'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
BUSINESS TRAVELS AND WEATHER ADVENTURES
I know a few guys who travel constantly for their jobs. They spend more time inside airport terminals than they spend inside their own homes. One guy now considers Marriott and Holiday Inn to be his home, and when he gets to spend a few days at his real home with his family, it feels like he’s away on business visiting strangers.
Luckily I don’t have to travel that much. I travel on business three or four times per year, which is often enough that flying by commercial airline does not feel like an exotic adventure, but instead feels like what it actually is: a royal pain in the butt (or, depending on the brusqueness of my TSA pat-down pal, a royal pain in the groin).
Although I don’t travel too frequently, I haven’t been planning things very well lately. For example, in recent months I went to Atlanta in August and then Toronto in December. What’s wrong with this picture?
Theoretically, 95-degrees and humid in Atlanta is the same as 95-degrees and humid in Connecticut. But for some reason is feels hotter down there. Maybe it’s because instead of a three-day heat wave, which you know is going to break soon, down there it’s typically a three-MONTH heat wave with no end in sight. Even though I only spent about eleven minutes actually outdoors, it still felt like I had taken a business trip to the surface of the sun.
In Toronto, it was exactly the same—except for about 90 degrees difference in temperature. Eight above zero in Canada should feel the same as 8 degrees here, but for some reason it seemed much colder. Maybe it’s because although it was plenty cold at 8 above, the radio announcer kept saying it was “minus-thirteen.” (They’re on the metric system, so minus-thirteen Celsius is the same as plus-eight Fahrenheit.) Just hearing the word “minus” made me shiver. Then stepping outside the hotel REALLY made me shiver.
The guy on the radio also said later in the day there would be two to four centimeters of snowfall. I did a quick metric conversion in my head, and determined there would be a light dusting of snow—or possibly three feet, since I don’t do metric conversions in my head very well.
Besides being physically uncomfortable on both business trips, I also felt emotionally uncomfortable. The people I visited in Atlanta just shrugged at the weather. “Typical summer,” they said. “It’ll get nicer in a month or so.” It didn’t even seem like they were sweating very much, while I looked like I had just fallen into the hotel swimming pool.
The natives of Ontario were even more indifferent toward the weather. “Ya cold?” one guy asked me, somewhat surprised. “Technically, it’s not even winter yet. You should come visit in February, eh?”
“Um, no thanks,” I said politely thru chattering teeth.
Then I asked him why he wasn’t wearing a coat. “What for?” he said. “The car will eventually warm up.” Then he pointed out the hotel probably wouldn’t appreciate that I stole the blanket off my bed to wear as a cape over my heavy coat.
I’ve got to start planning my trips better. This year I should go to Paris in April and Hawaii in November. My company doesn’t have any business connections in either of these places, but I don’t care. I’ll just have to be a little more creative when filling out my expense reports.
And there won’t be a stolen blanket added to the hotel charge.
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