Monday, December 15, 2008

Road Trip

“Blog post! Blog post!” I chirped – happily but quietly – to myself once ordered inside the car by the two men filling the flat tire. I had emerged under the guise of contributing, lasting for approximately 3 seconds in the -20° wind chill before I shivered – delicately but obviously – so they would offer me the protection of our broken chariot.

I watched, tugging my coat closer to me, and made my ‘Icky! Icky!’ face as I watched a drop of clear liquid drip from the tip of One’s nose. That happens, I decided, when it’s very, very, very cold. But still. Ew.

“Katie?” Other said, opening the door and earning a frown with the inquisitive look I offered. “Do you have quarters?”

“Of course,” I replied, reaching into my bag for my wallet and withdrawing three coins before placing them in his gloved hand.

We’d been driving for about two hours, meeting before dawn. “It’s just cold,” I guessed when he asked why the tire indicator light was on in the rental car. “It’s also flat,” I concluded later as someone waved us down and informed us our rear tire had little life left. We filled it up. We drove slowly to the next town and traded our broken car for a more functional one.

After moving suit jackets, laptop bags, gadgets and assorted winter paraphernalia to the giant pickup – it was all they had left – we set off to drive another 3 hours to our destination.

“Nice to see you again,” I said multiple times. I made my pitch, answered some questions and smiled at the people in the audience once more before heading off to new meetings. I took notes and offered ideas and grinned widely at one doctor I enjoy tremendously. I beamed when he winked at me and waved when he was called away. Trotting back to join One and Other, we took two more meetings before braving the cold once again.

When it dips below 0, the contrast between the cozy warmth inside and bitter cold out can make me breathless. “Goodness,” I murmured as I braced myself.

“Awesome!” Other said loudly before offering me his gloves. I shook my head, but offered my thanks as my heels clicked across the pavement, quickly carrying me toward the safety of the truck.

I sat in the backseat, leaning forward to ask questions and share thoughts. I quivered with eagerness over some ideas and bit my lip with worry over others.

“I talked to a friend last week,” I told them before they dropped me off. “And as stressed as I get – which is weird because I’ve done things much more technically difficult than this – she said I sounded really happy. I think this is important. I very much want to be good at it. So I am happy.”

“Good,” Other smiled as he nodded.

“Very good,” One agreed before bidding me good night. They watched as I got in my car, started it and waved. I stifled a yawn and headed toward home. Once here, I greeted a happy dog and hungry cat, took a shower and snuggled into pajamas. My suit is crumpled on the bathroom floor, my laptop bag still in the car as it waits for my 8AM meeting tomorrow morning. As for me, I’m off to bed – I’ve grown sleepy.

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