22 June, 2009

Journey to the Other Side of the World (JOSW) Day 0: Pre-Launch

The first of two trips to Europe was to commence at 8:40am on Friday the 19th, when my plane was to depart Sea-Tac International Airport enroute to Munich, via beautiful Philadelphia. But before any of that could happen, there were a few things that needed to occur first.

Turn back the clock 24 hours. Thursday, the 18th, should have been a day for packing, preparing, saying goodbye to a few people and, most of all, making sure to have enough rest for the big trip. Unfortunately, none of that was in the cards. It really sucks when you know, days in advance, that you will not have time to do all the things you need to do. By Thursday morning, not only was I resigned to the fact that I would probably need to stay up all night to be ready, but I was actually planning on it. In some way, I had convinced myself that staying up all night would help me with the potential jet lag issues. I am not sure if that was sound logic or not.

The primary reasons for this squeeze were as follows. First, Thursday I had a commitment to deliver two customer feedback reports to my team at work. These reports require poring over a thousand or so comments that users have sent, followed by tagging and categorizing them, analyzing the distribution of comment topics, and then writing a report so the team knows what the major issues are. This is simply a time-consuming task. And unfortunately for me, I had basically no time to do it before Thursday, due to wrapping up other reports and presentations, and then no time to do it while at work on Thursday, due to a day full of unavoidable meetings. Normally these reports would be due Monday morning, but my vacation led me to push the due dates forward.

In addition to the fact that I had no time to write these reports while at work, I then had no time to write these reports after work, because the band had a show that night! Immediately after work, I needed to drive to load gear for our show. The show had me tied up until at least midnight (possibly even later depending on whether I left early, or stayed to help carry the gear home).

So, what I was faced with was playing a show until midnight (I did leave early), then going home, packing, writing two reports, submitting them, cleaning my house (somewhat), showering, and being ready to go to the airport by 6:15am.

And I actually finished all these things barely under the wire, with my second report being completed at around 5:15am. Apparently that report was incoherent enough that my manager emailed me to note that they had to do a little "massaging" of the contents to make it publishable. I cannot even imagine what that means, but it is entirely possible that I was making charts of cornflake consumption in the aboriginal populations of Patagonia, instead of comment categories for our product feedback, given the state of delirium that I was in at that hour.

I barely had a chance to say goodbye to the cats, or to my house, which was still a veritable mess. But I was exactly on time for picking up my ride, Edna, with whom I immediately got into a classic feud over my failure to take the express lanes. Mil Millington comes to mind. Feel free to Google him... or Bing home... or Boink him... whatever you want, if you are not sure what I mean. Nevertheless, traffic notwithstanding, we made it to the airport on time. Pulling up to the airport, I saw a Honda Insight parking in front of us, which I immediately recognized to be the car of my friend Artemis (that's a pretty weak pseudonym, but it's the thought that counts, right?) being dropped off for her trip to Maui. How coincidental?

We met for a brief coffee in the terminal. Parted ways. And Day Zero of the trip came to an end.

1 comment:

  1. I still don't know why you didn't listen to me when I told you to take the express lane.

    The cats are thriving, incidently. The eat copius quantities of food and generate equally copius amounts of waste, but seem happy and like to be petted. You have a large stack of bills on your kitchen counter. Hello to the girl! :)