Monday, October 25, 2010

Death Ride

I was on the road for work for the first time in over two years. If you want a sign the economy is starting to turn around, look no further. Over time, flights, meals, all paid for by a company that has been running lean since late 2008.

And, since I didn’t have time to post anything, let’s do some catching up. I’ll get to the NFL tomorrow.

- I found out at the last minute (Monday) that I was needed in DC on Wednesday. I book the hotel no problem and go to check flights. Round trip from Logan to Reagan on American or Delta is $999 before tax. A grand to fly 90 minutes!

Even if I’m not paying for it, I will not pay over a thousand dollars for such things out of principle. The principle of me being a cheap ass the main one. I check flights going to Dulles instead and find a JetBlue round trip for less than $350. Done and done.

Even better, when I check in on the JetBlue flight they give you the option of selecting an ‘Even More Legroom’ seat for an extra fifteen bucks. Seems that selective section is a different way of JetBlue describing First Class. My seat was enormous, I got to board first (even before the elderly and children), and there was enough space for my long legs that the smoking hot flight attendant could have knelt down in front of me and…

…uh…let’s just move on.

- Speaking of JetBlue hotties, while waiting to board in Boston I noticed a strong resemblance between their employees. A majority were female, in their mid to late 20s, brunette and very good looking. I’m not complaining, mind you, just thought it interesting (and lovely) they all looked similar.

This, of course, set off a chain of thoughts in my strangely wired brain that led me to wonder if people are less likely to complain to beautiful women than other people. Someone run a study!

- I highly recommend JetBlue, by the way.

- If you haven’t traveled the highways around the DC area you really haven’t seen our stimulus dollars at work. There is friggin’ construction EVERYWHERE. Routes 495, 95, 86, 666, etc (I may have made some of those numbers up). No matter where you’re driving, there will be construction causing problems. Now, granted, I don’t know if all of this is stimulus related, but there are certainly enough jobs down there to go around twice.

- Hold on while I take a break for lunch. Be back in an hour.

- Alright. Fed and happy and – frankly – a touch sleepy. Could use a nap, but I will power on.

- My coworker drove me around in her tiny Toyota Matrix the few days I was down there and I have never been with such a terrible driver in all my life. I was terrified for my life much of the time. She was constantly distracted, often attempting to read emails on her Blackberry (before I took it from her and refused to give it back) or rummaging around in her enormous purse for sunglasses or driving up on another driver at 80 miles an hour before slamming the brakes on at the last minute.

In short she is a hazard to everyone around her. She was driving me to Dulles Airport on Friday when she suddenly and inexplicably slammed the brakes; throwing her arm across my chest in some bizarre attempt to save my life. We went from 70 to 50 in twenty feet. When I asked ‘What the fuck was that?’ she answered…

You know what, let’s see if you can guess why she did this. Keep in mind we were on the highway with many other drivers around us.

Was her answer:

A: ‘I saw the brake lights of the other cars coming on’
B: ‘The sun got in my eyes’
C: ‘I thought that construction truck was coming into our lane’
D: ‘I just noticed that flashing arrow’
E: ‘I thought a squirrel was running across the road’

Congratulations if you chose D. You know those construction arrows that warn drivers that a lane shift is coming up or ‘Hey, there is an enormous concrete barrier right here so go around it’? It was one of those. Only we had been passing them on a regular basis for miles. And it wasn’t like we were in the passing lane. We were in the middle lane with the flashing arrows way to the left.

If you’re wondering why she was suddenly alarmed by one of these after passing 20 others, well….sorry…I have no answer. I can say I was very happy to be out of that car.

-  I was also lucky enough to be in her car when she received a personal call from one of her neighbors.  The call was about how their condo association was having a meeting and one of the items to be discussed was dog owners picking up after their own dogs.  You would have thought someone broke into their homes.  'Fucks' and 'Bullshits' were flying back and forth (this was on speaker phone so I could hear both sides) while they debated who had betrayed them.  That's right.  'Betrayed' was the word they used. 

This went on for forty five fucking minutes.  With me gritting my teeth in the passenger seat debating the merits of throwing myself into rush hour highway traffic.  When the call was finally ended I couldn't help myself: 'You realize you just spent forty five minutes discussing dog shit, right?'

'It's not just that: we have designated areas the dogs use in our condo area and they have people come in and clean up for us.'

I reply 'Oh, I get it.  You have a dog and a neat service provided for you.  Now that service is probably being taken away and you'll have to do what every other dog owner all over the country needs to do only you and your friend are too spoiled to see how reasonable that sounds.'

She attempts to reply but I stop her and say 'I have my own house.  My dog shits in the back yard and I still need to pick it up.  Why should every other condo owner pitch in to clean up after your dog?'

She didn't speak to me the rest of the ride which was glorious. 

- I fell asleep twice in two nights watching the Giants and Phillies play. Not sure if that says more about the quality of play or my old manhood.

- The hotel I stayed at had a great looking gym on the eight floor which you needed your room key to enter. Strangely the gym also had designated hours - in this case 6 am to midnight. But if you need your room key to get in there, why couldn’t you use it anytime you wanted? What happened between midnight and six in the morning that we couldn’t witness?

- As much as I enjoy staying at the various Marriot hotels, why do they have to provide such soft pillows? I prefer mine to be a bit firm. The Marriot ones are so plush your entire head will disappear into it. Not to my liking at all.

- Got to see the President’s helicopter fly directly over my taxi on the way into DC on Wednesday. Only when I told my coworkers, one said ‘Well, that could be one of the three they send out as decoys’ and the coolness quotient went down to nothing.

- File this under ‘chip off the old block’: Told my ten year old that I was in an office right across the street from The White House. He asked me to take a picture and send it to him. Work got in the way, things got busy and I totally forgot. When I called the next night he immediately asked if I got a picture. ‘No, sorry, buddy. I forgot to.’ He answers, ‘That’s ok. I know what it looks like’. Love that kid.

- Lunch recommendation if you have an Au Bon Pain near you. Try the chicken salad sandwich with the grapes and almonds in it.

- If you haven’t seen ‘The Ghost Writer’ yet, do yourself a favor and check it out. One of those intelligent films that flows so effortlessly it makes all other movies seem clunky. Unforgettable ending, as well.

- Scary movies lined up for the week of Halloween: Legion, Paranormal Activity, and Jennifer’s Body.

- Just had to take a bathroom break. During our six hour NFL marathon yesterday I ate the following: chili, spicy sausage bread, jalapeno crab cakes, and buffalo wings. Today I’m like a dragon in reverse. Or a dragon ass. I’m dragon ass!!

And, on that note, let’s wrap this up. I need Miles Austin and Tony Romo to have a standard game if I’m to pull a win out of my ass this week in fantasy. I had another player openly question the odds of my team being 1 – 5 while having so many points, so at least my futility and frustration is being recognized by others.

Today’s distraction: 10 kid actors who didn’t flush their careers down the toilet. I would argue that Drew Barrymore had more than her share of problems, but she is still wildly (if inexplicably) successful.

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