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Punch from history

Ok, so I've started and stopped many-a-entry on this thing. There's a few things I want to say, but NOW I feel I could have something worthwhile to say.

Today. I took a trip to Chicago.

A business trip.

Which is nothing new, as I've posted about this before, but since I was alone I had a lot of of reflection time. This is how it went.

I started in my car around 9 in my trusty conservative business suit. I had to pull over not once, but twice because my car was so filthy with road salt that I literally could not see out the windows. But still, my trusty little Garmin GPS took me on the road. Never once failing to tell me where to go, and if I didn't tell me what it specifically told me to do, the lady voice almost sounded exasperated when she said "Recalculating..." I stopped at the Lake Forest Oasis (of course), bought a coffee and stared out at traffic through my goggle-like sunglasses. Then I drove the rest of the way to my first-ever hotel site visit.

I walked into the lobby of the hotel, and as they were expecting me, they also put up a welcome sign that said "Welcome Margaret Guy" and the name of my company. I'm always curious to see how people react when they see me. In my profession I go by my full name, Margaret, a name that lost popularity in the 1920s. I know I've sat in doctors offices and the nurse calling in patients calls out my name and beelines for the oldest lady in the room. But the woman I met was about my age, and the two managers of the hotel came out to greet me too as well as perform their business card ritual. I knew what questions to ask, knew what things to look for in the rooms they showed me. I knew there was a free lunch in this deal for me, which made me petrified in that I'd never had a vendor buy me lunch and I wasn't sure what should be discussed. Ben advised that I make "small talk" at which I don't always excel. It was fine, however. We mixed business with small talk, and we ended up talking about cars for about an hour. Yes, cars. The lunch talk began to dwindle, and since I had covered all my questions, I had about two hours before my next appointment. I called the next site and requested an earlier audience.

My GPS did not fail me to my next visit, which was considerably shorter (as expected). I was basically forced to take a free soda, which I loaded into my car of soda and coffee I had already bought, and probably contributed to the gut rot I had later. I headed back home, stopping at the Oasis again. I bought a tea, and sat down with the information given to my hotel and crunched numbers for cost (yes I have to control the grant money my program has been given).

Right before I left, I was jolted by an epiphany.

If my 16-year-old self would have known how deep my 28-year-old self dove into the corporate pool, she would have probably found a way to build a time machine just to punch her future self in the face.

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