Lafayette Colorado, a suburb of Denver and part of the run-up to the Rockies. If you haven’t guessed, I’m on another business trip. I’ve been on the road since July 12th and it’s been a tough one. Starting with an airline without a flight crew and ending with a cancelled flight and boarding passes that won’t print from the hotel business center. Road fatigue has set in and there’s no place I’d rather be than home right now.
The whole thing has been hours of meetings followed up with the traditional dining in restaurants and trading horror stories. None of the participants in this ritual really know one another and it’s not really about human relationship. This is akin to territorial displays, if we were peacocks we’d be flaring and shaking our tail feathers. The oldest or boldest win the day and the rest are relegated to listening and providing the obligatory laughter. The tab goes to the company and we stumble back to our hotel rooms to prepare to do it all again when the sun comes up.
I’ve decided I’m not a good group traveler. Outside of my wife and cat, I prefer the company of a good GPS system. Coordinating travel through the modern American airport is something akin to arranging peace talks in the Middle East. As I said, my first flight was delayed two hours because someone forgot it wouldn’t fly itself and my flight home already has been cancelled forcing a radical reroute. Imagine trying to target hitting the receiving airport in tune with three other travelers so that you can share a rental car. I believe I would rather have do it yourself dentistry.
There also are the quirks to deal with. I’m all for individuality – writing would be a very dull affair if every human being on the planet had a nice, level personality without irritating habits and grating tendencies. I will say that these oddities are a lot easier to tolerate when you have some emotional connection with the oddity’s owner. When you’re travelling for business the quirks become an irritating nucleus that’ll never morph into a pearl. However, at the end of the trip when you’re shut into your hotel room on that last night before the flight out, the absence of those irritations become a sort of vacuum. You’re left with your fatigue, longing for home, and the throbbing of the elevator down the hall and somehow that feels – empty.
On my last trip I wrote chapters. This time I’ve only got a few paragraphs and a little editing to show for myself. At three in the morning I head back into the whirlwind of the airport with the happy knowledge the turmoil will deliver me home again. In the meantime I can only pray for clear skies and no middle row seats.