Doctor’s Orders

Often times, I find myself trying to do as much as humanly possible in any small pocket of time that I have. Let’s be honest, not often times, all the time. Not too long ago, I was headed to Dallas to share a few ideas with some of our newer Account Executives. My flight was around noon which meant if I got up around 5:00 am, I had a little time to attend to my domestic duties and still make my flight. Clearly I was going to do this. 5:00 am rolls around, and I pop out of bed. I knew I had a small to do list of things I wanted to knock out while I was home. Weeding my flower bed was one of them.  Out I go to grab some pesky weeds. As I head back in I noticed that my hand was really itchy; however, there was no indication of any kind of sting or bite. At this point I ignored it, hopped in the shower and went on my way.

Over the next hour or so I, as made my way to my flight, I noticed my hand becoming increasingly more swollen. What is normally a veiny and boney hand quickly became a hand that looked like a latex glove that some 7 year old blew up like a balloon. When I landed, I knew I had to see a doctor. I truly couldn’t bend my fingers. Being in an unknown town, I decided use Google to help me decide which Urgent Care to go to. I found what I thought was the perfect one.

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I jumped in an Uber and headed to the doctor’s office. I walked through the door with my huge hand trying to grip my suitcase and awkwardly open the door for myself (if you travel you know the exact awkward, door and suitcase situation I am talking about).  As expected the door hit me and my suitcase on the way in. I walked up to the receptionist.

Upon check-in there was a note on an index card taped onto the counter “Ring Bell for Service.”  I was all in at this point. I rang the bell.  A few minutes later an older man came to the reception desk and asked how he could help. I showed him my hand and began to tell the story. He said “let’s just check-in and you can explain that to the nurse.”  As I am in the waiting room filling out my clipboard, I hear the man ask me again what the problem was. Only this time, he yelled across the waiting room. Granted, I was the only one in there, but there has to be some sort of HIPAA violation for asking for medical ailments from across the room. Rather than shouting, I walked back to the desk and quietly explained my massive hand. He again redirected me to the nurse. At this point, I’ll admit, I wouldn’t have minded my Uber coming back, getting door slapped again and heading to a new Urgent Care. Instead I forged on.

Upon completion of my paperwork, the receptionist asked me to be seated and told me the nurse would call me back. I waited approximately 15 seconds when I hear “Mrs. Foster?” in a tone of question as if there was anyone else in this establishment. The voice was familiar. “That’s me,” I said as I walked back to the open door. I was shocked to see The Receptionist. He walked me to the scale and said “we will be in Room 4.” He weighs me and asks for my height and then escorts me to Room 4. I sit down, decently confused. He says to me” what seems to be the problem?” I glance over my shoulders wondering if someone was playing a trick on me. He just stared at me waiting for a response. After I realize that he was genuinely waiting for a response, I said, “didn’t you want me to save these details for the nurse?” He said “I am the nurse.” Rather than inquiring more, I decided to go with it. After all, I work for a company that sells HR software than handles multiple position employees very well, so who am I to judge? I just wanted a stinking steroid so I could get the full value of my apposable thumb again. I explained to the nurse what happened. He jotted down a note or two, and told me the nurse would be right with me. He took his notes and my clip board and left. I could hear the clipboard go into the file holder on the other side of the door. You all know that noise. It’s the same one you hear when the doctor is grabbing it and asking the nurse what is going on before they walk in and consult you.

I wait about 10 minutes. Let me remind you, I am the only person in this place, and since I had been back in the room, there was no bell ringing indicating a new patient walked in. I hear the clipboard pick up and in comes the doctor. Get this y’all- it’s the same guy! No lie. I giggle a bit, but he is stone cold serious. “My notes tell me you may have been bitten by something making your hand swell. My jaw is dropped, but at this point, I decide to play along. “Yes, I was telling the nurse that I was gardening this morning and then on my plane flight, it just blew up. Do you see how big it is in comparison?” I showed him my hands side by side as if it were the first time I had done so. He analyzed them and then asked me what my sign was. I clarified, “as in my zodiac sign?” This was what he wanted to know. After telling him I was a Pisces, he got very theoretical about my life and choices and relationships and on and on and on. I reigned him back in, “so about my hand.” Eventually he determined that there was a 90% chance it was a spider bite, and I would be best treated with a steroid. He left the room and told me I could proceed to check out for my prescription.

