Working toward full retirement, I am hanging on to a part-time consulting job. I really don’t make enough income with this to justify working, but I tell myself it is something that is “mine”. Allows me to buy things like horse stuff! So a few times a month I get to travel to wherever the need arises for what I do. This keeps me “connected” to the work force and gives me some “down time” from my daily routine and obligations.
When my kids were little, my husband was traveling for his business at least once a week. I would often tell him I was jealous of that “alone” time…you know, where he got to stay in a hotel room and have a bathroom and TV all to himself. He would tell me I was nuts, that business travel was anything but relaxing and basically stunk. I didn’t believe him and was convinced he was just feeling guilty because I KNEW he had to enjoy the “down” time from early parenting.
Last week I had a “short notice” trip, that required me flying out at 6:30 on Monday evening, to return 48 hours later. Upon boarding, I got to my seat (I always pick isle seats for ease of escaping if necessary) and there was a women sitting in my seat. Her large coat was happily occupying the middle seat, and her husband was at the window. I politely tried to explain that I think she has my seat. She gives me the death stare. Luckily a flight attendant is behind me and tells her she needs to move, and I didn’t have to sit on her. Buckled in, she proceeds to fold her hands in her lap, with her elbows extending over the arm rests by several inches. She literally is digging her elbows in to my arm (and I am practically leaning into the isle) the entire trip. They also were speaking in French and I am sure discussing what an inconvenience I was to be sharing “their” row, but who knows. This trip to Myrtle Beach required a change of planes in Atlanta. If you’ve connected a flight in Atlanta I really don’t need to explain further but changing flights in Atlanta usually involves racing to several concourses away. Fun times.
The next flight was a quick 45 minutes and just before taking off an interesting looking couple joins me on my row. Nothing wrong with a few tattoos but I am always fascinated by the total arm tattooed up thing, so I tried not to notice…too much. Once my seatmates were buckled in, the gentlemen who is seated next to me plugs in his earphones and then proceeds to turn up his volume so loud that I can hear his entire lovely selection of rap music. Plus he was doing some major gyrations and in-seat dancing. Now I’m really having fun.
Having landed, after getting my baggage (yes I am one of those who pays to check their luggage and does not try to stuff everything I need in a carry-on bag that the flight attendant has to wrench out her back cramming in the already full overhead bin) and rental car, I arrive at my hotel after 11 pm. There is no desk clerk and the only people I see are two loud men in the lounge area watching a game. After waiting several long minutes, I decide to call the front desk from my cell phone. Timing it, the phone (right in front of me by the way) rings for over 15 minutes before I give up and hang up. I have just decided that I will need to leave and find another hotel, when the door behind the front desk opens and a very sleepy (or something more exciting) young man appears. He apologizes and checks me in. Great.
In the elevator heading up to my floor there is a sign saying the carpets will soon be replaced so please excuse the mess during that process. Upon entering my room I cannot believe the stains I am seeing all over the carpet. There has been either some major partying or illness in this room…or perhaps both. The whole room is somewhat shabby and in desperate need of renovation. This is a name brand hotel mind you, but I guess spring breaks and the summer have taken it’s toll. Too tired to leave, I inspect the bed for signs of bugs and all looks safe. I keep a pair of socks on until I can get off that carpet! The next morning I have to pack up early to find another hotel before my first meeting. I find one close to the second day’s work location. It is the same brand and a perfectly lovely room. Go figure.
The work goes smoothly and I fly out Wednesday at 6:30pm. Flights to Orlando are always full with families traveling to Disney World, and my seat is literally on the last row and not on the isle. Deplaning takes forever from that vantage point. I arrive in my bed by 12:30 am.
Short business trips are not so great. I hate when my husband is right. The good news? The hotel brand sent me an online survey….