Wednesday, March 04, 2009

All Times Local

6:00AM - Awaken and shower. Feel clean and happy, go back to bed.

7:30AM - Awaken again, think the (digital) clock says 8:30 (I don't know). Frantically begin to pack and finish laundry. Realize it's an hour earlier than I thought and sip coffee while printing boarding passes.

9:30AM - Dad arrives and greets Chienne. I give hugs and kisses, pick up my bags and depart for the airport.

10:10AM - Arrive at airport and park to maximize time on moving walkways. I love moving walkways very much.

10:12AM - On the moving walkway! Feeling super-fast and wishing moving walkways were used in more locations.

11:30AM - Board plane. Begin reading sexy novel.

1:30PM - Board second plane. Wriggle happily in seat when the door closes and nobody is occupying the middle of our row of three. Immediately take up more than my share of space with water bottle, book, sweater.

2:15PM - Nibble on pretzel crackers and chicken salad while eying the Milano cookies left in my snack box. I've never understood why people like them - perhaps I'm not very cultured or refined. Feel pleased that I haven't slopped snack on my scarf and finish my book.

5:40PM - Shift uncomfortably - far different than my happy wiggle several hours prior - and wish the freaking head wind would let us arrive already.

5:50PM - Meet my party at arrivals and head toward the rental car. Arrange myself in the back seat since people who outrank me were up front.

6:30PM - Ride toward first destination. Frown darkly when hearing the rooms may involve a shared bathroom. Wonder if the lack of culture that makes me refuse to share showers with strangers causes the absence of appreciation for Milano cookies. Unable to think of suitable experimental design, abandon idle musing.

6:50PM - Arriving at destination. Blink worriedly at old building with flashing lights, ride elevator with colleague, bracing ourselves against the wall in case we plummet several floors. Resolve to take stairs for remainder of stay. Check in room, sigh with relief when seeing my own shower, sniff and wonder what that smell is.

6:51PM - Open window and admire shutter/blind contraptions on windows. Hurt myself trying to close them and decide they're not that pretty.

6:52PM - Plug in laptop to download email and hurry down stairs, casting suspicious glance at elevator on the way.

7:05PM - Arrive at dinner a bit late and make small talk and nibble Italian food for 3 hours.

10:15PM - Enter colleague's hotel room while he drags an additional (old) chair to the single (old) desk. Smile when he asks what he should wear tomorrow - suit or just jacket - and giggle when he takes off his shoes and promises that's all that he'll remove.

10:30PM - Abandon work on slides to chat about life and work and pressures. Smile sadly when he says I'm doing a wonderful job and people are widely aware of my contributions. Indicate I still feel like I'm failing.

11:30PM - Call presentation good enough, stack notes made on tiny hotel notepad and climb more stairs to my room.

11:31PM - Slightly out of breath, call elevator a name when I walk by it.

12:10AM - Climb out of shower and snuggle in pajamas, curl in bed, say prayers, fall asleep.

5:30AM - Awaken and sigh. It's raining outside and I can hear gentle sounds come through the window. Thinking ahead of lack of sleep in coming days, wish devoutly that I could stay in bed.

5:31AM - Get up and brush teeth. Begin checking email.

6:00AM - Call in to group meeting. Get Hideous News and react with furious shock that 1) said decision was made and 2) my input was not requested and 3) I didn't receive any warning. Adam and I argue bitterly in front of the group and I finally indicate I have to go and hang up on him.

6:32AM - Blink back tears and take deep, shuddering breaths to try to calm myself.

7:25AM - Finished dressing and packing, hair and make-up in place, emails sent to colleagues to battle against Hideous Decision while I'm away, descend stairs.

8:00AM - Meetings begin.

12:10PM - Starving, I fall upon a very decent sandwich and apple and devour them as politely as possible. Decide, midway through a sugar cookie, that it is far superior to Milanos. Wonder about why I think about Milanos so often.

1:30PM - Impatiently wait for group to gather for afternoon meetings.

1:35PM - Indicate I hate being late and begin to glare warningly.

1:37PM - Tap toe of heel while keeping arms crossed.

1:39PM - Snap at local team for being unorganized and ill-prepared. Inform them that if they're going to be bad at their jobs, I'll simply go alone.

1:40PM - Go alone.

2:00PM - Arrive at destination, sighing at the gorgeous campus and lovely buildings. Begin meetings promptly on schedule.

2:22PM - Glare at local team when they finally arrive. Resolve to seek my revenge later.

6:00PM - Meetings end. Begrudgingly return hug from one of the three local people who I moderately like. Walk tiredly across campus to car.

6:30PM - Go with colleague to another facility. Find a spot to check email and work while he takes additional meetings.

8:30PM - Depart last facility and slump in my seat as the car heads toward another destination.

9:55PM - After a bit of driving and chatting, we find a dinner spot.

10:00PM - Order Vietnamese as the restaurant closes.

10:15PM - Nibble at egg rolls, shrimp, chicken and rice. Deem it delightfully tasty and ignore colleague's teasing about my use of a fork.

