The alarm sounded, and I’m pretty sure I was still drunk. This was bad. I was in for an epically bad day.
Somehow, I showered and got dressed. I all but crawled downstairs to the classroom. AG was on the scene and we just kinda looked at each other and laughed. We exchanged a lot of “Did that seriously happen” and more laughs. I tried to nurse some water and wanted to go back to bed or die. Either would have been better. JN appeared, also looking like shit, and we gave him “The Nod”. He refused to say anything about what happened after we all left the room. He’s a smooth customer.
Before we started, one of the trainers came up to me and asked how her “Favorite overachiever” was doing. I guess my kickass presentation from the day before had wowed her. I told her that she really didn’t know me all that well because I was no overachiever.
Class started and something was said. I think it was about the type of work that I do. After the session, we split into teams for a quick exercise and presentation. Of course, because we were working in my “area of expertise”, I had to lead the team. I crawled into another room and tried my best to lead a meeting. AG and the infamous JP were in the room along with 2 of our older coworkers. The 3 of us were mostly dead. AG and I were the only ones who seemed to have a vague grasp on what was going on. I get the feeling that had I been alive we would have had a great presentation. We threw together some notes and went back to the main room.
AG looked at me and asked “Do you want to present”
Me: Dude…I can’t even stand up right now.
AG did a good job on the presentation and I chimed in with additional comments from under the table. I had crawled up into a ball and was shaking.
We had another session I think. By now, I was burping and farting a lot and had the shakes. It was not a good morning.
Lunchtime mercilessly came and I made my way to my room. I took off my pants, nearly crapped myself, and took a nap for 40 minutes. I woke up feeling a little better. I went back downstairs, ate something and went back to class. I was able to participate this time and annoy the presenters with my thoughtfully crafted question. M also annoyed the presenters, but mostly by asking things like “WHY DO TREES HAVE LEAVES?” (All CAPS because he yells a lot).
Then, 3:00 came. It was Partay time!
Mind you, it was about 38 degrees outside and apparently pouring. A major storm was in the area. So, what do you do with a meeting room full of people? You take them on a small, poorly ventilated bus and drive them to downtown Boston and abandon them! That’s what you do.
The bus ride was torture. We got to the city and were dropped near Quincy Market. I needed some air and to stretch my legs. M insisted on following me around. I did all I could to ditch him, but he was relentless. He kept asking questions like “WHY DOES THERE HAVE TO BE SO MUCH RED SOX STUFF?” and “ARE YOU BUYING ANY SOUVENIRS?” and “WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE KIND OF PICKLE?” I was cold and wet and doing all I could to not shit in my pants.
I bought Shmuppie a little wooden lobster and made my way back to the drop point. We had a 90 minute trolley ride to take before dinner. This was epically bad. I guess Boston is nice, but I was trying not to crap. I’d let out a wee little pffft of a fart and hope no one died from the smell.
Trolley ride done, it was dinner time. We went to the Chart House. I was able to eat a little but the food sucked cock.
Then, it was awards time. I’m ashamed to say that I won an award and was again called an overachiever. See, we had to read all this shit and take a test before we got there. I convinced M to take the test. He failed, but sent me his answers and marked which ones he got right. Using the magical “find” feature in Acrobat, I found all the answers and aced the test. I was the only one to do so. Which means H is a dipshit because I sent him my answers and he somehow failed to ace the test. In fact, they’re all dipshits for not acing the test. The questions were pulled straight out of the reading. All you had to do was print the test and use the find feature to fill in the answers. So, I now have a $100 certificate to buy dinner in Rochester NY.
We went back to the college and my night got a lot better. And by better, I mean really bad.
I went to my room and logged into the American Airlines website to get my boarding pass. It didn’t work. I tried again. Nothing. It kept saying my flight wasn’t scheduled within 24 hours and I had to wait. I checked my papers.
I wasn’t scheduled to go home until Friday the 20th. FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!
I was in a panic. I needed to get home and knew the weather was destroying the airport.
I called American. They had nothing. I called the travel company who booked the meeting: closed. I called RedCompany travel: swamped with people trying to get flights that had been cancelled. There was no option to hit “7″ for “If you’re a fuck and booked your flight wrong”.
I went to Expedia and found a flight on US Air that would take me through Philly and get me to Raleigh at midnight. It was amazingly only $125. A quick check of the US Air website showed me the same flight for $500. I broke every travel rule at RedCompany and booked through Expedia. I had a flight, but the odds of me arriving home in one piece did not look good.
I still felt sick. This was to be a better day than Monday.
We had a little bit of classroom stuff in the morning. Then, we were to go back on the bus to Boston and the On Demand/AIM Tradeshow. The bus, again, was horrible. Not as bad though. I’d been able to eat breakfast and hold down some water, so I felt a little better. We arrived at the show and had 4 hours to walk around. M, naturally kept yelling at me about things like “HAVE YOU SEEN DIALOGUE YET?” “WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SEE?” “I SAW XM PIE”.
This is how the XM Pie discussion went:
I SAW XM PIE
Oh…what’s it do?
I SAW XM PIE
I know…what’s it do? I’ve heard of it.
I SAW XM PIE
At one point, H called me on my cell because he was looking for me. The call went this way:
H: Hey dickhead, where are you?
