Thursday, December 12, 2002

I'm Not Dead Yet!

I’m still alive. Quiet and exhausted, but alive. Yesterday was fairly typical of days on the road lately:

5am: alarm goes off. In a fog, I stumble out of bed. “Where am I?” Phone says Marriott Courtyard, Crystal City. “Right. DC.” “Why am I in DC?” “Why’s the alarm going off?” Shower clears the fog. I have a 7am flight to NYC. Get to New York, that’s when the fun starts. All meetings were with investment banks (not naming names – I’m superstitious that way). (We’re selling them software, not trying to line up financing, just in case you were curious.)

First meeting is at 1 NY Plaza – basically Battery Park. Wrap up, get in cab, and clear voicemail in the cab to midtown to find out our 2 o’clock had been moved up to “as soon as you can get here”. Thank God I had that soggy bagel with cheese and egg product at National Airport or else I’d be really hungry now… lunch would have seemed so extravagant anyway.

The two o’clock-now-one-something meeting turned out to be two meetings: one for 30 minutes with the co-managing directors at the investment banking group, the second for an hour with their overly aggressive “we know what we need to know and will needlessly kick tires and waste time for an hour” minions. After one particularly bizarre question that I tried to deflect with a polite “are you insane?” response, they replied “Oh. well, we’re not saying we’d want to do that… just wanted to know what you’d do if we did.” Huh?

Wrap up there only to head back downtown to One Financial Plaza – which our car service driver hadn’t heard of. (“You know, right next to ground zero? Maybe you’ve heard of it?”) Finally get there, to meet with the CTO at our third investment bank of the day. Spend most of the meeting trying to figure out if any of us in the room know what the other is talking about – think four dogs circling each other, sniffing each other trying to decide if they want to play or fight. ( I’m not kidding – a very odd way to spend an hour.)

That meeting runs long, so now I’m resigned to missing my 6pm flight to Boston. At least it’s pouring – because otherwise the 8 block walk to find a cab would be pleasant… We spend the next hour getting to Laguardia. I get there, get booked on the 7pm, get to the food court, and order my meal. As I’m walking to the table, juggling my luggage, my tray of food, and my cell phone, I promptly dumped drink and food all over the floor. (Fortunately not all of it hit the floor – some of it found its way onto my suitcase.)

Glancing at the line at the food counter, I figure that I now don’t have time to re-order and eat – my plane boards in 5 minutes. I get through security, get to the gate – and would you look at that! My flight’s delayed.

At least now I can eat… except that this terminal doesn’t have any friggin restaurants. I have to go back outside of security to eat. At least I had time – so I opted for the sit-down food where they bring the food to you. Seemed safer that way.

So there I was, two dinners (but no lunches) and two hours delayed, waiting for my plane to take off. The rain’s getting harder, I see I’m on an AA “Regional Jet”. Five minutes into the flight, I figure from now on they should have a “you must be this tall to ride the plane” sign next to the boarding gate, since it was much more like a roller coaster than a jet…  At one point it was so eerily quiet (“Did the engines just cut out?”) that I thought I could hear the rain hitting the side of the plane.

Got to my hotel around 11pm, just three hours late.

Yup – travel sure is glamorous!

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