I used to have a romanticized view of business travel. Dressing up all nice, jumping from here to there, shaking hands, getting things done. That is, until I got thrown under the business travel bus. The following is a blow-by-blow account of a recent daytripper I had. And I assure you, the Beatles’ idea of a daytrip would have been infinitely more enjoyable.

I wake up at 5am for an 8am flight. I hardly got any sleep that night due to anxiety over the meeting I was going to conduct. I thought I gave myself enough time to get to the airport, but I was dead wrong. I seriously thought I would miss my flight. And there are only two flights a day to my destination, so if I missed the first, I was SOL and would miss the meeting. I park in economy to save my company a few bucks. When the bus back to the terminal picks you up, it doesn’t go right back to the terminal. Hell no. They weave around the parking lot in a serpentine motion like those old mercury mazes we played with as kids that are now deemed hazardous. Those buses make sure every seat is taken and every inch of handrail has a person on it which has a hand on that person which also has a hand on that person.

I finally get to the airport security line to see it’s mobbed. I was so disheveled, distressed, disconsolate, dispirited, disparaged, and despondent, the guy who checked my license against my boarding pass asked me, “Dude, are you OK?” I miraculously make it to my gate right before they stop boarding. Just to cool my jets (no pun intended (who the hell am I kidding?)) I spent the first 30 minutes of a four and a half hour flight reading my newspaper. The other entire four hours was spent preparing for the meeting. Reading RFP’s, company bios, internal docs, you name it. Reading for procurement isn’t exactly like reading Hunter S. Thompson. This is dry, desiccated, dusty, depleted, devoid of all humor material.

So I land safely. Maybe Sully was flying my plane. I meet up with an associate and we take a 20 minute cab ride to our meeting which after tip cost about $90. The meeting went fairly well and was productive, with the exception of the fact a few times I mispronounced the name of the company I was presenting to. It reminds me of that old root beer commercial where the job applicant pronounces his would-be employer’s name “Dumbass”, rather than “Dumass” (think French, emphasis on the second syllable).

Meeting’s over, straight back to the airport in another $90 cab schlep. Again, the security lines are packed. It was like herding cattle. These were the people who took a half-day on Friday to make a weekend trip and have no clue about security procedures and hold up the line like a whinny old lady making a return at a department store. And the TSA and DHS doesn’t make it any easier. You have to remove your belt (among other things), as if my leather Banana Republic belt can be used as a weapon of mass destruction. The best I can do with it is strangle a rude security guard. So as I’m proceeding through the security line, my pants start creeping down on me. I inadvertently created a new class of traveler: the business skater punk. I wonder if I can get rewards for that.

So me and my associate finally have some room to breathe and we eat dinner. We’re bs-ing about the meeting and other random stuff when I ask how we’re doing on time. Turns out, my associate’s flight is 20 minutes from taking off, meaning boarding is just about done. So he jets (again, no pun intended (again, who am I kidding?)) before the check comes. That’s fine by me, but I’m not much better off because my flight takes off 20 minutes after his and we’re eating in a terminal that’s not where my flight is.

I take a tram to my terminal and as I’m walking there, impending doom hits. Keep in mind, I just ate nachos with three different salsas, a burger, fries, and I drank two beers. Nature’s calling. I figure if the plane isn’t boarding, I’ll go in the airport head and all will be well. No, didn’t work that way. As I got to the gate, they called to board the last section of the plane. Now I need to wait until we hit cruising altitude which takes a good 20 or 30 minutes. That’s not including time spent taxiing on the runway and waiting in line behind other planes.

We finally hit cruising altitude and Glen Quagmire announces over the speaker we’re leveled off and he’s turning off the “fasten seatbelt” light. Apparently everyone else on the plane had the same idea as me. Before Quagmire could finish his sentence, there was a mad dash to the bathrooms. Panda-freakin’-monium (good use of tmesis (look it up)). Now I have to wait in line behind a bunch of people, including kids who don’t know how to be considerate.

That emergency eventually had a happy ending, although it’s never fun answering the call in an airplane. I finally get back to my bleacher seat to do some leisure reading. I touch down around quarter to one, and get back to my apartment at 2am. I pop open a Weyerbacher (excellent PA brewery, you should try one) watch a little TV, and go to bed at 3am, 22 hours after I woke up. What does this have to do with sourcing you ask? Absolutely nothing. This is just a rant. But the morale of the story is: Damn, business travel sucks.

BTW, this blog post had more force to it and is way funnier unedited. But the higher-ups thought it was too much and as a result it got cut, chopped, edited, and showered-down. If you like crude and crass humor, you can email me for the non-pc version at pyurkon {at} sourceoneinc.com

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Jazzy Sourcer

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  1. I enjoyed that, but only because it reminded me about the part of flying I don't like: everything but being in the air! Loved your wit. Can I subscribe to your blog? What is your main point of emphasis?