*written on a Southwest flight from NOLA to Dallas on at noon on Wed 5/6/15
I’ve always been bewildered by people who travel a lot for work but have this utterly loathsome need to be grouchy about it. Their seemingly forced complaints would especially amuse me. “Can you believe they asked me last minute to go to Dubai next week? Now I’ll have to miss being a bridesmaid in my cousin’s Disney wedding!” So outrageously unfair. Exotic world travel or participating in the Cinderella wedding? No brainer. But then, there’s me: never a bridesmaid, never a bride.
Here’s the funny thing: I have that kind of job. Well. Except for the “exotic world” part of travel (see my byline). As I write, I’m on my way to Birmingham, Alabama, y’all! Note: I am not being ironic. I’m pretty fucking thrilled if you must know, but I’ll get to exactly why in a moment. I may not get trips to Dubai or Paris (hey, I can do that on actual vacation time, thanks to accumulating those blessed credit card miles and this perk alone should make you mistrust anyone who tells you that traveling for work is such a bummer) but I do get all the benefits of traveling a lot for work: exploring places where I don’t live (cities in the Southern US and Eastern Canada), staying in hotel rooms, eating out in the city’s hottest restaurants (because, Yelp) and getting to find all those awesome things that make a city, any city, something pretty great.
Don’t get me wrong. I do complain during the course of my travels. Hell, I may be an Olympic gold medalist in the sport of complaining. But never the faux outrage of simply having to travel.
I have quite the manifesto going through my head at times, mainly directed towards the people who surround me on planes and in airports. Unsuspecting sorts, those who seldom travel and are typically on their way to vacation so they assume everyone else is too. They just don’t get airport etiquette. And on my better days, of course I can understand and accept this. On other days, not so much. After, say, three straight weeks in and out of airports, I’m often full of stone, cold rage. My patience is wearing thin as yet another person carelessly drags their luggage over my feet on their quest to make it over to Chick Fil A. And if I have to endure one more thoughtless fool who doesn’t understand one needs to remove that huge shoulder bag as they walk down the narrow aisle of a plane or else be knocking heads (I’m an aisle girl) or someone else who, in their haste to get ahead of everyone else, drops a too large “carry-on” onto my arm. But I get over it. I love traveling. I have a dream job. Life is good.
There are times I savor being home. I like, no, I love where I live (and if you don’t love where I live, we probably have nothing in common). There’s always something pretty amazing going on whether that be Mardi Gras (which I missed in 2014 due to work travel), a festival (though I’m not really the festival-going kind), a friend’s ultra cool art opening, my writing group’s monthly meeting or even a simple wine night at a friend’s house. And then I sometimes just yearn for moments spent on the couch binge-watching a series with my guy and my cats. Rest assured, I so do not complain about missing out on this stuff, though!
So. I have something I’m going to come clean about: I can barely contain my joy being on this plane right now because I am finally able to get out of my house.
My house isn’t a hellhole or anything, it just needs a lot of work and I know I’m not the only person who dreads having contractors invade my space. I’m currently having my bathroom remodeled (read: turned into something other than a glorified outhouse). This project started about three weeks ago, not accidentally coinciding with work trips to Fort Lauderdale & NYC. Danny, my boyfriend, is working alongside the contractors and purposely wanted to get the bulk of the dirty work completed in the 10 days I was away (really, it was extremely dirty work and I’m a tad fragile when it comes to grossness). I felt guilty as he sent me photos of the completely gutted room (down to a gaping hole in the rotted wood floor) while I enjoyed views of a South Florida beach or the Manhattan skyline. But then I returned and endured 10 days of horrors (I’m weak).
But now? Now I’m barely containing my joy as I start my descent into Dallas for my 2.5 hour layover to Birmingham, where I’ll be able to check into a comfy hotel with heavenly beds. And even if the bathroom still isn’t completed when I return to New Orleans, I will have missed almost three full days of having to ask the strange men in my house if they wouldn’t mind leaving the bathroom so I can pee. And again, I thank the gods: I have a job that I love that affords me regular travel and the ability to avoid stuff.
I’ve found that layovers are often what make me batty (or at least prone to poor eating habits). These days, out of ten cities in my region, only one of them allows for a direct flight (Nashville, sweet Nashville), one is a 90 minute drive (Baton Rouge) and one is my home city. Most of the cities in my territory require bizarre layovers (flying to Dallas to get to Birmingham?!) sometimes two of them. Many of them involve killing at the very least one and often more than two hours in an airport and let’s be real; not all airports are created equal. There’s work, there’s always work, but what to do during a much-needed break in order to de-stress and get inspired? Until airports have gyms or even regular yoga classes, I am left to my own devices. Speaking of, I can read one of the many books waiting for me on my Nook but then there’s this writing habit I’ve been neglecting and what if I took any idle time to share my musings, my rants, my unique experiences with people who seem to kind of like reading the other stuff I have out there on the interwebz?
Hence, this blog. Sometimes I’ll write from an airport. Sometimes I’ll write from the plane. Sometimes I’ll write from my hotel room late at night when I’m feeling kinda lonely and my best friend is the mini bar (or, worst enemy. See: mini can of Pringles). Sometimes I’ll give myself a time constraint (who knows what I’m capable of in an hour, right? Right!) and sometimes I’ll just allow myself to get it all out on the page (don’t worry. I edit like a motherfucker).
And you’ll always know where I’m coming from or heading towards. Well, sort of. Here’s to having my head in the clouds!