When last we spoke, I was being led by a scorned lady GPS right into the path of an oncoming Portland Seafood Company delivery truck. Me and my wandering, weary band of business travelers were mere moments away from become fishstick filler.
Luckily for all of us, I used my experience as John Corzine’s stunt driver to avoid the truck. I had to jump the sidewalk and drive through a combined doggie day-care/strip club, but it ended well for all of us because I’m pretty sure those puppies did not like being chained to those poles AT ALL.
We finally found the hotel and had an excellent dinner, ironically enough at the Portland Seafood Company. It turns out, near death experiences really enhance the effectiveness of advertising….something my readers in marketing should look into. I can see it now, home invasions by guys wearing McDonald’s facemasks and wielding billy-clubs shaped like Coke bottles….hmmm… I might be onto something.
Sorry, I digress….we ate dinner, then exhausted by our journey and the last vestiges of adrenaline from our afternoon truck dodging, we ventured back to the hotel , where I fell into a deep, dreamless sleep (well, except for that one dream, you know, the one about the nun in clown makeup carrying the hand mixer….)
The next two days were a whirlwind of training sessions, of meeting new people, our dulcet tones inspiring our classes to penultimate heights of learning. I mean, HR Systems and Processes are just the most fascinating of topics, with you know, those buttons you can push, and those…um….other buttons you can push…trust me, it’s fascinating.
Before we knew it, it was time to go. We dashed from the last training, trying to figure out ways to make a trip that had taken us 90 minutes a few days earlier happen in under an hour. We had obtained directions from our host, a shortcut that worked great for approximately 23 seconds outside the office complex and that failed when we came upon a three-point fork in the road that didn’t exist anywhere on the map. One of the road choices spiraled around the other two, obviously one of those Portland Weird wormholes that appear from time to time, and decided that the only way we were making our flight was bending the rules of space-time.
We took Continuum Bending Beltway (sorry, this being Portland, that’s SW Continuum Bending Beltway), and ended up on a bridge – not a body of water in sight, but a bridge nonetheless – with about 72,000 other Portlanders, all inching along politely. I looked desperately at my travelling companions. They motioned towards the lonely, little screen tucked forlornly under the dashboard. I shrugged, plugged in the GPS, and was surprised when a loud, Austrian accent came blaring from the speaker (apparently someone had reset it to “Governator settings.”
“YOU’VE GOT TO GET OUT OF HERE.” Garmie screamed. “TURN RIGHT NOW, NOW!”
“Right? But that’s a bike trail…”
“TURN RIGHT ONTO THE BIKE TRAIL, NOW! TURN RIGHT NOW!!!!!!”
With a rebellious scream, I turned right, the little sedan slaloming down the embankment like the Jamaican Bobsled team being chased by ..um….I don’t know, some kind of Jamaican Bobsled team eating monster.
Anyway, it turns out the Governator had the right idea, because after barreling past a dozen picnickers, a pack of mountain bikers, and one pissed off Sasquatch crossing guard, we leapt over an embankment and right into the rental car return lot. I somehow convinced the attendant that the scratches, leaves, and angry looking salmon embedded in the grill were all there when I picked up the car, and we dashed through security, me tearing off my suspenders and tossing them through the x-ray machine as we passed. We arrived at our gate, breathing heavy, sweat streaming down our face, suspenderless pants puddled around my ankles, only to find our flight was delayed and we had another thirty minutes before the plane to San Francisco arrived.
After that, it was just plain plane travelling. We ate dinner in the San Francisco airport. I discovered that a fully populated red-eye is an exceedingly uncomfortable way to fly and maybe for the first time in my life wished I was shorter, since you need to be about five feet tall in order to curl up comfortably in an airplane seat. I also think I may be married to the guy sitting next to me on the way home to Philadelphia, or might as well be, since he spent the entire trip spooning me and kissing me on the ear ( I didn’t really mind that part, he had such soft lips). I also learned that if you really want to get a great reaction at an airport, all you need to do is strap on a CPAP mask, throw on a leather wife beater, and shout ‘I am Bane, breaker of the bat, bow before me.”
Try it someday, I’m sure you’ll find the results interesting.