Those exhausting social events

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The past two weeks were exhausting for me. Too much output, not enough recharge.

First I had a trip to DC to work on a project with a group of people who have never met each other before. The weather was in the upper 90’s with high humidity. Keeping in mind I live in Montana, it sucked.

I was the only person who was familiar with DC, so I became the appointed travel guide.

Awesome.

The week wasn’t actually too bad since the rain kept people somewhat close to the airport. Plus I used the “jet lag” excuse to get back early.

Saturday we went to a wedding so we didn’t get home until late, and then Monday morning I was back on a plane. This time heading to Dallas.

More heat.

A lot more energy.

This was with our region. Except for management, most of the people haven’t met each other in person, so this was a big deal.

So big that every single night after our meetings there were social events planned.

EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.

And being management, I was expected to be there.

Sometimes in life you just have to bite the bullet and do things that are not comfortable.

The first night we all got in was a get together at the hotel bar.

I’m not much of a drinker. Especially when it involves work. Not only was my boss there, but so were my employees. Just not an environment I like to put myself in.

Unfortunately within minutes I had three beers sitting in front of me.

Great.

The next night’s event was a Texas Rangers game. I am a big baseball fan, but I was not looking forward to being in a group in the 100 degree heat. When I go to a baseball game, I am there to watch the game.

I was the only one wanting to watch the game apparently.

The next night was dinner at a fancy steakhouse. Me traveling to another state for steak is like me traveling to another state to look at the mountains. Just doesn’t make much sense…but I sucked it up and had an overpriced steak which I could have cooked better on one of my grills.

Oh well. Only one night left.

This was the worst.

For one, I was on my last leg. I didn’t feel very well and was totally exhausted from not having been able to recharge at all.

The last night was bar food and karaoke.

Yeah, karaoke.

No, I didn’t participate.

Yes, I was asked…and asked…and asked.

Anyway, I am finally back home. I got some fishing in over the weekend which helped refresh myself a bit. I am taking two four day weekends off…so that should help too. My son had his first pitch baseball game last night and got his first hit of the season. That was awesome.

Aerosmith still hasn’t contacted me.

Odd.

Air Travel as an #Introvert

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I’m flying to Denver on Sunday afternoon for a week of meetings.

I’m not excited about it.

At the risk of sounding like a jerk, I’m going to tell you why…and my pet peeves about air travel.

Before I get too far into this, let me throw out this sort of disclaimer:

1. I tend to get impatient when traveling.

B. I completely understand that there are people who do not fly very often. My wife (The Hippy) is one of those people. She flew to Vegas last week and was clueless. Fortunately I was there to provide a detailed checklist on what she needed to do J

Third. I really am probably going to sound like a jerk.

With that said, if you read this and I am complaining about someone who sounds like you, I apologize. Like I said in my last blog, I have my quirks.

So first let me mention the awesome thing about flying. I am flying out on Delta. Most airlines now have the kiosks to get your boarding pass (unless you do the even better phone app). This is right up my alley because it allows me to avoid additional conversation. I type in my confirmation number (which I will have verified about 100 times on my way to the airport), pay for my luggage, change seats if I want, upgrade if I want, or take a later flight if I want to completely mess up my detailed schedule I have already planned. I am completely in control without having to talk.

Perfect!

Once that task has been completed, however, it goes downhill from there.

I travel by air probably 5-10 times per year. For some, that’s nothing. For others that may seem like a lot. I get it. I really do.

I know what to expect when I go through security. I’ve done it enough.

The airport here in Helena, Montana is a small regional airport. There is only one security line. It “usually” moves pretty quickly. When it’s slow it’s not because of TSA. More times than not it is because the traveler isn’t prepared.

When you pass by multiple signs and announcements letting you know that you can’t have liquids over a certain size, don’t wait until you are at the gray bins to decide what to leave behind.