Check-out and check-in were the same window. I waited patiently for my One Man Wonder to show back up with my script. As expected, he met me at the window with the bell. He said “I noticed you have a suitcase. How will you get to the pharmacy to get the meds?” I explained Uber. He was not comfortable with this so he demanded he drive me to the pharmacy. THIS IS A TRUE STORY.

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Well, for those of you who know me, I tend to just go with things. After a little push back, I agreed to ride with the “Docurseceptionist”. Semi-nervously, I follow him to the back of the building. We load up into his minivan. It had seen better days, and he had SpongeBob rubber floor mats. I would like to think they were for his children, but he was well into his late 50’s. I went to sit in the back. He insisted on me being in shotgun. At this point, if he was gonna kill me, my minivan placement wasn’t going to prevent that. On the 7 minute ride, he went back to the zodiac breakdown of me.(This is where I secretly snapped the photo). We pulled into CVS where I attempted to say my goodbye. The One Man Wonder said he would wait while I got my steroid and then drive me to my hotel. Hmmmmm… This is probably where I should have drawn the line.

You guessed it? I went with it. As I go to fill my drugs, I make quick friends with the pharmacists. As she checks me out, I quietly ask her if the drug she is giving me seems to align with a spider bite or one that may make a female go comatose. Refreshingly, it was the former. The One Man Wonder drove me to my hotel, wished me luck with my hand, and sent me on my way. I was fairly certain he was going to turn up in my hotel closet when I checked in, but he was just genuinely taking care of his patient. You simply can’t make this stuff up.

Until next time, it’s Flu season so, Always Clean Your Tray Tables.

A Major Award- Miss Universe

Hotel Bars: This could be a blog all on it’s own. I do hotel bars completely opposite as I do life. For life, I am extra social. I don’t really need or desire “me time”, and I believe “me time” is also referred to as sleep. In social situations, I am normally the organizer and planner, and there is no shortage of wine intake or fun. For some reason, in hotel bars, I am the total opposite. There are several reasons I think that I am this way.

  1.  I love watching the night unfold as others come in and out and slug martinis and cabernet after work. Over the course of four hours, that gets pretty funny.
  2. Typically, I have work to do that I would prefer to knock out when I am on the road rather than at home.
  3. I don’t want to be one of the stars in the show mentioned in #1.

With all that being said, when I am in a hotel bar, I always find the corner either next to the service bar or on the opposite side. Whether or not I have work to do, my laptop is ALWAYS in front of me and my earbuds are always in. I don’t know why, but it’s just the way I roll in hotel bars. Sure, I could do room service and work in my room but I have a screaming aversion for popcorn ceilings and ambient light. More on that on www.MeredithisExtraWeird.com (kidding, that is not a website, but a true statement nonetheless).

Now on to the story… When I travel to Pleasanton, home of my work’s corporate headquarters, I always stay my last night in the SF Marriott by the airport. It is my favorite airport because they have great food and the best views of planes taking off and landing over the bay. It has a HUGE lobby bar full of corporate workers, families and international travelers. It kind of reminds me of the SkyClub on Terminal E in the Atlanta Airport. It was a Thursday Night, and I was settled in to my corner. Well on this memorable Thursday, my normal “I have no desire to talk to you social clues” were not working. I spotted this guy from across the bar looking my way, and then he started to stumble over. Unfortunately my corner seat had an open bar stool next to it. Ugh. This dude was smashed.  I am not talking about chatty and liquid confidence smashed. I am talking about offensive and sloppy smashed. This is probably better for me because I am much better at being mean to sloppy drunk people than chatty drunk people.

