I don’t travel much, especially not for work. Well, that changed last week when I got to spend the week in Chicago on the company dime.
On the way up, I thought about all the things I was going to do. I was going to eat pizza until I was full to the gills. I was going to visit the Adler Planetarium. I was going to find the Chicago Cubs team store.
Well … I literally did none of those things. Chicago had not experienced a measurable snow in January and February, but since I was making an appearance in the second city, the snow would make a return. I ended up leaving for Chicago a day earlier than I had planned so I could beat the winter burst, which I did by about an hour. Also, I HATE traffic, which Chicago is known for. I parked my car Sunday night and didn’t move it again until Friday afternoon.
Hunkered down, it was now time to turn my attention to the reason I was in Chicago … the conference. The training venues were all connected to the hotel, but the walk between the two seemed like miles. Wearing my normal work shoes, my dogs were barking after a few days of the daily treks. I guess it was a good thing that I walked so much after eating so poorly throughout the week. I think my phone was confused by the number of steps it was recording on a daily basis. It had to be thinking that someone must have stolen it. Even I was a bit confused when I looked at it one day and saw what appeared to be a blue ribbon. The phone was telling me that I achieved my daily steps goal. Wow. That doesn’t happen every day!
Nonetheless, the training was worthwhile and I did learn a lot.
Whenever you are around a large group of people, it is a great time to make some observations. I did learn that sitting in a classroom with a limited number of seats is very similar to sitting on an airplane as more and more people get on and you are hoping that middle seat remains empty. Just when you thought the seat next to you would be empty, someone would come through the door to take up that valuable space. Funny how a lot of people don’t value being early or even on time. For me, if I’m late, I would rather not even enter a room and draw all that attention to myself.
I also learned that people taking off their shoes has become an epidemic. It’s not like we were at the beach, this was a learning environment that was supposedly filled with business professionals. Keep those things covered up!
Another thing I learned is that I am not a fan of being by myself, which probably lead to me spending a lot of time in my room. I am by no means a social butterfly, but if my wife were along, I know we would have done a lot more than I did by myself.
On the way home, I also had another revelation. I grew up traveling the Indiana Toll Road quite often with my grandparents on the way to their lake property in North Central Indiana. I always remember the friendly, helpful people working at the toll booths. Well, with the privatization of the toll road, those helpful faces have been replaced by machines. Gone as well are the nice baskets that you could throw your change into. Now, you have to feed dollar bills into these machines or feed change into them like parking meters. Not the most efficient way to move traffic along. Oh, well, someone’s making a buck and doesn’t give a shit about the people using it. I’m sure this will work out much better for Medicare.
One more point of contention was the time difference. Chicago is on central time, while Indianapolis is on Eastern time. Really? Can we come to some consensus on this time issue? I know Indiana is a backward-thinking state, but it would be nice if we could be on Chicago time AND we stop changing our clocks twice per year. Come on Indiana, get with the 20th century!
After being gone for a while, it is always nice to be back home, even if that home is in Indiana. I doubt that my wife will take kindly to me asking her what time room service will have dinner on the table.