Sunday, October 09, 2005

Columbus Days

I spent the better -- or at least the middle -- part of last week in Columbus, Ohio. Notwithstanding its prominence in the last election, I always viewed the prospect of a trip to Ohio with an almost perfect apathy, a bland expression, an unfurrowed brow, an unstifled yawn.

It's not that exciting events don't happen in Ohio. I assume, though am not certain, that they do. And it's not that one would find oneself in Ohio without anything to do. Looking around the place, it was apparent that all-you-can-eat buffets are mighty popular in Columbus, Ohio. I'd say two out of three people heartily enjoy such pursuits on a regular basis. And certainly, this past week, there was something for me to do, like sit through interminable meetings, saying nothing, trying to stay awake, taking notes, almost perishing from nic-fits, barely listening to an insufferable blowhard rant and rave about some issue that no one will remember him for. But, at least there were a few moments of mild adventure.

1. For the fourth time this year alone, in only 5 roundtrip flights, the airline lost my luggage. Arriving at midnight, I had to face the fact that I would arrive at the next day's meeting wearing the same clothes and, well, underwear, that I'd pretty much exhausted the day before. And if the airline never found my bag? A prospect too horrible to imagine. I tried to minimize my movements during the next day's meeting, so that wafts of stench would not be set in motion and overpower those in the close conference room. I'm not sure I succeeded. Though I am getting closer to learning never to check my luggage ever again.

2. I met a federal "secret agent" while smoking outside the hotel, fuming about the incompetence of airlines, worrying about the stink of my clothes. He showed me his badge and gun, I showed him some amused interest, as he explained that he could not tell me what he was doing in Columbus, Ohio, or he would have to kill me. He was young and imbued with the power of Secrets of State. He told me, as we were going back inside the hotel, through doors reserved for the disabled, that he never entered a building through revolving doors, because they were "deathtraps." I speculated as to how many ways one could die, trapped inside revolving doors. I wondered how many people die every day in revolving door incidents. Stupidly, I used several sets of revolving doors throughout my stay in Ohio. I'm glad nothing happened to me, despite having taken such huge risks with my life.

3. I almost killed a cab driver, though not with a revolving door. It's the old story about the cab driver taking you the long way to your destination, not knowing you've already Mapquest'ed the route. He demanded a tip at the end of the journey. In my two-day-old clothes, still mad at the airlines, this was too much. So, I began screaming uncontrollably, hurling insults, cursing god. I don't think he was expecting this reaction, and though he tried to scream back, my obvious insanity overpowered him. I think I finally won something worthwhile.


Blogger Joseph K said...

Such a smart move to mapquest before taking a cab in an unknown city. I try and do that too (we're not exactly hiding that we're nerds are we?). If I sense a hustle coming on, I say ("I'd prefer to take the Thruway," while jotting down notes and asking questions like "Is your medallion number still N086W?" Usually, they'll turn off the meter at that point and just ask me to pay whatever I think is right. Usually, that's about $10.

8:28 AM  

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