“Hey thereyoulooksbeaubeautiful in your flowugh dress,” he said to me while leaning into my space. “Letstalktoeach other and close work top laptop.” He then shut my laptop. Bad move Sloppy Joe. I bowed up a bit, and verbally keyed him into my social cues. I was quite abrasive, and if you have ever crossed my condescendingly raging path before, you’ll know it’s not a fun place to be. Sloppy Joe continued. The situation escalated. I put my headphones back in, grabbed my laptop and moved to the other side of the bar. He followed. I chose to ignore him from here on out. He didn’t choose to stop. The bartender took his drink and closed his tab. Sloppy Joe hated that. He went off the handle. He screamed to the bartender “Are you seriously taking my drink? I am just trying to talk to this hot bitch.” Of course I chimed in letting him know that he needed to work on his charm. He didn’t like that either. He reached over and grabbed my wine, letting the bartender know that if I took his, he was drinking mine. At this point, all I could do is laugh and the huge bar was all engulfed in this scenario. Moments later, the cops came and he earned a nice escort back to his hotel room.

Whew! When this ended, the bartender inevitably brought me a new unSloppy Joed chardonnay, granted me 2,500 free Marriott points, and I attempted to slip back into my reclusive hotel bar world. No such luck.

I turned to my left and there stood the nicest man, Chris Kyriaki. After some research I have found, that he is a legit dude who crowns people around the world for random reasons. Feel free to find him on social media. He is a stud. He had experienced the whole situation with Sloppy Joe, and he said that based on my response, I had earned “Miss. Universe- Kyriaki,” and with much ceremony, he presented me a sash and a crown to recognize the new honor. As much as I wanted to smash my face into my  laptop, go upstairs and fall asleep staring at popcorn ceilings, I decided the world was telling me to reload. I shut my laptop, loaded it in my backpack and enjoyed the evening with my new title and my new found friends. It was nice to feel like a wildly undeserving and made up princess for a day. Oh the people we meet and the things we do.

princess

Cheers to hiding behind laptops, but also shutting them down from time to time. Remember, always clean your tray tables. Happy New Year my friends!

 

Gettin’ Drunk on a Plane

I am going to start this blog off by saying; I am not innocent to drinking in the airport. In fact, I normally have a wine or bloody on every flight that is not on the way to a prospect meeting. That being said, I also don’t get rip-roaring wasted when I am traveling. Today marks the second time in six months that I have experienced someone who is truly wasted at the airport. I’ll tell the stories individually.

The first one was in Dallas at Dallas Love Field. I finished a meeting and headed to the airport about 2 hours early to knock out some work and grab a salad of some sort. As I settled into my spot, I noticed a table of friends around 25-30. They were knocking them back one after another. The gal in the group, probably only weighing in at about 120, had three empty shot glasses in front of her and a glass of red wine. Their volume continued to increase collectively by the half hour. I excused myself to the Ladies Room to slap some new curls in my hair and kill some time. As I was curling, Little Miss 120 stumbled in. I knew this was going to get good.

I tried to keep to myself, but all I could hear was hurling noises coming out of stall one. What do I do? I am a big helper to people. I know when I am in a mess, I want help. On the other hand, I knew she was wasted, and I was flat out tired. After about three rounds of what I am sure was hot, acidic and painful barfing, out she comes. “Wow! You have great curls. Great dress. You are so pretty. I love you,” she said. “Heavens for Mercy, “I thought. I went with it. She had vomit in her hair, tears in her eyes and ketchup on her shoes. It was a mess. We worked through it, cleaned her up and got her some water. I went on to finished my curls and load up on the plane. It was 11:45am on a Tuesday.

