The travel season for my job has begun (No, I don't have a job offer yet, but one way or another this will be my last year here). Because I'm now looking at myself as a short-timer, I had to bite my tongue to not tell Darth Skippy and the rest of the executives to take my itinerary, fold it neatly to fit into a #3 business envelope, and shove it into the orifice of their choosing.
But Daddy needs to pay the bills and keep Murphy fed, so I gotta go.
Normally I look forward to the first few trips. The last few months I had been working 70-80 hours a week staring at numbers and graphs on a computer screen, then putting those numbers into a different part of the screen had started to take its toll. I think my eyes started to bleed at some point.
But this year our fearless leader decided to reassign accounts across the board and do the travel schedule himself.
I believe he does copious amounts of hallucinogens. This is the only thing I can think of to explain his logic. But if this is true, then he is undoubtedly the dullest drug user in existence. So in hindsight, I'll go with mental illness.
Texas is a big place. You have to have traveled through here to garner the scope. I live in Austin, which is for all intensive purposes the state's center.
Useless Texas Fact #1: There are at least eight cities or towns that claim to be the center of Texas.Austin isn't one of them.Bold claim, considering the Texas Highway department put a plaque on highway 377 pointing the direction to the ACTUAL center, 5 miles away (the true center is on public property). Closest town to it is Brady, TX.
After calling all of my clients and rearranging the accounts ourselves, a couple of coworkers and I set out for the long trek.
As I said, I normally look forward to the first few trips. It gets me out of the office and lets me get away on the company's dime.
The first trip was regrettably out to West Texas. I at least arranged the accounts to get all my West Texas ones out of the way in one go. First up to Lubbock, then down to Midland, then San Angelo on the way back. I decided to drive it. Not in my own vehicle of course. I trust my truck implicitly. It's a workhorse, and for all intensive purposes should have fallen apart by now. But it still cruises right along. But knowing my luck it'd decide to call it quits midway, and West Texas is known for having a lot of nothing between towns, including cell service. So I decided to rent. A smarter man would have flown to Lubbock and driven down, but I'm not a smarter man.
Here's the basic route:
the equivalent of driving from Atlanta, GA... To Manhattan.
Luck smiled upon me again.
I reserved a "standard" by the rental company's definition, and they pulled up to my office in a Metro hatchback. I looked up the definition on their website and they said "Pontiac G6 or similar." Last time I actually did get a G6, and that was a fun little car. But a Metro? I'm 6'3", weigh 250. Getting into the passenger seat took a couple of seconds and a minor concussion.
Anyway, I mentioned on the ride to the rental office that I was going to be spending the next 4 days in the middle of nowhere. He looked at his inventory and decided to upgrade me for free, to a Chrysler 300. He says it was to give me a satellite radio, but I know it was because he didn't want to have to clean out the copious amounts of Astroglide needed to get me in and out of the Metro.
The trip was pretty much uneventful. Ok, I'm lying, but this story has already bypassed the "tl;dr" status. So I'll just mention Day 2. Driving from east of Lubbock to Midland, my new fancy-schmancy GPS put me on a road running parallel to the main highway. Since I have it set to "fastest route available," I couldn't understand why it didn't put me crossing over.
And then I decided to trust it.
I normally drive like a grandpa, at most 3-4 miles over the speed limit. But this road, I realized as I crested the top of the first hill, was a piece of driving heaven. Exciting little curves, long fast straightaways, well maintained, entirely deserted. Where if by some chance there were a cop, you could literally see him two miles away. With the exception of while driving through Post, TX I literally did not see another car. It cleaned out my cobwebs. This guy, Tenacious B, who hasn't driven above 80 in years, was precariously close to hitting 3 digits. I know I should've taken a pic, but my GPS listed my top speed for that leg as 98.3mph. And I loved it.
I finally connected with Hwy 20 in Big Spring with a huge smile on my face. Stupid to say, but that was the best I felt in weeks.
P.S. It's Hwy 669. Head south from Crosbyton towards Big Spring. You're welcome.