saint-louise's Diaryland Diary


Lesson One: Never, never, never say, “This is the worst it can get.”

At the end of January this year, I had to go to my company’s New York office for a week. I didn’t look forward to it because

a) I would have to miss two nights of school in a row,

b) I would have to leave Taylor with Mom alone for a solid week, and even at my most imaginative I could not picture how much whining, wheedling, and consuming of highly sugared foods would occur as soon as I was out of sight (62-year-olds can be so trying sometimes),

c) traveling for business reasons, even if it’s to an entertaining place like New York, can suck the last ounce of fun out of everything. I mean, there are only so many times I can hear phrases like “work breakdown structure,” “learn to work smarter, not harder,” and “we’re out of coffee” before something sinister in my brain wakes up from its nap feeling a tad bloodthirsty, and

d) I’m still waiting for my company to send me to New York when the weather isn’t either Hot and Stanky Like the Lower Bowels of Hell, or Cold Enough That It Makes My Spine Curl Up to Stay Warm.

I guess you could say that I didn’t begin my trip with the best of attitudes.

So, let’s start my New York trip off with an overall score of, oh, 35/100 and then let’s look at the details.

1:10 pm. Sunday. SLC:
My boss, who is also going to New York, is already ten minutes late to pick me up to go to the airport. He calls me to say that he’ll be there in 20 minutes because he’s “running a little late.”
Minus 2 points.

9:00 pm. Sunday. Cincinnati:
Due to the gi-normous snow storm that has hit the east coast just to piss me off, our flight from Cincinnati to JFK is delayed by 30 minutes.
Minus 5 points.

9:45 pm. Sunday. Cincinnati:
The flight is delayed another 30 minutes.
Minus 5 points.

10:00 pm. Sunday. Cincinnati:
Minus 5 points.

12:45 am. Monday. New York, JFK:
My boss, another co-worker, and I finally disembark in New York. It is so cold that my hand sticks (through my glove) to the railing of the ramp leading up to the terminal. Tarmac workers who are removing luggage from the plane are speaking to us over the sound of the plane engines and through fifteen layers of scarves that they’ve wrapped around their faces in order to keep from fucking freezing to death. The result? Although I didn’t think it was possible, it’s even more difficult to understand what these New Yorkers are attempting to communicate with machinegunfire sentences and accents thick enough to eat on bagels. It really is part of the charm of the city.
Minus 8 points.

1:15 am. Monday. New York, JFK:
We have just spent 20 minutes waiting for my suitcase to show up at the baggage claim, and another 10 minutes waiting for airline employees to make half-hearted attempts to find my bag after it doesn’t show up. For future reference: Those people get pissed when you ask them to, like, work and stuff.

They eventually tell me that my bag, and the bags of ten other passengers on my flight, had “fallen off of the luggage tram in Cincinnati.”

“Soooo…?” I say, too tired to do more than drag out the one syllable that has somehow managed to escape. I hope that it sounds expectant instead of just really, really, really stupid.

“Your bag is still in Cincinnati,” the Extremely Put-Out Airline Worker informs me, all the while looking over my right shoulder as if he is hoping to god that something dangerous will materialize and incapacitate me so he doesn’t have to speak another word for the rest of the night.

“I understand,” I say sympathetically. “I guess the bags didn’t hear that our plane actually finally left Cincinnati. Either that, or they didn’t believe it when they heard it, eh?”

My attempt at biting sarcasm falls flat. I’m told that my bags should be delivered to my hotel by noon the next day. If the airline worker put more disinterest into his voice, I might think he had slipped into a coma. Clever lad…
Minus 15 points.

2:00 am. Monday. New York, in a cab, skidding along ice-coated streets toward doom (I hope):

We are on the verge of death as our cab driver talks on a cell phone, answers calls on his two-way radio, and drives 600 bazillion mph on winding, icy streets in gale-force winds. I am too downtrodden to give more than 0.0258 of a shit, and that bit is dedicated to admiration of his ability to multi-task.

I tell my boss that there is no way in hell I’m going to go to the meetings we have scheduled at 8:00 tomorrow morning when I didn’t even have saline to store my contacts in for the night, so if he really expects me to be there, he’d better think long and hard about how many times I told him that I did not want to go on this trip.

After a pause, I add, “Would you like me to warn you before I say something insubordinate next time?”

He thanks me, but declines.
Minus 2 points.

For the record, I would like to point out that the score is now -7. That’s negative, people. Less than zero. Much like the weather in New York. This score either sums up the level of crappiness of my trip, or my ability to overreact about everything. So there’s something for the whole family right there.

Can it get worse? Will I ever see my underwear again? When am I going to start talking about getting drunk and partying hard, so I appear more interesting than I’m coming off right now, because DAMN, I’ve certainly lost the tang that made me such a sassy thang!, right?

Yeah, sorry. I don’t know about that last question, but the other answers will have to wait until next entry. This one has gone on for much too long. And I have to do actual Work work or they might threaten to send me on another trip to Insta-Hostility. And I really, really have to pee.

In the name of urination, I cliffhanger thee!

3:10 p.m. - 2005-03-15


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