My trip to Philly was actually pretty good. It was uneventful where it needed to be (i.e., when flying), the work part wasn’t too bad, and I got to see a couple friends.
My friend Steve the Beave reminded me that it had been 3.5 years since I had last seen him. I didn’t realize it had been that long. I knew I had met his wife before. For several years following graduation, my college friends used to go back to the pub in Windsor that we used to hang out at when we’d all come home for Xmas. And then I stopped going home for Xmas. Man, time flies.
Monday a.m. we had a meet and greet with all the annual meeting roundtable participants and the CEO. Then I went on a tour of their R&D labs. Folks were congregating for lunch, but me being the introvert that I am needed some downtime so I went back to my hotel for lunch. Back to HQ for dress rehearsal. They had a tent set up in the parking lot with a satellite truck parked outside. There was a whole stage inside with lights and microphones and the whole 9. Craziness. But that ran short. Back to the hotel to catch up on some email, and then we had dinner out at a very fancy place. I was wary about that part, but it was fine. Could have done without the corporate communications folks always saying what a great topic that would be to bring up in the discussion, as long as you frame it right, but whatever.
BUT. This place did tableside bananas foster. Which totally made the entire trip worth it. I haven’t had that since me and Emily went to Puerto Rico. That’s my favoritest dessert ever.
Tuesday a.m. was the meeting. The CEO gave his presentation, they showed a short propaganda video, and then we were on. The craziest part of the whole thing is that we’re seated at this (round) table behind a big screen. This screen is the width of the stage, maybe 50 feet, and probably 14 or so feet tall. During the CEO’s presentation, the screen had the company logo flashed up on it. We got seated behind the screen, in the dark, and he came around to sit with his when he was done talking. So they finish playing the video, the announcer makes some announcement I didn’t even hear, and then all of a sudden the screen drops and the lights come up. The lights are super bright and everyone’s blink-blinking. They told us about the screen thing, but I don’t think anyone was really prepared for it. They introduced us all one by one and I tried not to smirk while I knew the camera was on me. I was literally thinking in my head, “Don’t smirk don’t smirk don’t smirk. Neutral. Blank face. Don’t smirk.”
Anyway. I didn’t eat because I was nervous. But I drank a lot of water, so of course the urgent need to go to the bathroom didn’t hit me until right before we had to go on. And I do mean urgent. Fortunately, I got my comment in early and could spend the rest of the discussion trying really hard not to grimace and shift around a lot.
And then just like that we were done. I raced inside to go to the bathroom, went back out to my rental car in the back of the parking lot and changed my clothes in the back seat, then headed into Philly to catch up with Mac. I did not get lost. I did park on the street without change for the meter to avoid having to drive around too much looking for parking and thus getting myself lost and earned myself a parking ticket for it. Oops. At least the car was still there.
Mac took me for gelato and while we were enjoying our gelato she got a text message alerting us to Jerry Falwell’s passing. Could that moment have been any more perfect? I also got a shit ton of Twitters about it. I love modern technology.
Managed to make it back to the airport without incident. The only hitch was that the security set up in Terminal E (and, I imagine, all the other terminals) was just awful. The line was literally about 10 times longer than they had space set up for it, so there were at least 100 people backed up down the hallway, just hanging out next to the moving walkway. Whatever.
Made it back home in plenty of time to hang out with my girl a bit. *grin* It’s entirely possible that I wouldn’t have seen her for the length of time that I was gone had I still been in town, but it’s different when you’re out of town and you can’t see each other, ya know?
Anyway. Good trip. Just the right pace of stuff to do and getting where I needed to be. All paid for by work.