Me: I can see you.
Where are you?
Dude I can play this game for the rest of my life (I was ducked behind a pillar). Go to your left…no right…look up…no down…
This is more fun than anything else we’ve done all week
(He was about 12 feet from me so it made hiding all the more funner)
I wandered about, spent time at the RedCompany booth because I figured I should learn what my company does other than the obvious thing that you all know us for doing. I met some people who I’ve known only on the phone for a while, saw XM Pie and was blown away by it.
(Imagine being able to combine the design elements of Adobe InDesign with a powerful Variable Data Publishing engine. I mean…fuck…variable data elements being displayed as graphical elements with things like drop shadowing and texturing, not just as text. It’s stiffy time for me)
Anyway…back on the bus and back to Babson. We wrapped up and drove to Logan. I checked in and got to the gate at 5:00 for my 7:30 flight. It was still marked on time, so I had hope. I had a 1:42 connection in PHL. My only fear was that I really only had 1 hour of that time. US Air won’t let you connect if you’re inside a 40-45 minute window. I only had so much delay built into my schedule.
At about 6:30, they moved the flight back to 8:00. It was getting tight, but I’d be OK. At 7:45, they moved us to 8:20. I was nervous. I needed the following to happen: a timely boarding, a quick departure (no sitting in line at Logan), a quick flight, a cooperative group of passengers and a cooperative PHL. I needed a miracle.
We started boarding and it was chaos. People, as usual, had no clue. The gate agent’s scanner wasn’t working so he had to key everyone in manually. We finally got on the plane and took off within 15 minutes. It was 8:30 and we were airborne and headed south. I’d gotten through checkpoints 1 and 2 and looked almost OK. I slept for most of the quick flight and woke up on approach.
Now, don’t ask me now we landed north to south after having made 2 left turns. That would have implied that we flew northward to get from Boston to Philly. In any event, about 2 minutes before we landed, a woman was up in the aisle. The waitress ran to her and yelled at her to sit down.
For some odd reason, I had an empty seat next to me. I was in an exit row on the window. The aisle was taken and the middle was empty. So, this strange lady kinda flopped into the middle seat. She looked nearly dead, was clutching a fistful of napkins and a plastic bag. Aisle guy and I had a full conversation with our eyes.
Me: She’s got a bag and napkins
Him: I fucking know
Me: She pukes and I’m killing her
We landed. It was 9:50. I quickly called US Air and heard that my RDU flight was delayed until 10:55. I had some time. Not much though. We got near the gate and stopped. “Hello and Welcome to PHL. Your gate is NOT ready” FUUUUUUUUUUUCK.
Now, before we landed, the waitress had asked all passengers who did not have connections to please remain seated so those who did (me) could exit quickly. We hit the gate and I sprang up. Barf lady was dead and Aisle guy let me out. A kindly man got my bag out of the overhead (it was a row behind me) and I got into the aisle. Ahead of me were a youngish woman (20 or so) and a middle-aged woman. First class emptied. Then, the 12 rows ahead of us all stood up and started unloading.
Young Girl: Oh no. I have 10 minutes
Me: (loud enough for only us to hear) Come on folks…let us off
Woman: I’m never going to make it
Me (to them): Want me to yell? I have a loud voice.
Them: (Looked horrified)
Me (To the entire plane) (In my stern voice): We have connections. If you don’t, can you please sit down and let us pass.
Me: For the love of all humanity, can you all let us pass? We have tight connections.
Entire plane: Laughter.
And, like that, they all sat down.
The 3 of us bolted off the plane. It was 10:00. I was still OK, but the young chick was nervous. We were at gate B4. We had to get to the top of the terminal, cross to Terminal C, get to gate 16, get on a bus and ride to terminal F. As we took off, the lady lagged behind. I felt bad for a nanosecond. I dialed US Air again and checked the chick’s flight. She was also delayed, so we had a little time. I told her and we slowed our pace a bit.
So far, things had broken for me. I was able to put away all my hotel cards. I had been fully prepared to call Marriott, Hyatt and Hilton to try to find a room for the night. But, it looked like I was going home after all. I got to my gate, and waited a bit for the flight. H had gotten back to EWR, having “stood by” for an earlier flight. M Was in a later flight out into EWR.
Now, this is where the story turns on us.
What’s the one thing about this blog and me? Yes, I’m a dick. That’s it.
We board our tiny plane and take off. The guy next to me strikes up a conversation about Raleigh. He’s headed down for training. He mentions that he needs to get to the Hilton but the shuttle bus stops at 10. Folks, I volunteered to give him a ride. I mean, I pass the Hilton on the way home, so it wasn’t a big deal. But, I went out of my way to help someone. And, I had just helped the chick track her flight and guide her to Terminal F.
We got to RDU and I drove Matt the generator salesman to the Hilton. My rationale was thus: I’d gotten lucky when I booked the ticket and even luckier when everything broke for me. I was home. Sure, it was late, but I was home. I felt I owed the Travel Gods a sacrifice. It was the only decent thing to do. I got home at 1:05 AM.
So, here I am. I’m home and I’m still fucking exhausted. I head to NJ on Monday for a week of fun. I’m there the following week also. Good times for me.