Tuesday, June 10, 2014

business class

I recently went on my first business trip. I was really excited for the opportunity to go, and I hope it wasn't my last, but I have to say, it was a bit bizarre. It's like going on vacation with a total stranger. A vacation where you work 14+ hour days, but still. You travel together, you work side-by-side all day and night, you have to decide on background music and what to eat and where. Maybe most people are better acquainted with their business travel companions, but while Joe Partner and I attend weekly meetings and make friendly small talk in the elevator, I hardly know the guy.

It made me realize a couple of things. For example, I am beginning to understand that most lawyers have a touch of the aspergers. The rest are just ass-burgers. (Guilty on one or both counts.)

I also realized how much I depend on my best old travel buddy, Mr. Daddy Mack. He's my metaphorical memory-foam body pillow - he protects and supports me and knows what I need and which way I'm going to turn. I take for granted the ease and comfort of him, which became clear after having to do all of these mundane and terrible things with an almost total stranger. 

First, there's the flight. I'm terrified of flying. Any speck of turbulence or a maintenance issue or a flickering light or a funny smell sends me into an emotional tailspin. I always pause mid-panic attack to wonder at the zen-cow calm of the flight attendants in the face of utter doom. How are they not all running down the aisles, hands thrown in the air in horror screaming, "We're all gonna diiiiieeee!!!" Thankfully, the fancy partners sit in first class while the lowly beer bitch attorneys sit in the way-way back, thus saving myself the certain humiliation of mangling his arm with my sweaty, bone-crunching grip.

Okay. So. In light of my fear of flying, I may or may not have taken an Ativan prior to takeoff. And, toward the end of the flight as we were hurtling erratically through the air at 500 mph, 30,000 feet above earth and the captain said, "Hmmm, we can't seem to shake this turbulence. We're going to try to get past it but in the meantime, buckle up and hold on tight," I may or may not have popped another.

Our flight was at o'dark hundred, and by the way it takes for-f*cking-ever to fly across the country. I didn't eat anything before, during, or after the flight, but we made it in one piece so I was in generally good spirits. After a harrowing cab ride to the hotel, we got straight to work. I'd been awake for like 12 hours and had nothing in my system but diet coke and benzos. But again, this being a virtual stranger, I didn't really feel comfortable sharing the full extent of my honest and hangry feelings with him.

Joe Partner: You hungry or can we keep working?
What I said: A little hungry but I'm okay for now.
What I would have said to DM: Find me some goddamn carbohydrates, STAT, before I bite someone.

Finally, finally, it's time for dinner. My body is basically vibrating with hunger and residual anxiety. Then comes one of my favorite questions of all time:

Joe Partner: "You're not a vegetarian, are you?"
What I said: "Yeah, but it's cool, I can pretty much find something to eat anywhere."
What I wanted to say: "Well, I don't eat meat, and yes chicken and fish and other creatures from the sea constitute "meat," but I also don't really like vegetables, unless they are fried or covered in some sort of dairy product. And if you try to feed me eggplant I will f*cking cut you."

What I really wanted was a slice of pizza and some garlic knots from the place around the corner, but apparently our generous per diem dictates that we dine at hip places where the staff tends toward suspenders and mustaches. We end up at some trendy Mexican-ish food place that was actually pretty cute and not too terribly expensive, at least, for New York. I'm thinking, Okay, I can work with this. Unfortunately, in my eagerness to settle my nerves as well as consume any kind of calorie I could put in my face hole, I attacked my margarita with unnecessary gusto. And then another. Two Ativans, two margaritas, zero food, and I start talking like I'm being interviewed by Oprah f*cking Winfrey:

I love margaritas. They make me happy. My mom loves margaritas. Or she did. Before she and my stepdad died. In a terrible, fiery plane crash off a cliff into the ocean. Man, that reminds me of all the poor orphans in the world. Don't you just wish you could save all the children? Of course, I'm not sure how feasible that would be, given the hardships of being a working mother. Have you ever reflected upon the dichotomy between working moms and working dads, particularly in the legal field? Goddammit already, is this guacamole sprinkled with angel dust and unicorn tears, or what? It is dee-licious. Ooh! Basketball! I love the Kings. Or I did. Before they sucked. I'm a total fair-weather.... And so on and so forth, ad nauseum.

Joe Partner: CHECK, PLEASE.

Thankfully, I managed to extricate myself from the situation before causing irreparable harm to the working relationship, and quite possibly, my career. Either that or Joe is extremely gracious. Probably the latter. In any event, he didn't mention it, unlike DM, who called me out within the first 3 seconds of our phone call. "Whoa, drunky. Ease up on the goof juice, sister!" So embarrassing. Lesson learned.

Alright. Then there is pedestrian transportation. I seriously do not understand how all of those fancy New York ladies do it, traipsing around in stilettos all day and night. Seriously. I got my heel stuck in a grate, sober, less than three feet outside my building. I also almost got murdered by those revolving doors on multiple occasions. I'm pretty sure the door men thought I was all kinds of handicapped. Not so smooth. And while I would, given proper footwear, attire, and weather conditions, love to peruse the city of New York on foot, DM would know better than to ask me to walk any sort of distance in heels. No so with Joe:

Joe Partner: You cool to walk to the depo?
What I said: Sure!
What I should have said: Walking a mile in New York in 85 humid degrees wearing a wool suit and lugging a litigation bag filled with 1000 pages of documents and a laptop and enough post-its and highlighters to start my own Office Max? Alright, I'm game, as long as you don't mind my looking and smelling like a wet dog, with the unique and pervasive scent of swamp-ass permeating the general vicinity for the rest of the day.
Last but not least, the glorious Pandora's box that is my gastrointestinal system.

Joe Partner: Street falafel at 1:00am?
What I said: Absolutely! And make it spicy!
What I would have said to DM: Of course! As long as you are taking full responsibility for the fact that I will likely be peeing out of my behind in approximately 17 minutes. There is also a high likelihood that you will have to fish me out after I faint head-first into a port-a-potty. (You all know about me and falafel, right? Well, I'm happy to report, I actually ate falafel for dinner last night... I sort of consider it method acting, really trying to get into my role, you know? And I'm still here to tell the tale!)

All of this made me realize that I am probably much more pleasant to be around when I'm with a virtual stranger than I am with those I love the most in the world. Funny how that is. Definitely need to work on that!

Anyway, I'm chalking it up as a learning experience! And New York in June was not a bad place for my first course ;)

Plus, you can't beat this:

"When you're there, I sleep lengthwise
And when you're gone
I sleep diagonal in my bed"
BUT. Jackson Jay drew this picture for me:

My hair is sort of awesome. Also my dress.
This is pretty cool in and of itself, because he is almost four and has never drawn anything that even remotely resembles a person or thing before. But then, apparently, he carried it around all day, hugged it when he cried for me, SLEPT WITH IT, and woke up hysterical in the middle of the night because he had rolled over on it and CRUMPLED HIS MAMAAAAAAA.

OH. EM. GEE. Did you hear that? That was the sound of my heart bursting into teensy tiny little shards and shattering all over the ground. WAAAAAA. SO. Freakin. Sad. Ugh.

It turned out all right though. I think I'm on probation, but they "still loves me," for now ;)

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