And I’m back. Thanks for waiting.
Overall, I had a good time in San Francisco last week. Sure, it was a business trip, but could I still find a way to have a little fun?
You bet your Rice-A-Roni I could.
“Our stewardess was about as likely to join the ‘Mile-High Club’ as I am to help a nearby child with his oxygen mask before securing mine. Not happening.”
Not that I had a lot of time for shenanigans, mind you. I flew out of Logan Airport in Boston at three in the afternoon on Wednesday. By one pm on Friday, I was back on an airbus, speeding toward home. Two seven-hour flights in two days is no puddlejumping picnic. And the movie on the flight out was The Legend of Ricky Bobby. So clearly, I wasn’t going to get any help entertaining myself on this trip.
Luckily, fate was in my luggage compartment that day. The flight out was fairly empty, and one of the guys I was travelling with ended up with a row of seats all to himself, right in front of mine. The lucky bastard spread out like a jetsetting Jabba the Hutt, taking up two seats — and leaning them both back in my face. I don’t even think he used the lever; he just pushed them back with his ego.
So I waited until he fell asleep, leaned forward, and pushed his ‘Call Stewardess’ button. The closest sky waitress was a cranky sourpuss of a lady, and she stomped over to see what the hell he wanted. By the time the encounter ended, she was in a huff, he was pissed at being woken up, and I was biting my lip, trying desperately not to break up laughing.
A few minutes later, he fell back to sleep. I waited a half an hour, and pinged his button again. More hilarity ensued. I honestly thought the woman was going to take him up to the cockpit and give him a spanking.
(And not the good kind of spanking, either. Our stewardess was about as likely to join the ‘Mile-High Club’ as I am to help a nearby child with his oxygen mask before securing mine. Not happening.)
Eventually, I figured the stewardess would start watching, or my buddy would sleep with one eye open, so I played it cool and the rest of the flight was uneventful. Of course, the airlines don’t bother serving food in the peasant cabin, so by the time we arrived, we were all starving. Luckily, we’d gained back three hours and it was still dinner time, according to the west coast. And you know what a post-flight meal on a business trip means:
A big honking expensive dinner on the boss.
Apparently, my fellow employees didn’t get the memo on this one. It’s a time-honored tradition that the boss dragging your ass out on the road ponies up big for the first group meal. Maybe he or she doesn’t foot the bill for the whole trip, or sets limits on how many burgers and beers and bubble-boobed hookers the company’s petty cash fund can handle. But the first meal, before the road has beaten you down and the trip has gone all to hell, is fair game. Anything goes.
I seem to be the only one who understood this ritual. Including my boss. When I ordered three appetizers, he gave me a funny look. Hey, I offered to share. I’m not made of stone.
When I ordered ‘surf and turf, and heavy on the turf’, he ‘*ahem*’ed me. Meanwhile, the other kids ordered salads or half-sandwiches and looked on with fear in their eyes. Most of them wouldn’t even have the bottomless iced tea. Amateurs.
By the time the meal was over — with the beers, and the dessert, and the bottle of wine, and the glass of twenty-year-old port — I was plenty full and ready for a nap. As I slipped into a sweet food coma, I could just make out the smoke escaping my boss’ collar as he dropped his AmEx for the check. Look, I don’t make the rules, man. I just follow ’em, and take home the doggie bags. That’s how it goes.
By nine-thirty, I was sacked out in my boxers on the hotel room bed. Around ten, I awoke to a loud knock on the door. Thinking it might be my sleeping beauty traveling companion from the plane exacting some revenge, I picked up the ice bucket I’d filled after dinner, ready to toss some cold water on the troublemaking tomfool.
Just to be sure, I eyeballed the hallway through the peephole. And found my boss, fingering the restaurant tab and onviously wanting to have ‘a word‘ about it. Clearly, an opportunity to have a little more fun. Still wearing just my undies, I grabbed a fistful of cash from my wallet, opened the door wide, and said:
‘Dammit, I told them to send an Asian girl. And why aren’t you wearing the Girl Scout uniform I asked for, and — oh. Hi, boss. I’m a little swamped right now; can we talk in the morning? Okay, thanks, bye.‘
On the good side, nobody asked me to attend any meetings for the rest of the trip. And the rest of the group sat way away from me on the flight back home. But it’s a little odd that my parking pass didn’t work in the garage this morning. Also, my desk had been cleaned out when I finally talked my way past the security guard to get into the building. It must be the dude I hounded with the stewardess on the plane, finally getting me back. That guy’s such a kidder; we’ll have a good laugh about it over the water cooler later, I’m sure.
Assuming my keycard for the break room starts working again, that is. Man, when this guy pulls a prank, he’s thorough. Damn.