping out anytime anyone mentioned a cruise, but I did the exact same thing. Cruises are fun, and they’re fun to talk about!
I made it through security and all the way to my gate. There I ended up talking to a guy in his fifties named Barry. He and his young Asian wife were on their way to London. We talked business and travel, and of course like every time I mention that I went to Bible College, religion. It turns out that he went to parochial school growing up, you know, with the nuns and the beatings. We had a good time talking until it was time to board.
Got on the plane, and of course I had to sit all the way in the back. I sat next to a guy I thought looked around my age. After talking to him for a bit, it turns out that he has a law degree and has worked for various pharmaceutical companies over the last 10 years. Apparently I look in my mid-thirties, but that’s no surprise really.
Once we were almost to Philadelphia, I turned off my iPod and just looked out the window that I asked for. There was snow everywhere, bringing the dormant trees into stark contrast with the ground, making the earth look like it needed a good shave. The closer we got to Philly, the closer together the buildings got, until they were so close that, if you squinted, they looked to be a solid mass of housing in various shapes and designs. The late afternoon sun helped give the buildings a warm glow that made them look so inviting next to the cold, white earth they rested on. As we descended, the glints on the ground turned into cars, people going about their lives, not caring about the plane high above them, just as the people on the plane didn’t care about them.
We landed in Philly (after passing by what must be their Sports Area, where all of their teams play right next to each other). After taking a shuttle around the terminal to my gate, I got a Philly cheesesteak from one of the restaurants in the airport. They know they have a captive audience since my sandwich and fries were $9! The things I do for authenticity. When I got to my gate, I noticed that we didn’t have a breezeway. In fact, we were eye level with our plane, a 50-person propeller plane. I said on Twitter that I felt like Indiana Jones, and I did. I did resist the urge to hum the theme the whole jittery trip down to Norfolk, however.
Arriving in the desolate Norfolk airport for the second time in 4 months (as I was just here with my boss to see the remote office in October), I almost felt a familiarity with this place just from having spent less than 24 hours here. I got my rental car, a PT Cruiser. I thought it was an excellent choice, as it says “business traveler” while being futuristic enough that I feel like its a shuttlecraft from the Enterprise. I had them book me at the same hotel, so I knew how to get there. I called my wife and sat down to write down all I had been thinking about all day.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I’m alone, I tend to monologue to myself like I’m in a movie. Sometimes I feel poetic or dramatic. I had a lot of time to myself today, so I figured I’d share what I was thinking about with you all. I hope you enjoyed it.