Monday, October 24
If you know me well, you know that I am NOT a morning person. Therefor the prospect of a 6:20am flight did not tickle my fancy. A flight that early means getting to the airport no later than 5:15. In order to make that happen, I’d have to be up no later than 4am. And happen it did.
Upon arrival at Will Rogers World Airport, the line at the check in counter was quite long, and I could see the line at security was even longer. But, to my surprise, the Delta agents kept the line moving well, despite people’s apparent inability to follow simple directions. TSA also kept things moving, and for the first time in a while, I wasn’t “randomly selected” for a search. Darn it. And I wore my good underwear and everything. Oh well, their loss.
At the flight gate there was a woman who was 80 years old if she was a day. I couldn’t help wondering what time she got up to make it there so early, and where she might be going. Sadly, it was later revealed that she was flying “standby,” and our flight was full. So, for the time being, at least, she’s not going anywhere. My knee-jerk reaction was to give her my seat (thanks, mom & dad, for raising me right), but as he seat was paid for by my employer, and there’s no telling if I’d make it to the conference on time, logistically I just couldn’t do it. Sadface.
Take off was uneventful, but I need to remember to look at a map when I get back, or ask a flight crew member familiar with OKC about the flashing lights I saw. A few miles west-southwest of the airport there was a field of flashing red lights, all blinking in unison. It was pitch dark at 6:20am of course, but it still looked as though whatever they were they were not very tall structures. Very odd. Oh well.
Thanks to the cabin pressure, I now have a throbbing migraine. It’s similar to when there is a change in barometric pressure. I can usually tell you if it is going to rain, because my head will be pounding. Sadly, my meds are in my checked bag, and therefore inaccessible.
Arrived in Salt Lake City. Very tired, and unbelievably hungry. Found a Cinnebon kiosk, and bought a Cinnebon. It was the most delicious bad idea I’ve had in a while. My layover was only about 40 minutes, and I still had to walk a half mile to the departure gate. No exaggeration. Those of you who fly on a regular basis know what I’m talking about. Just once I’d love to have a connecting flight leave from the same gate area as my arrival. But no. I arrived at gate B, and needed to hoof it to Gate D.
If you’ve ever had a Cinnebon you know they are huge. About the size of a softball. Not really conducive to eating while walking. Not gracefully anyway. I got to my gate just as they were boarding all the first class passengers, and still had half a Cinnebon to go. If you’ve had one of these treats you also know they are delightfully gooy. Thankfully I had the presence of mind to grab extra napkins. I dispatched the rest of my guilty pleasure, and licked my fingers(sorry, mom and dad, I know you taught me not to do that in public, but the napkins were not durable enough to handle all that stickiness). The ticket agent’s reader wasn’t working, so she was manually checking people off as they boarded. She took my boarding pass, tore off the tab, and handed me back my pass. As I turned to go, she says “Sir, I have your luggage tab.” I took it, smiled, and proceeded to board the plane, all the while thinking “Then why did you tear it off in the first place.” Oh vey.
Just boarded my flight from Salt Lake City. Guy in seat near me got on his phone and called a contact. “Hi. I’m no good at texting. Yeah. Uh huh. Well I could email that to you.” Ok, if you technologically savvy enough to send an email from your smart phone, why are you unable to text? Just putting that out there.
This flight includes tv’s in the headrests of the seat in front of you. For a fee, you can watch tv or movies in flight. Or, if you’re cheap like me, you can watch for free if the person sitting in front of you uses theirs. Lucky for me, the guy in front of me was watching Sportcenter. Score!
Arrive at the Palazzo hotel. Room isn’t ready yet, so I check my luggage, and head to the conference registration area. I bump into a few people I know from my earlier trip to Dallas for a regional meeting back in June, as well as a couple from my days with Staybridge Suites in Kalamazoo. I also saw my manager from my days with Holiday Inn.
After what seemed like an eternity, I finally got registered, but my room still wasn’t ready yet.
Still no room, but I have a 12:15 meeting to attend, and need to change clothes. I go back and get my checked luggage, and head to the men’s room. I manage to change clothes in a men’s room stall, but when I head back to the luggage check area, the line is so long I know there is no way I can check my luggage and make it to my meeting on time. Ugh.
I and my luggage arrive at the theater where Candlewood Suites and Staybridge Suites are having our pre-conference pep rally. There’s a couple hundred people milling around, and when you get that many 98.6 bodies together, it gets warm quick, and after lugging my bags all over creation, I’m roasting and sweaty.
Extended stay pep rally has begun, and everyone is having a great time. The energy level is high, and everyone is getting geared up. Then I look to my right. Just 4 seats away is my former boss. I guess this was inevitable, but I didn’t expect it to happen so soon in the conference. Thankfully, an awkward situation was averted since either she didn’t see me, or just chose not to acknowledge me. Either way is fine with me. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything. So I digress.
The pep rally ends, and we all file out of the theater to head upstairs to the massive room where the general sessions of the conference will be held. I notice I have a missed call, and check the message. Mercifully, my room is ready. I leave the crowd and make a bee line to my suite to drop off my bags. My arms and shoulders thank me.
1:30p – 6:00pm
The IHG general session, tradeshow, and sales general sessions.
Welcome reception dinner, held poolside. A very lavish affair, with music and food. I get to see a few more people I haven’t seen in a while, but I’m exhausted and head back to my suite.
I sit down on the couch, and turn on the tv. I think I’ll check my email and….
I wake up still on the couch, still in my suit. Apparently I was even more exhausted than I realized. I get undressed and collapse into bed.
To be continued…