Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Kansas City Blues
Ah, the vision of life for us weary road warriors, the babyshit brown Hampton Inn somewhere in the midwest with the same amenties, the same breakfast, the same beds, the same cheery blue and white and grayscale advertisements stuck in the middle of suburbia...the things we have to look forward to are few and far between - maybe there is a better gym, or a really good mexican place within walking distance, or the air conditioner is really,really quiet - sad - but for the most part, it is true. I have spent 178 nights this year in a hotel, not including those hotels that are not in the Hilton Family - and don't care anymore really what they look like - I see the same people in the swimming pool, the same kids excited about all the Fruit Loops they can eat, the same old couple on their last hoorah through the country, the same business men in their suits with their laptops and coffee, trying to work through last night's business dinner that ended up with a few too many bottles of wine, and no closed deals.
The first day of any new assignment is a let down - I don't even get psyched up for them anymore, you put on your Sunday best, and go in and shake a large number of hands, try to remember a few names, try to keep your sanity while you watch the clock tick away and pretend to be genuinely interested in hearing about another persons children or how many pets they have, or even why they live in such a god foresaken piece of land like Kansas City.
Kansas City carries some firsts for me - this is where my son was born, this is where I first decided that I needed to travel more than I needed to be at home, this is where I started realizing that happiness is objective as well as subjective - and where things progressively started to change in my close personal relationships. It is probably the city that reminds me most of some of my biggest professional failures and accomplishments, and my biggest personals blessings and losses.
This assignment, I have been told to "dumb it down" a little bit - that's always tough for me to do - every audience requires a certain approach, and I guess for the sake of the reader's humor I should throw in some things that I am really going to try hard to do this week to make sure that I just follow the rules:
1. Refer to everyone as Bossman or Bosswoman.
2. Have an obvious problem with my outfit - i.e. a few buttons unbuttoned, a crooked tie, an open zipper, two different socks.
3. Tell everyone that I am trying to not make water in big boy pants.
4. Drink all liquids from the wrong side of the cup, and then exclaim "These things are tough!".
5. Make the clear pronouncement that I ain't never been good with math or cipherin', but they keep sme around to meet some sort of quota.
6. Yes Sir, just working here sir. Making sure you look good, making sure you are happy.
7. Hum - constantly, banjo and bluegrass tunes.
8. Finish every sentence with a reference to Bob Evans coffee and their damn good biscuits and sausage gravy.
9. At lunch time proclaim "As a pentacostal revival minister, I have found the demons are eliminated by me drinking gasoline at lunch breaks. My dad (who happens to be my uncle) is in heaven now, but did this everyday and lived to be 47 and with clean spirit was welcomed into the streets of gold by a multitude of anuses"
10. Say "Huh" and snort after anyone asks a question (whether directed at me or not)
That should help the appearance of dumbing things down a bit, and hopefully will go a long way to making everybody feel more comfortable.
On another note - separation is the worst feeling anyone can every have. Permanent; however, is a state of mind - and I can assure you, that there is no way to make things permanent right now - finished, done, over, complete - these are all things that I refuse to accept - sure, things always change - and things are different and odd and uneasy - but things are never permanent. Maybe that's what I learned in Kansas City - maybe I learned to go through the motions here, and accepted that life as permanent, but the past year has taught me differently - and I don't want to go through the motions - or be reminded of that life when I don't have to be.
Until we speak again....