Now for drunken experience round two. It is actively happening right now. As per norm, I arrived at the Baton Rouge airport only to discover my flight was going to be delayed. In Baton Rouge, they like to delay in 30 minute increments until the grand total exceeds 4 hours, and then they start doing hourly delays. It is awesome. I arrived at 7:30 and went to “The Restaurant”. There is only one. The bar was closed with the lights off, but I sat there anyway because I needed an outlet to charge my laptop. I was plugging away at work when a gal stumbled upon me, literally running into my back as she plopped down in the seat next to me (right next to me). Mind you, there were 18 other available seats, the lights were off and the bar was closed.

She began talking/slurring to me with a sideways mouth. “Where is the Fu@%ing bartender?” she asked.  “Well, its 8:30, so I think they may not be open. I grabbed a coffee and grits from next door and decided to sit here to work and use the outlet,” I said. She continued to rant about Delta being late and there being no booze. She explained that she knows how to make drinks and was thinking about whipping one up. For entertainment purposes, I sarcastically encouraged her. Without any verbal notice, she got up and walked away. I thought she was going to mix a drink, but instead she just left. She left all of her stuff on the bar; phone, purse, suitcase, boarding pass, passport, all of it. I will say, I was entertained, but I was also busy and not in the mood to make a new drunken friend at 8:30 am in Baton Rouge.

Five minutes later, she returned. Get this, the chick went a found a bartender. Lights on and here we go. It was the same gal who made my breakfast, and she was just as sweet as could be. Drunken Monkey ordered not one but TWO double Titos on the rocks. Strong breakfast order for sure. The “bartender” looked at me and asked what I would like. I passed seeing as my coffee was still hot, and I knew I had a long day ahead. Drunken Monkey’s response to the “bartender” was “This woman is all professional, not wanting to get wasted this morning, sitting around doing her work on her fancy laptop with her fancy little dress on and her professional little phone. She probably even has business cards. Work work work.” The “bartender” looked at me and smiled. I just winked and continued working. For the next 4 hours, she never left my side. She called me “professional woman” by name for the entire day. When we finally boarded a measly 7 hours later, she quickly passed out and went on her way.

Remember, Always Clean You Tray Tables.

Xanax Snacks

Admittingly, I trust Delta a little bit too much. I actually feel like I have a personal relationship with Delta. For example, it sort of bothers me when people fly other airlines. Weird, I know. I like them for many reasons and one is that I believe that they will not fly me somewhere if the conditions are not safe. That being said, I drove all the way to the airport and walked up to the gate on the Monday when Hurricane Irma was rolling through. I trusted that they would cancel if the conditions were not safe. As I got all the way down to D1, they cancelled.  See? Good relationship.

This situation reminded me of another bloggable flight I had a few months ago on the way to Knoxville. It was a pretty rainy day, but planes were still taking off successfully. Being the short flight that is was, we loaded onto one of the little baby planes, the ones with no first class, four seats in Comfort and two seats on each side of the aisle. I was in a window seat next to what appeared to be a fairly normal lady. Let’s call her Scaredy Catherine. As we settled in, I did my normal OCD tray table, seatbelt buckle and arm rest Clorox wipe down. As I finished, I noticed that Scaredy Catherine seemed a little bit panicky. Though I wasn’t in a chatting mood, I am still empathetic by nature, so I asked her if she was ok.

She looked over at me with tears in her eyes and told me she was scared to death to fly in this weather. I tried to reassure her and tell her it would be ok. I referenced back to my personal relationship with Delta. I also reminded her that she could hop off the plane and rent a car. In three short hours, she would be in the Big Orange. Instead she decided to tough through it. Bad Decision.

As we take off, Scaredy Catherine is gripping the arm rest. Thank Heavens I wiped it down for her. You could see her veins bulging through her meaty little hands. In her defense, this flight was pretty intense. The pilot came on the intercom moments after take-off and told us that we would not be able to get above the clouds so the trip would be rocky. When she heard this, she about lost it. I decided to pull out my notebook and start handwriting a script in an effort to make her think everything was all good. Deep inside, I was a little spooked myself. We hit a big patch of turbulence and she let go of the armrest and gripped my hand. Scaredy Catherine’s hand was soaked. This gal was genuinely terrified. The gal across the aisle from her, we can call her Xanax Girl, was a bit scared too. She took out her Xanax and decided to take one.