When you pass by multiple signs and announcements letting you know that you that you will need to take off your shoes, don’t try to walk through the metal detector with your shoes on, only to have to hold everyone up as you move back to take them off.

When you pass by multiple signs and announcements letting you know that you need to take your laptop out, don’t have a conversation with the TSA asking if you need to take out your laptop. You watched everyone in front of you take theirs out. You are not unique in this requirement.

And for the love of God, please don’t put on 70 metal bracelets on both wrists then act like they want to give you a colonoscopy when the alarm goes off.

Seriously.

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I know that sometimes accidents happen. Believe me… I KNOW.

Shortly after 9/11 I had a multi-destination trip that I did. I flew to Dallas, and then over to DC, and then my final stop was Boston. By the time I was leaving Boston, I was not in any mood to deal with delays from people who were not prepared.

But it happened.

As I was waiting for my backpack to come out of the x-ray machine, TSA stopped the belt and asked who had a knife in their backpack.

I nearly had self-inflicted whiplash from shaking my head back and forth from the idiocy of someone trying to bring a knife through security. Especially in Boston right after 9/11.

No one admitted, so they pulled out the backpack.

It was my backpack.

Well, it was The Hippy’s backpack, but I was traveling with it as my carry-on.

Buried deep inside one of the internal pockets was a small pocketknife. How I got through three different airports with it is beyond me, but there I was, the idiot holding everyone up with a knife.

Ok, not really “holding anyone up” in the literal sense.

Like I said, I get it.

Anyway, back to my gripes.

Delta, like many airlines, has seating zones. In other words, the “elites” get to board way before the rest of us. I am not an “elite.” I did get to fly first class back from Germany in the 90’s when I was in the Army because the flight attendant thought I was someone famous.

Best flight ever.

But I am not a diamond level, or whatever level, traveler. At best I sometimes upgrade myself to the preferred comfort seats because at 5’7 it’s really important to me to have the extra four inches. Plus I get to board in Zone 1, right after the elites.

My point to this is that we all know, for the most part, what Zone we are to board. But it never fails that people in the Zones that board last create a wall of humanity blocking off everyone who is supposed to be boarding.

Makes no sense.

The instant I step on the plane, I am already counting the rows to see where I am sitting. More importantly, to see who I am sitting with. Not that it matters, since I don’t plan on talking. And if it’s an extremely attractive female, I’ll probably just sweat nervously anyway…lol.

Now to my next complaint…carry-on luggage.

Two things. First off, you are not going to get that antique trunk from 1889 to fit in the overhead bin. Don’t act like you thought it would fit. It barely fit in your car. Now that you suddenly came to the realization that it won’t fit, everyone behind you are forced to either climb into the overhead bin so you can exit the plane and check it, or to give free lap dances to the person already sitting down right where they were standing.

The other part to carry-on luggage deals when the person puts their bag ten rows back from where they are sitting. I understand if you are one of the last people on and everything is already full because the guy in the suit felt his suit jacket needed to be laid out in a bin, but when it’s a bag that will fit under the seat in front of you, put it there.

Because the chances are high you are going to want to get up and walk against the flow of departing traffic to get your bag when we land. You are not a salmon.

I know I’ve bitched enough. It’s Friday…it should be a “no bitch zone”. But I do have one more.

Getting your luggage.

My suitcase stands out. I do that so I know it’s mine, and so you don’t touch it.

There are not too many camo suitcases, but in case there is more than one on my flight, I also have a billion colored ribbons on the handle.

But it never fails there is someone who feels the need to grab it and look at the tag to make sure it isn’t theirs. One of these times I am going to stick around to see what their suitcase looks like to see why they would think the camo suitcase with a rainbow of ribbons on it made them verify it wasn’t theirs.

So there you have it. If you have made it this far, I really appreciate sticking with me through this rant. This is by far my biggest post so far.

I really do hope that some of my pet peeves are also yours. I don’t want to be the only jerk flying.