I loved the last IDEA conference but getting there and back was a different story.
I remember those days when I thought that traveling for business was so glamorous. Actually, I hardly remember it because it lost its glitz very soon while I was still working with IBM. And there I had the advantage of turning my expense sheet in and getting reimbursed. One of the joys of being self-employed: you pay for yourself. It being a business expense does not change that.
We were lucky enough to have a direct flight from Raleigh to Los Angeles, all was on time and the luggage was returned to me. Nowadays, after having already purchased the ticket, one also gets the option of ‘buying’ a seat allocation. Over are the days when you picked the desired seat during the process of buying the ticket. Since we chose not to add even more cost to the ticket, we took what was left, a window seat for Rufus and a middle seat for me, several rows apart. I was sitting close enough to the business section to smell the food that was served there. In coach, you even had to pay for the peanuts; water and soda was free, and one did not need to pay to use the restrooms. What generosity!
Where I got lucky was in my travel companion in the seat next to me. I am forever curious what other people are reading and was absolutely intrigued by the small book in my neighbor’s hands with interesting graphics. I had to ask. It was a book on fractal geometry, some part of which is the underlying concept of structure in the fascia! What a coincidence! And better yet, my neighbor actually gave me the book as a present, and I read it on the way to Los Angeles and really enjoyed myself.
After we got our luggage at the airport, we too the shuttle to the hotel and got the scenic route. Rufus and I are determined to take a taxi the next time.
The return flight a few days later was the crowning glory of the trip. The RED-EYE! I have a hard time sleeping on planes at best of times but I usually still try. If I find the person who designed those seats, I want to see how out of alignment he is to have developed such torturous contraptions. I was the lucky person in the middle seat again, and no matter what position I tried and where I put that blanket, I could not get comfortable. While I had my eyes closed for much of the flight, I did not sleep and arrived rather bleary-eyed at RDU. To add insult to injury, I got a nasty cold three days after getting home.
I used to be quite a Star Trek fan and was always very intrigued by the transporter. I cannot wait for the technology to catch up with the fantasy, and then I can beam myself over to LA without any of the hassles. I would have missed out on the book, though.