This is where they story gets good. Scaredy Catherine spots the Xanax, and I felt like I knew what was coming. She looks over to Xanax Girl and asked if she could have some. Still holding Scaredy Catherine’s hand, I asked her “do you normally take Xanax?” “Never,” she said. Hmmmmm….. I opted to keep my opinions to myself on this one. Xanax Girl tips the bottle of pills out for Scaredy Catherine and I see two little white pills in her hand. She looked at me, looked at the pills and looked in her bag for water. I said “I don’t have any water. Sorry.” She said “me either”. I was fired up to see what was going to happen next. She does one final look around before she pops the pills into her mouth and starts CRUNCHING them with her teeth. I asked her if it would have been more reasonable to build up some saliva and attempt to swallow them in that manner. She looked at me squinting from the extreme medicinal taste that comes with chewing Xanax. She said “I am hoping that by chewing it, it will work faster.” She actually had a decent point. For 15 minutes more she held my hand tightly while I attempted to write my script with one hand and a mechanical pencil. The flight continues to be insanely uncomfortable and I notice her hand loosing up just a bit. I turn my head and notice she is snoozing- passed straight out. We finish the flight with a terrible landing which abruptly woke her up, but again Delta got us there safely. Sweet Scaredy Catherine hugged me as we off-boarded the plane. She said “thanks for your help. I don’t fly often.” This was not shocking news to me.

Remember to always clean your tray tables!

 

The Masked Man

I’ve come to accept that I am a magnet for strange strangers. As previously mentioned, if I am not in First Class, I am the very last to board the plane. The thought of standing in the tarmac for 10 minutes just to sit in the same seat I am going to spend the next 4 hours in makes absolutely zero sense to me. This morning I was excited to be on a common commuter plane in Delta Comfort. Typically this means a nice, quiet flight which is good for my to do list but bad for my blog material. Today proved me wrong.

With only two minutes before the door shuts, I board my flight from Seattle to Atlanta. As soon as I step on, I see my seat. On the aisle is a stereotypical Seattle dude- beard, trendy hat, tattooed wedding ring, black faded jeans that fit just a little too tight and a worn grey hoodie partially covering his short sleeved plaid button up collared shirt. Beside him, and soon to be beside me, is a man wearing bright blue loafers, dark jeans with light stitching (not age appropriate) and a mint green plaid shirt under a blue and black plaid sport coat- chaos from the closet for sure. I could see his little chest hairs poking out of his button up shirt. He was also wearing one of those germ prevention masks. To be honest, those always confuse me. Is he wearing it to prevent getting sick or is he sick and wearing it as a courtesy to those around him? Any mask-wearers out there know the answer to that?

I settle into my window seat and wipe down my area. I got a new backpack so I asked for a blanket to line the floor with so I could set my new bag on something cleanish and take off my heels for a few hours. He looked at me and said “well that’s a good idea. I just wear this little mask to stay free of germs.” When he spoke to me, he removed the mask. That alone confused me. Next thing I know, the lady behind me asks the flight attendant for hot water for her “witch’s brew”. I look back and the gal seemed ordinary. When the flight attendant returned she asked what was in that? The Witch responded loudly with the ingredients and went on to tell the whole plane that she always pukes on planes and this “witch’s brew” tends to reduce the chances of this happening. Gross. What in the world is going on on this plane? It’s 9:00 am on a Tuesday for Pete’s Sake!

Now, back to the Masked Man. We will call him that. The Masked Man was “that guy”. You know, the one who was flashing his Delta status all over the place while whining about not having a first class upgrade and seeming in shock that he was in a middle seat. Dude, you are NOT that big of a deal; none of us are. Anyway, back to the story.

