Keeping up Appearances

So I’m on the road again – but to a familiar place (Atlanta). I am, however, doing an unfamiliar dance. I appear to have lost lock and allowed five (ten? fifteen?) years to pass. Perhaps it was more. This is not my beautiful house – but I am not the new kid anymore. Suddenly, I find myself in the role of the dude who knows what he’s doing – and who gets to show someone the ropes.

Back in the day, I worked at a company called ERIM. They put me in DC for a couple of summers – since they got contractual points for having someone onsite with The Man – and I was 20 years old and thought that paid travel was sweet and a per diem was a daily bonus. On the first trip, my grandboss (boss’s boss) traveled with me.

We got to the Hertz counter at BWI, he got his keys from the nice lady, and I was stopped cold for – well – being 20 years old and knowing nothing. After I flailed for a bit, said metaboss (John) leaned in and said (of me) “he made his reservation exactly like I did.” They continued to dither and whine about how I wasn’t 25 … or some other crap. He calmly got on his cell phone, talked for a few seconds, and then hung up.

A few minutes later, the phone on the desk at the Hertz counter rang. The clerk picked it up, said “yes sir,” a couple of times, hung up, apologized to me, and gave me a car.

I shit you not.

That is still my absolute benchmark for power. I have no idea how he made that phone ring – (I suspect that he called our travel agent) – but it impressed the everliving hell out of me.

I find that I have similar chops now. I roll like – if not a hurricane – at least a tropical depression. I skim right over potholes and bumps in the road that used to stop me cold.

I have no idea what we’re going to do tomorrow – but it’ll be cool. The phrase du jour is “hey, you called me.”

I say “we,” because I’m traveling with someone who reports to me.

Ah life – you are a funny one.

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