Monday, July 09, 2007

Business Jail

I'm on a business trip in New Jersey. Some folks say "ooh, business trip! That's fun!". These people have never been on a business trip before.

I am staying at the Courtyard Marriott (as requested by those responsible for the meeting and trip). It is Business Jail.

I arrived last night at about 8:30 pm local time. I immediately hit the gym and ran 4 miles - in a hurry because I wanted to get some food before room service closed. This place is in the middle of an office park near the freeway, so there is nothing walkable. And I have no idea where to go on a Sunday night here if I cabbed it.

I get back from the gym and call. Turns out the restaurant downstairs is closed Friday through Sunday! But they'll happily give me the number for Domino's Pizza, which is the only place that is open and delivers. Ugh. 45 minutes later (what happened to "30 or it's free?") my pizza arrives. After I tip the guy and he runs off I realize they didn't even include the drink I ordered.

I walk through the silent halls, past the other cell doors to mine. I sit in the damp summer air and eat pizza while watching TV.

I suppose I'm just spoiled. Unlike hotels I regularly stay at and enjoy, this place offers no lotion and the soap/water combination feels like it's leaving some sort of film on my skin.

Breakfast rations are "the buffet" and "coffee". I sit with my back to the window, facing the door so I can see any up-and-comers who might try to shiv me for my USA Today.

Later today I hope to hit the weights, maybe walk the yard. Supposedly all our meetings are being held here, and they're basically 9-5:30 Monday and Tuesday, then a morning flight back to SFO.

A 4-day sentence in business jail. I have a feeling this isn't all that different from low-security prison!

I had to get up early on Sunday morning and drive to SFO. I could do an entire post about the disaster that is airport security (on my last trip, I watched the security guards forcing people to leave bottled water behind, but had no problem letting a guy put an aerosol can of Lysol through the X-ray machine and then back in his bag), but that's probably unnecessary.

I ended up in the last row of the plane. At least Continental Airlines has moved those forward from the bulkhead so they actually recline. I generally prefer the aisle seats, but this resulted in my shoulder getting bumped every time anyone walked by. Given that I was sitting next to the restrooms (a wondrous olfactory experience in itself), I got bumped a lot.

I did have one small bonus - the middle seat of my row was empty, and it was the only empty seat on the plane. A nice treat.

6-hour flight. The movie? Firehouse Dog. I couldn't have watched it if I wanted to, as the sound system wasn't working, so the staff shut the movie down after 15 minutes.

I don't mind the flying so much. I catch up on reading, do a little work, and listen to music. It's a bit like prison as well, but in a good way - some serious, uninterrupted solitude. Time for thinking, reflecting, napping. I write a lot of lyrics on planes.

One more thing - On my last trip, I should note that the person behind me in the security line was none other than Eartha Kitt! Having lived in L.A. for so long, I'm a little jaded. But this is Catwoman, people! She should have her own security line, because a) she's awesome and b) who knows what eeevil devices she may be sporting?

Anyhow, she is much shorter than you'd expect. And radiates star power. I don't know where she was going (probably some secret lair), but I guarantee it isn't any business jail.

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