Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Here I am, On the Road Again..... (Part 1)

I'm in sales. Industrial sales. Chances are, if you're reading this, the electricity operating your computer was supplied by a power plant with some of my parts in it. 80% of my sales are done right here in Georgia, but I have a few customers to whom I occasionally need to pay visits to. One in Colorado, one in Wisconsin, and one in Houston. Last week, it was Houston's turn.

Let me just start by saying that of all the cities to which I've ever traveled, Houston is my least favorite (and I once visited Buffalo New York in January!). It's hot, sticky, crowded, and worst of all, while claiming to be part of "The South," the state is completely devoid of sweet tea. For that reason alone, Houston sucks. There is nothing worse than going into a restaurant for lunch on a hot day and being told unsweetened tea is the only option.

So, it was with much reservation that I got up at 4:30AM last Thursday, shaved and showered, and left the house by 5:45AM so that I could drop my car off at the off-airport parking and be at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport by 7-ish for my 8:45 flight. Traffic was light. That's the last thing that went well until about 5PM that day. I flew through the security lines only to be subjected to the group scolding by the TSA worker, yelling at us like 5 year olds about how there should be nothing in our pockets, not even our boarding passes. I'm reasonably certain if I jumped the line, this particular woman would not have had the physical stamina to chase me for a distance of more than 2-3 floor tiles.

Apparently, my laptop has been infected with malware which my various protections aren't quite able to eradicate (which stopped being a priority when the boss decided I was due for a new laptop). One side-effect of this malware was that it disabled my internet browsers, so I was unable to get online and work (and by work, I mean "write about all the funny/gross/sexy people at the airport waiting for flights), so I couldn't even pass the time doing something productive. I could at least see emails on my Blackberry, but that wasn't so great as one of them was an announcement that an acquaintance of mine passed away (he was 67 and had massive organ failures).

My 8:45 flight was late, because the plane I would be flying on was late coming in from wherever that plane was coming in from, so it was pushed back to 9:15. I kind of wish Delta had decided to put in a different plane, because the one we were on turned out to be an MD-88. If you're not familiar with that model, imagine having about as much elbow room as a coffin. The legroom wasn't too bad, but I spent the entire 2 hour flight wedged in against the woman next to me (I had the window). The armrest was up, and she kind of spilled over the middle (I should have arranged a DMZ like my younger brother and I had when traveling by car as kids....anyone crosses the middle, they are fair game for getting punched). She wasn't fat...she was just big, like a basketball player. Pushing 6' tall with hips wider than mine. Not only that, there was little cushion left to the seat. It was hard enough that I had this metal bar pushing up against my coccyx the entire flight. That was a brief experience in how it feels to be pregnant, I think.

As this is obviously a long entry, I will break this up into at least one more part. Stay tuned tomorrow for:

* Bladder Control Issues
* Airsickness Bags
* Houston
* Smoking Laptops
* Unsweetened Iced Tea
* Expense Account Meals
* Customer Service
* Salesmanship