On Monday night I got back from my first-ever work trip. I went to Palm Beach, Fla., (check out that AP style!) to help copy edit/layout a daily publication for a major industry conference. It was kind of like making a mini yearbook everyday for grownups because it was mostly pictures and the names of people in said pictures. People like to see pictures of themselves with important people (CEOS, VPs and the like), I guess.
The above picture summarizes my experience. Staring at a computer with stuff EVERYWHERE on a too-small hotel dining table, not seeing the light of the Florida sun. Which I really appreciated when I did get to experience it, because it was 32 degrees in New York when I went into the office on Tuesday. Yikes!
And yes, we did put the iMac through airport security. I still contend we should have plugged it in at the airport terminal instead of my boss’s laptop to give everybody a giggle while we completed some work for our website.
All in all, it was a good trip. I got to know everyone else who went much, much better and understand them as human beings instead of people who give me a long list of things to do or to edit. My managing editor (my direct supervisor/boss) and EIC (fancy newsroom speak for “editor in chief”) both complimented me everyday about how well I was did and how they were proud of me. It was like pleasing my Newsroom Mom & Dad. They even offered to buy me dessert as a reward! Gee, golly.
I also enjoyed the concept of living off the company’s bill for a few days. I ate much pricier meals than I usually do and even charged a pint of Blue Bell cookies ‘n cream ice cream from Publix to the company account (my boss said it was OK, anything goes, we’re just glad you’re here).
This last choice turned out to a mistake, as now my EIC is telling everyone back in the NYC office that he walked in on me “stress-eating ice cream the way some people chain-smoke.”
This is usually accompanied by him pantomiming a person ravenously scarfing down ice cream like a wild animal. I think he’s exaggerating, just a little.
Stress-eating ice cream was necessary because our flight out of JFK got delayed an hour by a crazy woman who had to be escorted off the plane by NYPD. Then we found out our printer broke in the mail, so we had to go on a crazed shopping trip at the nearest Staples in Florida for an affordable printer AND CMYK ink cartridges (it turned out to be very difficult to find a printer and cartridges that were compatible all of 15 minutes before the store closed).
As it would turn out, our flight back to NYC would be delayed four hours due to the air traffic control furloughs.
Trust me, you do not want to to get on a plane with a bunch of New Yorkers when they find out their flight has been delayed another two hours. We did get free movies and extra snacks both flights courtesy of the airlines due to the various delays. (JetBlue won over my heart.) Although apparently the passenger sitting next to the managing editor threw a hissy fit when he found out his gin and tonic would not be free, despite the grueling delay.
New Yorkers, I tell ya. They don’t put up with anything.
Speaking of which, one night for dinner my EIC ordered a small pizza for the table to share as an appetizer and loudly instructed the waitress to make sure it was, “extra crispy, because we’re from New York, and WE know how to do pizza.” I know he’s a born-and-bred, lifelong New Yorker (and an Italian Jew, so the ultimate New Yorker, at that), but I still just about crawled under my chair with the garlic bread for comfort. And you know, to stress-eat. Because apparently that’s what I do.
The crowning moment of the trip was when we were out really late for dinner on Saturday because we worked until 9-ish, and in addition to a themed 4:20 party going on, the whole restaurant — which was otherwise a nice seafood place — had become a bit of a bar/nightlife scene.
A group of scantily clad 20-something girls came over to ask said-EIC to take their group’s photo (dare I mention that he is old enough to be their father? that he made fun of me for being born in the ’80s, although I narrowly missed the ’90s by a few months? that he was the only male at the table of friendly-looking women?).
And he replied, “Oh, but I’ve been wanting to take your photo all night. I thought you’d never ask.” And then proceeded to remove his glasses in grandfatherly fashion. If only he’d acted frustrated by their smartphones and demanded to know what “button” to push on the touchscreens.
As he approached the group of short-skirted, low-necklined girls, two girls in Daisy Dukes and midriff-revealing tops approached with trays of free shots, I kid you not. I desperately wanted to take a picture of this scene. It was so absurd.
The managing editor and I laughed so hard we cried. We might have had one too many Diet Cokes that day.
Even now, it takes a lot of willpower to not laugh aloud.
You know what else makes me laugh? My kitchen envy of my hotel suite:
It came with a dishwasher AND microwave! Not to mention more floor space than my apartment. Actually, the patio of the suite was approximately the size of my whole Manhattan apartment.
I could die from the irony.
(I’m a bit delirious though.
Tomorrow will be my 12th day in a row of work. Today in the office, the EIC tried to give me instructions for something that is going to be tedious and un-fun to do, and I just started giggling nervously. And when I get in a giggling fit, I can’t stop.
He then proceeded to ask me if he needed to run out and get me another pint of ice cream…)
P.S. If you can’t tell, I’m blessed to work in a very supportive and familial work environment. I couldn’t have gotten luckier in this crazy, dog-eat-dog city.
P.P.S. Did you know it costs $70 for cab fare (plus tip and tax) to get from Manhattan to JFK airport? Seriously! So, so glad I didn’t pay that out of my personal bank account.