Look at yourself, now back to me, now back at yourself, now back to me – I’m on a business trip!
My first genuine, bonafied, cab-rides-and-expensing-receipts business trip! This week, “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me” is on the road in Bethesda, Maryland for two live shows on Thursday and Friday. Before today, the closest thing that I have ever come to going on a business trip is organized school trips, and business tripping falls in a weird place between school trips and actual vacations. While still traveling with a group like we’re on some bizarre adult field trip, it also includes large periods of unstructured time where I am supposed to be “working from hotel1.”
I still feel too young to have this much unsupervised alone time. And I am definitely not old enough to be trusted to find my own food like some sort of hunter/gatherer, or to make my own work schedule with no one looking over my shoulder. There was an awkward moment at the hotel check in desk where I had never checked into a hotel before and didn’t know what to do, followed by another equally awkward moment where I stood helpless in the lobby and watched everyone go to their respective hotel rooms and the only thing I could think was, “Wait….where are you all going? Don’t leave me!”
So far, this day has been mostly a disaster. Not on a show/job/work level – just on a personal level. In my humble opinion, any day that involves getting up before 8 a.m. is probably going to be a drawn-out trainwreck, so when my alarm went off at 5:30 this morning2, I braced myself for a whole lot of suck.
And the morning was a rough one. Then the cat was annoying, trying to climb in my carry on and eat my toast. Then a stupid movie I bought last night specifically for the purpose of watching on the plane ride today would not download onto my iPod, and I spent $7 for a movie I could not watch. Waiting for it to download also put me ten minutes behind the time I had planned to leave. Then my train card was out of money, and I had to frantically search for a station where I could load it up, which sent me into a profanity-laced panic on the corner of Lake and LaSalle. When I finally did get to the station, I I had no cash. Hello, $1.50 service fee. I would like to punch you in the face. A plague upon all service fees.
And yet, in spite of the setbacks, I still arrived at my scheduled terminal at O’Hare at least forty-five minutes before I needed to be. Curse this pure-bred punctuality that runs in my veins!
But, after all that, we arrived in Bethesda with minimal incident, upon which we took a cab to our hotel, and I was given my own key to my own hotel room. This is the first time in my entire life I have ever had a hotel room to myself – I’m pretty used to hosteling it up, and so accommodations that don’t involve roomfuls of strangers are quite surreal – and with two roommates in a studio apartment the size of my living room back in Chicago, this is likely to be the most privacy I will get all summer3. Part of me feels really liberated – it makes me want to jump on the bed with no pants on. But I wouldn’t do that. Because people on business trips don’t do that sort of stuff.
Which leads us to me. Right now. Working in my hotel room. Feeling like an adult4.
- Which, at this particular moment, means emailing reality TV bloggers while “Les Miserables in Concert” on PBS plays in the background.
- Though my alarm did go off at 5:30, I had already been awake for half an hour, because I was desperately paranoid about missing my flight. I also woke up at 4:30…and 4…and 3:30….and 3…..so that plus changing time zones three times in the past five days has wreaked havoc on my internal clock.
- It is also the only time I will have a TV this summer. Also taking advantage of that.
- On an unrelated and mildly amusing note, the producers and I held a read through in a corridor area off the lobby today. Peter, the host of the show, whose voice is rather iconic to anyone who listens to the radio, was on speaker phone. As we worked, people would pass us by. Occasionally, when Peter was reading one of the segments, people would stare at us with that faint look of recognition in their eye, as though thinking, “That’s weird…that random meeting of people in the hallway leading to my hotel room sounds just like that radio show I sometimes listen to….”