Monday, April 21, 2008

Missing the ground

A year and a half ago, while I was slinging coffee, I met an architect who designed shopping malls and office buildings. He was an older guy with an attractive, young woman on his arm. Casually, he told me about what he did, how the company he worked for sent him all over the world to build things. He sounded a little weary, but he had the pretty girl on his arm.

I said, "It sounds like you've got a pretty good life."

He didn't expect to hear that.

It wasn't envy, but admiration. Guys who design buildings make a reasonable living, which appealed to me, the guy working two jobs and struggling to fit in some freelance. More important than having the money to cover all of the bills, something that continues to elude me, he got to see some of the world.

"I love to travel," I told him. "But I never go anywhere. I've never flown."

He was amused by that. He asked me to take a break. I did. We sat down and he told me essentially, yeah, it was a petty good life. He got tired of it, but he was happy then he offered to take me along on one of his trips. He used a company plane when it was some place within a radius of several hundred miles. He said I could come along for one of his day trips to Myrtle Beach.

He wasn't going again for a few weeks. If I was interested, I could just give him a call and I'd could catch a ride down and back. He had business. He wasn't going to entertain me or bring me along to hang out. I was on my own until 5 p.m.

I promised to call and I didn't. I misplaced the card. By the time I found it, months had passed. I was embarrassed to take him up on the offer by then. I did nothing except occasionally look at his card and kick myself -another chance blown.

Thursday, I'm being sent out on a writing assignment that involves me flying to Cleveland. Cleveland, I know, isn't exactly Hong Kong or Moscow or Rio or a million other exotic locations, but it's me, on a plane, going somewhere and writing about the trip.

Not too fucking shabby, actually.


Evil Twin's Wife said...

Enjoy your trip! Cleveland has some fun sites to check out. And, it should be nice, weather-wise, too.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, I don't know which is worse: Never getting out or going to Cleveland. ;)

moneytastesbad said...

Dude, you gotta check out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Th th th th they say the heart of Rock n Roll is in Cleavland!

Anonymous said...

2 pieces of advice:

1) Sit in a window seat for the trip back. Landing at Yeager is a weird feeling - you can't see anything but trees and mountains, and it seems as if you're going to crash.

2)"Flying solo" in the bathroom does NOT qualify you for the Mile High Club.

primalscreamx said...

As it happens, I'm going to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It's part of the package deal thing. This will be my second trip to it. I remember last time being sort of freaked about seeing Jim Morrison's cub scout uniform.

I am the lizard king, indeed...