Wednesday April 18, 2018
I have an airline trip confirmation sitting on my kitchen table- MSP-MCI at 1pm. I have traveled a lot to Kansas City in the past five years, always on business. I sometimes get it in my mind to extend the trip and take a couple vacation days, but it never works out like that. I tried to mix a business/pleasure trip once in Chicago. It was just weird. I keep a very clear break between my professional life and personal life as it should be. This is how I know I could never work from home.
I woke up at 3am for no reason and foolishly waited until 4:30am to get up and write. My mind is full and I have learned that the only way to get back to sleep is to get up and write it out. My head will stop racing once I can express and record my thoughts- just in case I need to come back to my great ideas later. I rarely come back to them. I am going to take a nap, otherwise I will be the zombie arriving at gate 58. The cats don’t know I am leaving yet. My carry-on luggage that I bought on the street in Istanbul, Turkey is not packed and the dishes aren’t done. They won’t be happy at this time tomorrow.
I am on the plane. I recognize what a privilege it is to be part of meetings that require travel. Not everyone gets to do this, and it is a compliment to one’s professional expertise. I will be very busy for the next two days. There will also be time for networking over a beer or dinner. The airplane is buttoned up and we are about to push back from the gate. I would text someone that I am about to takeoff, but I don’t know who. I am single and I am free but it has its price. How many flights have a taken over the last decade dreaming of a romantic vacation getaway or a loved one anxiously waiting for my return from my business trip?
It’s a turbulent flight and I feel a little airsick. This was an unfortunate discovery I had years ago during my flight training. My one and only time barfing in a plane was a direct result of learning about how to break spins. I don’t often tell people on flights that I am an aviatrix because then they expect me to explain every little noise that freaks them out (it’s just the landing gear being tucked away… no we are not about to die). I order ginger ale to settle my stomach and cookies because I am a cookie monster.
From ice to clouds, water is a strange and pure substance. Living on the rock between the two oceans of the sea and sky. This is the plain of our short existence that I observe from this plane’s small window. We are molded by our environments, our physical bodies shaped by the weather and climate of our ancestors- the sun and atmosphere, our skin and lungs; locomotion, time, and travel. We live in this world and our survival depends on making the intersections of our countries and centuries work in our modern life.
We are descending into Kansas City. I now put on my business hat.
It’s about 8pm- after our meeting and dinner. I am writing alone at the hotel bar like I do sometimes. The people at Happy Hour are often sad. They are looking for something and often only find the same old faces. Hotel bars seem to have the same collections of people: business travelers, mostly males alone or with colleagues; married couples watching the game and suspicious of the other guests; Loud, drunk women on a ladies night out. The bartenders in these places are often thin, sallow bachelors with sunken shoulders and an air that they would rather be anywhere else but here. I am the weird lady writing and drinking a beer alone- single, white, professional, female.
Thursday April 19, 2018
The hotel has invited me to enjoy my non-smoking room and threatened to charge me $200 if I don’t and light up a cigarette. It’s 5:30am with no light in the sky yet. I am in a double queen room facing the west. I like adventure but sometimes you just want the antiseptic reliability of a chain hotel. My Turkish carry-on bag full of business casual clothing has ‘Escape’ written on the side of it. I’d like to little bag, but this is a business trip not a vacation.
Three kids were splashing in the indoor pool last night. That took me back to those great summer vacations to Florida that dad took the family on. A pool was a mandatory amenity for any motel we ended up at because that’s what me and my siblings were going to do. I am sure mom and dad appreciated the break, though dad was an avid swimmer from his service in the Navy and would get in with us sometimes. I guess I’ve worked all these years to find my own ‘endless summer’ for two weeks out of the year.
I had a headache last night from wearing these damn glasses too long. The coffee maker has erupted a rude sound, so it must be ready. I swore I heard someone farting in the bathtub, in the room next door last night, but maybe I am imagining things. I want to believe that my imagination could come up with better things to focus on but here we are. Breakfast is in the lobby and I’ve got a full day of meetings ahead. I need to get dressed and get ready. We have a group photo today and I don’t want my hair on sideways for that.
Friday April 20, 2018
It’s 5:45am. I woke up sweaty at 2am and dumped my brain again so I could get back to sleep. Here is the life of the middle-aged, mid-career professional woman. I looked at a photo taken of me yesterday. I can see its weight on me more clearly, year by year. I’ve a got a half day of meetings today, then off to the airport. I will be home for dinner and the cats will be happy. No real tour of Kansas City this time, only working. Not much travel to write a travel log about.
I am at Kansas City International airport with my journal and a beer. My flight home has been delayed until 4pm. I always get the same waitress at this place. There is a pilot at the table next to me- lucky duck. I don’t regret not fulfilling that dream of becoming an airline pilot. I still hold my commercial certificate. Maybe one day I will take it up again for $150 weekend hamburgers. The airport is full of business people trying to make it home. I catch a plane, then a train, then the bus to my waiting cats and microwave leftovers. Work starts again 8am on Monday but for now, a rest.
-Copyright C.M. Mounts, April 2018