Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Travel Log

Frantically pawing through my belongings after they'd begun boarding the first leg of my flight, I realized that - for the first time - I'd lost my boarding pass. I looked around, unreasonably desperate, and hurried toward the gate and, deeply regretful, asked for a new one. A quick glance at my ID and I had a small printed ticket in my trembling hand as I hurried toward my seat.
The lesson? It's not going to go particularly well. Evidence? My laptop crashed to the floor while I was trying balance it and have a sandwich during my layover. I tripped and banged my shin on the steps of the bus as I tried to get to the rental car. My GPS couldn't find satellite signal until I was well away from the airport, leaving screeching after her inquiry as to whether she should continue searching for signal.
"Yes!" I told her, my voice quivering. "I don't know how to get there! I didn't print directions! So if you can't find signal, then I can't find my hotel!"
"Go zero point two miles," she replied after a very tense moment. "Then turn left."
Conculsion? It may suck, but it can be saved.
Meetings, meetings and more meetings. At least I didn't fall down or break any electronic devices.
"We have to go," the scientist of the pair said and we - suit jackets fluttering in the breeze - hurried across campus and toward a nearby center to observe an important procedure. I stood quietly, notebook remaining in my bag, while I watched.
I turned when one of the group said he didn't know what was wrong with her. While my colleagues asked technical questions, my voice was soft when I asked how he would help her. He looked at me for a moment without speaking and I realized we must do better. This isn't a game of sales and marketing - it matters far beyond what money we make.
"I'll be fine," I assured our sales force, waving them away.
"Travel safely!" I called while I waved at my colleague on his way to a cab when I headed up to my room for one last night.
I looked through my visit notes and realized we did accomplish a lot. Engaged several groups, understood several topics to a greater degree, made positive impressions. I returned to email informing me that we got a deal I helped to pitch. I received another note thanking me for waking at 6 this morning to take a conference call with a site in Europe.
"It always happens," the man said, grinning at me and pushing the button for the floor below mine after I'd held the door for him. I cocked my head at him, tipsy and a little confused and shook my head when he said that when you went out of your way to help, people tended to get in your way.
"You're fine," I assured him. "No problems." Because even when it starts sucky, sometimes it can be saved.


hypoglycemiagirl said...

Ouch, I hate those travel days when everything seems to go wrong. Usually happens when I'm stressed out about something else.

Jenn, PhD said...

Sounds like an overall productive trip, just with a few bumps along the way... hope the rest of the journey is safe and you're back home with Chienne soon

Anonymous said...

glad it could be saved :o)

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