Saturday, July 22, 2006

Amarillo By Morning?

Amarillo, TX (July 21, 2006) – I have a friend who is forced to travel on business frequently. I envied him a little. I like to travel, and the opportunity to see other parts of the country on the company’s dime seemed like a sweet deal to me. Be careful what you wish for. I’ve spent eight of the last fifteen weekends on the road, and it has taken a toll on me.
I have nothing negative to say about Amarillo, except that it looks amazingly similar to any other place I’ve been this year. Given more than a couple of days to look around, I’m certain I would be able to find some distinguishing characteristics. That won’t happen, though. I’m spending exactly one night here. My hotel room is nice and the people with whom I’m traveling are pleasant, but I’m just aching to be home.
The highlight of my day was watching CNN Headline News. While the parent network, CNN, was providing live coverage of the escalating hostilities along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean, Headline News was showing a high-speed chase outside of Houston. A man wanted for robbing a dry cleaners at gunpoint led police through neighborhoods, across a golf course and through several collisions before he came to a dramatic stop in a ravine. Normally, I would ignore this kind of “news” coverage on principal alone, but that’s how bored I was. Sitting in a hotel room on a Friday afternoon, I felt like I was in solitary confinement. I called my wife on the telephone and told her that this only confirmed that I could never survive in jail.
I want to kiss my wife, hug my daughter, pat my son on the back and pet my dog.
I want to drive my own car and sleep in my own bed. I brought a book. I’ve been enjoying it, and I’m about halfway finished. Somehow, I’m so out of sorts on this trip that I can’t muddle through more than a couple of pages. I’m tired, bored and distracted, but it’s no one’s fault. It just exists.
I filled up the evening. One of my traveling companions brought a DVD player into the room and we watched a movie. Then, we rounded up a couple of more guys, hopped into a taxi and went to see another movie. Tomorrow, we will get to the business that brought us to the Texas panhandle. For now, we’re just killing time and staying out of trouble.
And I get to do exactly the same thing with exactly the same people, except in a different city, again next weekend.

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