Convention season is here, and with it comes inevitable travel. Once, I was retired. I remember those times, a few months ago, when deciding what bathrobe I wore for the day was my biggest decision.
But not now. A scary-ish non-profit program and a burgeoning Halloween business have thrust me once again across the globe, through x-ray machines, and onto crammed fights, discovering whether new cities are dry or if I’ll fit right in.
This time, however, call me crazy, but I invited Rob. For those of you who don’t know him, he’s the ultra supportive spousal unit who stays mostly in the shadows and mainly drops me at airport curbs with an (overly) excited wave–mentally calculating how many golf days I’ll be gone and the nights he can snore without being kicked in the shins. Sometimes, we actually enjoy being apart because I sleep better and he can guilt-free golf until his left arm swings off.
He wasn’t prepared for the invitation.
“Why do you want me to go?”
Fair question. I’ve been traveling to Halloween conventions since 2009 and he’s never been to one. For that matter, I’ve never been to Oakland or Alcatraz or on white water rafting trips or company golf trips, so this is simply how we roll. I do my work stuff and he does his.
But this time, I decided to invite him. It’s a short turn-around trip, and I knew he’d never been to Louisiana, so why not. I need to spend all day Saturday on the trade show floor, so that gives us one full day and two nights to explore the Big Easy.
I thought of all the possible answers to his question: To carry my luggage, to find me coffee so I don’t have to get dressed first, to pay for Uber. But no, that wasn’t true at all. “Because it’s not a real haunt convention and you’ve never been to New Orleans.”
Pure. Romance. How could he say no?
Therefore, of all the trips and travel blogs, I really don’t know what to expect on this one. Traveling for work with a companion, one you’ve been married to for 28 years, could be cozy and fun or turn out like a bad episode of Married at First Sight. And it’s Friday the 13th. Currently, we are cruising at 30,000 feet, and he’s going through photos on his phone of our dog, Rudy, totally unaware that I’m chronicling our trip through this blog, even while he interrupts me every 10 seconds to show me another picture on his phone.
“Dear, do you want to play games on my iPad?”
“No,” he says, “I’m good.”
“Ok. (Thoughtful pause) Then can you open this vodka, please?”
Here are my observations so far:
I learned that, while not naive, we are both so conditioned by the majority of non-news stories in Bakersfield that when the 11 o’clock news came on last night in our Los Angeles hotel room, we thought we had mistakenly flipped to an episode of The First 48.
Here’s how it went. Me on one bed, Rob on the other bed (despite what he thinks, I did NOT reserve a room with two beds), and the TV on full blast:
KTLA News: The KTLA chopper live over a house fire with one dead and one in serious condition…
Me: (whispers) Oh, dear.
KTLA News: A cop gets boiling hot coffee thrown in his face, blinding him temporarily…
Me: (a little louder) Dear God.
KTLA News: An experienced hiker falls to his death…
Me: Dear God!
KTLA News: A state trooper is ambushed and shot, bystander finds his gun and shoots suspect…
Me: DEAR GOD!!!!
Finally, a commercial break, where Rob and I turn and look at each other in the way of two refugees facing down the rubble of a nuclear crisis. We agree that we’d never live down South again (for reference, Los Angeles is 2 hours south of Bakersfield, and I lived there briefly after meeting Rob). Granted, the L.A. news covers a wider area with more crime, but I don’t think I could watch the news every day if each story was just a short trailer for the next horror movie.
I took a moment to put on my PJs and do some computer work. He flipped the channel to sports and, to my surprise, returned to KTLA.
“Let’s see who got killed during the commercials.”
Waiter!…. this might be the Best. Trip. Ever!