Tuesday, December 12, 2006

TURBULENCE

Today I write you from not-so-sunny California. Traveling on business, I had about an hour to relax in my hotel room before heading out for another meeting. After treating myself to myself, I now find I have 54 minutes left to play with.

So yeah - traveling on biz. Not my bag, really. Being successful in business, no matter what you do, is all about relationships. Unfortunately, I tend to be more on cthe introverted side until I've got about three martinis in me. In other words, not very good at small talk. I'm more of a typer than a talker. If business meetings involved people sitting around texting clever comments back and forth, I'd probably have a shot at the cover of Forbes. But sit me down with clients over a relaxing dim sum lunch and I've got about as much to say as Paris Hilton. But my boss says I sell myself short - that I'm actually quite good with people, who tend to like me because I come off as genuine. And so many people in business are anything but.

I suppose that's why I'm here today. Meeting clients. Shaking hands. Smiling. Nodding. Laughing. Providing punchlines where awkward pauses paralyze uneasy conversation. I'm a social favor. A reliable sidekick. An able crutch.

Before we departed from O'Hare yesterday, I must admit I had my reservations about this journey. First off, it involved getting on a plane - which, as you know, I don't do very often. Second, there were some very clear signs from the heavens that this mission might not be in my best interest. Like when my boss's boyfriend picked us up to take us to the airport. We walked up to the car to get in and the back passenger side door was locked. So I tapped on the window to get their attention. The car slowly pulled away from me and rolled down the street. I stood there in the middle of the street with my bags wondering how far they would get before realizing they had just left without me. The answer, in case you are curious, is two blocks. I actually got a big kick out of that.

Then as we were preparing to board the airplane, the PA announcer at O'Hare International informs us that the Department of Homeland Security had just raised its threat level to orange. That has to be one of the top 5 things you don't want to hear as you are stepping onto an airplane. Right up there with: "Free samples of baked beans for all passengers."

Speaking of beans, about half way to San Francisco my entire mid section was swollen with gas. For some reason, sitting in that cramped position with a seat belt fastened for hours on end makes my entire gastrointestinal system cramp up. I tried to hold it as long as I could, but eventually couldn't any longer. I let out a "tester" to see how absorbant the cushions were. They tell you in the safety literature to use them as flotation devices should the plane land on water. I figured they must be able to contain a couple of long-winded farts for a couple of hours.

I was wrong, of course, and the plane began to fill with a rapidly spreading, putrid stench. A malodorous wind I actually came to enjoy, to be honest. There's just something about the smell of my own gas that I don't mind so much. You know how it is. Anyhow, the guy next to me leans over and says: "People who pass gas on planes ought to be hung."

Staring directly at the Time magazine in my hands I calmly replied, "Actually...I am."

I don't fly airplanes to make friends - another reason I'd never cut it in sales. Networking is for IT specialists.

But the trip is winding down and I do feel it has been a successful one. I've been in front of a lot of people who can now put my adorable face with my name when we converse via conference call. I'm told it makes a lot of difference in developing strong client-agency relationships. And I believe it. But I'm still not looking forward to the 5 hour flight back.

In fact, I'm getting stomach cramps just thinking about it. You smell me?

1 comment:

slskenyon said...

That's great--I admire anyone who can talk about their own experiences farting in public on his or her blog.

I SEE YOU!