Saturday, May 20, 2006

California Capsule

I just spent the past week in sunny Sacramento California, where the weather was hot and beautiful. Several things occurred to me as noteworthy while I was out there, but I was in an addled state and did not put them into writing. Let's see if I can remember them now, shall we?

Are you comfortable? Let's begin.

1. Newark Airport has the worst shuttle buses of any airport I've seen. Very small luggage racks, and people there seem determined to hang onto all their worldly possessions in front of the seats, leaving others no room to move. Goddamn it, put your bag on the rack and sit the hell down and stop clutching your luggage like your life savings are in there!

2. Finally ate an In and Out Burger. Yeah, they're good burgers, but the fries suck. Jersey diners still win in my book.

3. Traveling with work colleagues is always a special challenge. You're not exactly friends, but here you are having 2-3 meals a day with these people whom you only see on trips. They don't even work in the same office as you, so you don't know their coworkers nor do they yours. They also tend to be a higher rank professionally, so their conversational needs tend to take precedence. I find myself listening to the conversations of my companions more than participating. They all seem to be middle-aged and married anyway, so they talk about home ownership and retirement and their spouses. The one single project manager doesn't seem to want to admit that he knows that I know he's gay and that's okay by me, so we don't talk much about his life or mine.

I find these trips exhausting because I wind up disconnected from the things that make me most comfortable, having suppressed them as inappropriate in a business setting. It's like sitting at the kiddie table all over again.

4. In our company, when a team traveling together eats out, the highest-ranking sales person or project manager expenses all the meals. The three PM's I've traveled with so far all have very different styles: one likes to eat out at new and different places and avoids chains like the plague, one is fine with chain restaurants, and the one I traveled with this last time has a disordered relationship with food in general.

Here's what I mean: she doesn't eat. When she does eat, it's not very much and usually the cheapest or smallest item on the menu (she orders off the appetizer menu when the rest of us get entrees and salads). She complains a great deal about her weight (although she looks on the thin side of healthy to me, and not at all obese as she claims) and about how she shouldn't be having anything. She criticizes the food just about everywhere we go anyway, so any enjoyment you might be getting out of your meal is suspect and you may feel guilty for eating. It's maddening. I mean, I know that we're supposed to keep expenses down, but she acts as though she's personally paying for our meals and not getting reimbursed by the company. I don't think her approval of my eating habits is necessary. If I want to get the deep-fried steak with a side of steak and a slab of cheesecake bigger than my head (I exaggerate slightly for narrative purposes), that's my business. Cover the check, damn it.

5. I suffer from Business Trip Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Whenever I travel, I discover that all the clothes that fit pretty well before look hideous and misshapen on my bloated and enormous body that not yesterday back home was the same size it had always been. I am seized by a desire to throw away my entire wardrobe and buy new items that will fit and flatter my new enormous form at least until I am able to return home.

And upon arrival in Newark, my pants will once again fit. It's the damnedest thing.

DaVinci Crap

ABC News: World's Churches Seek Best Ways to Counter the 'Code'

Could someone please 'splain to me why the church leaders of the world are worked up over a not-very-well-written WORK OF FICTION?

It's actually quite comical.