11:00PM - Wait impatiently as two others check in at my hotel before more. Want to scream at them that I'm exhausted and need to sleep! Stand quietly instead and wait my turn.

11:19PM - Arrive in hotel room, think I love hotel chains and am particularly fond of this Hampton Inn. Smile at the candy, Oreos and water they've left for me.

11:25PM - Admire their Purity line of products as I shampoo my hair. After clean, I put on pajamas and fall into bed.

1:00AM - Unable to sleep as my wind swirls through opportunities and problems, I grow panicked as I realize I have mere hours before I need to be awake and at the airport again.

4:00AM - Whimper pitifully as I crawl out of bed to brush my teeth. Pull back hair, throw on clothes, pack and take a last wistful look around the lovely room before tucking the receipt in my bag and heading to the lobby to turn in my key.

4:20AM - Sip coffee and try not to spill on myself as the shuttle bounces along the road toward the airport. Peek curiously into the breakfast bag I was given and remove the granola bar and apple. Finish small bottle of water to take Excedrin after coffee is gone. Begin to feel slightly better.

4:45AM - Greet recently-introduced collaborator as we walked through the security line together. Waved as he headed to his gate and I wandered toward mine.

7:30AM - Arrive at destination after boarding a quick flight on time. Buy coffee and argue with credit card company over fraudulent charges. Continue to sip iced coffee while admiring the weather outside the airport.

8:30AM - After waiting outside, basking in the sunshine, my ride arrives to fetch me. I greet the local sales rep and settle myself in her car.

9:30AM - Arriving at a coffee shop, I find a table and begin to check my notes. I ask her for an iced mocha and also request she get internet access codes. Feeling rather like a princess, I continue to work.

10:40AM - Depart coffee shop after going to the bathroom and checking my presentation again.

10:50AM - Nearly cuddle second local salesperson when he admits he hates being late. Get settled for meeting, find water, freshen make-up and wait patiently for our collaborators to arrive.

11:00AM - Meet additional impressive people, think briefly that I might get tenure if I go back to academia given the recognition I'm now receiving from top members of my field, and begin pitch.

2:00PM - Meeting concludes with list of items to discuss later.

2:25PM - Arrive downtown to see sights, courtesy of second salesperson, and get treated to a delightful lunch outside.

4:00PM - Am left at the airport with a wave, ever hopeful I can catch an earlier flight and get home.

4:10PM - Hopes dashed, I walk sadly toward the security checkpoint, a 7 hour wait until my original flight time ahead of me.

10:50PM - Tremble uncontrollably as flight begins to board. Realize I'm freezing and tug my sweater closer around me, teeth chattering. I wonder fearfully if exhaustion can make someone go into shock.

11:02PM - Sag gratefully when I realize the flight isn't nearly full and nobody will sit next to me. Begin to sleep before we leave the gate.

4:02AM - A short 3 hour flight (and time change) later, I feel better. Having slept fitfully, I still was able to rest and am no longer feeling quite as desperate. Realize it's the second day in a row that I've been at an airport at 4AM or so and decide I'm freaking amazing.

4:55AM - Arrive at last gate, having walked slowly through the airport without a single moving walkway to cheer me. Check operating hours of pretzel stand and decide I'll have one while I wait for my flight.

6:30AM - Finish book I'd begun as I waited for my flight the night before. Cry though it wasn't that sad, decide I'm past my limit of sleep deprivation and have little emotional control.

7:35AM - After boarding on time and a very short flight home, I disembark first and move quickly toward my car. Too tired to appreciate the moving walkways, I convince myself to endure a little longer.

8:10AM - Arriving at home, kisses and cuddles for Chienne, hugs and kisses to Dad before he leaves. I move upstairs, tugging off dress clothes I've worn for 26 hours or so and fall into bed to curl around pillows.


Amanda@Lady Scientist said...

Another data (datum?) point for your experiment: I love Milano cookies (there are days where I'd trade valuable data for just one), but dislike shared bathrooms (especially in hotels).

Hopefully, you go to sleep for a long time!

Anonymous said...

Contrarily to Amanda, I don't really like Milano cookies, but don't mind sharing a bathroom. (I wouldn't go as far as saying I love it; I'm not that far off my rocker yet.)

And dear, am I feeling exhausted for you. With my current bout of sickness, I don't think I would be able to manage that. I would probably have fallen asleep somewhere halfway through in a cold, foreign airport...

Lucy said...

I was so disappointed the first time I tried a Milano cookie after hearing people rave about them.

I hope you slept for a long time after all that travel!

Jenn, PhD said...

I'm not sure exactly what Milano cookies are, but I do love moving walkways, especially the rubbery bouncy ones :)
What an exhausting trip!

Anonymous said...

you ARE freaking amazing! :)

Psych Post Doc said...

ugh, that sounds like my nightmare.

I also don't like Milano cookies or sharing a bathroom. If I have to travel I want my own room.

Anonymous said...

oh my, what a trip.

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