This has been an interesting week on the road for business.
There’s an annual industry conference that is big for the company. I skipped it last year, and in hindsight, thought that was a big mistake. As a remote employee, it just seemed like an essential opportunity to get “face time” with all of my co-workers and collaborators, so I decided to make it a priority to attend the conference this year.
Instead, I’ve seen fewer people this visit than on any previous one. No one is in the office. It’s hard getting a response to emails, and everyone is frantically trying to prepare for various presentations. I’ve gotten some value from the conference itself, but I’m not so sure I’ll make an effort to attend next year.
The conference is about an hour’s drive away from where I usually stay while I’m in town. No big deal, I know the area really well, and have a good sense for how to avoid the worst of the traffic. However, I had a panicked moment when I was walking from the parking garage to the conference and suddenly realized I had left my room without my wallet. Yikes! I almost never do that. I do some fast calculations, “Okay, will I really need any money this afternoon? I have my conference badge, I don’t have to get anything to eat, is this really that big a deal?” when it suddenly occurs to me… the parking garage. Crap! How was I going to pay to get out of the parking garage? #$%^& Worst case, maybe I could find a work pal at the conference and borrow some money from them. How embarrassing. And then I remember the collection of crisp $2 bills I have in my computer bag, for playing with dollar bill origami. Whew! Thank goodness for that little hobby/fetish.
While I’m in town, I caught up with a dear friend of mine, a former employee at the company. I loaned him something for the afternoon and evening, and didn’t have a firm solution for how he would get it back to me the next day. That night, I got an SMS that he was leaving it at the concierge desk at a hotel very near the conference. Cool, that will work. So I came into town today and walked over to the hotel. I found the concierge desk and asked if they had a package for me, and he produces a sealed manila envelope with my name on it. Great! I take the envelope, thank him, and start making my way to the conference. As I’m walking down the busy urban downtown streets, I tear open the envelope and slide the contents into my hand. There is what I loaned, and another envelope that says “Thanks!” on it. Curious, I tear open the second envelope. And out came a small… err, umm.. “gift”. And accompanying rolling papers. I swiftly bounced back and forth between amusement, instant paranoia. I stowed the gift away and realized I would have to tell the friend… I have never used rolling papers in my life. 🙂
A hell of a trip, but I’m ready to be back home.