On the Road Again
September 5, 2002
I’m coming to you tonight from a hotel in the middle of Indiana. I’m here getting ready for tomorrow’s kickoff meeting for my new customer assignment. I used to travel a lot for work, striding through the airport wearing my serious accountant outfit, flashing my elite frequent flyer card at the gate, and having airline club attendants and front desk clerks greet me by name. I was a stereotypical business traveler. For a while it was fun; then it just got tedious.
In the last few years, most of my trips have been for pleasure, but still it feels very familiar to be here in a hotel room on my own, filling time until I can go to sleep and then to work. This is just a short trip, so I didn’t bring my full arsenal of entertainment devices—crayons, a mini Etch-a-Sketch, other toys—or any projects from home. Still, there are a lot of options, even without leaving the hotel: television, the Internet, reading, writing. This room scores high in the tv department, with a lot of cable channels, including some I don’t get at home. Sure, reading would probably be a better use of my time, but I can do that later; the same cannot be said for watching TV-Japan. Right now, there’s a Japanese woman with Jennifer Aniston hair telling me about fashion in New York City. At least, I think that’s what she’s talking about, based on the pictures dancing across the screen. Yes, it is fashion—there’s someone speaking English now, with Japanese subtitles.
Between typing this and watching television, I’m thinking about the raccoon I saw wandering around in the middle of the freeway just before I got off. I wonder if I should have done something to help her get across safely. But what? Surely pulling over and going out into traffic myself would not have been a bright idea. And even if I were able to herd the raccoon over to the side of the road without getting flattened by a vehicle myself, then what? Toss her in the trunk and drive her a safe distance away? I don’t think so. Given that this nocturnal animal was out and about when it was still light, she was probably sick. It definitely would not make a good impression on my new customer to have to call and tell them I won’t be able to make the meeting because I’m getting treated for injuries and infection sustained when I picked up a raccoon on the freeway. Even if I got her off and away from the freeway, what would keep her from wandering onto a surface street? Gah. I can work myself into a state about anything. I must let thoughts of the raccoon go, get ready for bed, and get a good night’s sleep.