For the first time in a while, I was in a row where we were all a reasonable size. We each fit well in our space; however, the Masked Man leaned way too far into my space. He physically had his whole shoulder across my chest. I leaned toward the window hoping my body language would act as a form of communication. He tried to chit chat removing his mask for each spoken word. I, respectfully, responded but with short words removing my headphones only to answer and not reciprocating questions to further engage. He finally got the point, I thought. For the next 3 hours, he simply stared at me. You know that kind of stare where you feel it, and when you peek over they awkwardly look away? Yeah, that kind of stare. For 3 hours.  Oh I did get a minor stare break when they served food. He spent 20 minutes eating one single sandwich and making that gross noise where you put your tongue on your teeth and suck in. He made this noise both in and out of his mask. GROSS!

The awkwardness continued. I needed to get up to use the restroom. He politely got up with me as well and decided he would go to the restroom too. Oh goodie, I was hoping to stand in line with him. He went on to tell me that he was headed to Ecuador. Mind you, he is a white 50 year old man. When I asked why, he explained to me that he lives there- illegally. His Visa ran out but they haven’t figured it out yet. After this conversation, he continued with why he was in Washington. At this point, I still have headphones in yet the cord is dangling because it is attached to nothing. A simple attempt to deter exactly what was taking place. The Masked Man was visiting his brother who is a wine enthusiast. They enjoyed five bottles of wine last night together. Beyond just telling me this, he went on to show me the wine rankings on his wine app for each of the five bottles the consumed (insert eye roll emoji here). I asked him if he was hungover. He said he wasn’t. I told him that was impressive. Out of his pocket he pulled out a small jar of cream. He said “it is because of this marijuana cream I used. I rub it on my head and temples and it keeps me hangover free. Want some? ” How in the world does one meet a 50 year old staring white man in a mask who illegally lives in Ecuador, wears conflicting outfits and uses (and carries in his pocket through the airport) marijuana cream to prevent hangovers? I can’t make this stuff up.

Until next time, Always clean your tray tables!

The Masked Mant

First Classless

I think the Travel Blog Gods were among me when I decided to write this blog. Since I started Dirty Tray Tables last week, I have not had one single flight, Sky Club visit or Uber that was not interesting. Last Thursday, I was traveling from my hotel to my meeting with a coworker. The Uber driver got out to load our suitcases into his trunk. When we looked down we noticed, he was only wearing one shoe, and he acted like that was not odd at all. He loaded our bags, opened our doors and we were on our way. What I don’t understand is why he would wear one shoe? I say go all or nothing- wear both or embrace your inner hippie and wear none.  ShUber for the win!

As the day continued, it got even better. After my meeting, I headed on to the next town. If I am not in first class, I am typically the last to board the flight. I see no reason for me to race onto the plane when I can knock out 30 minutes of work or another Sky Club Chardonnay during boarding time. This day; however, I was first class, so I loaded up with the rest of the Fancy Pants. I was assigned to seat 4B which meant there were twelve other Fancy Fliers in front of me and two others to the side of me. As I was boarding, I noticed a situation boiling.

Main Character #1- There was a man in 4C, let’s call him “Charleston”. He was wearing nicely pressed khakis, those cute loafers with the little knobs on the heel with no socks, a belt with some sort of embroidered palm tree or fish on it, right leg crossed so that foot just barely crosses into the aisle, brown hair that was professionally longer and sporting a strong pastel dress shirt. I would imagine on the weekends he frequents low country boils and a variety of trendy brunch spots on King Street.

Main Character #2- There was a man boarding First Class right in front of me, seat unknown. Let’s call him “Dude”. Dude was wearing scraggly jeans, the kind with the extra big pockets and the hammer holders. The bottoms of them were frayed in the back due to them being too long. He was wearing black shoes with black laces, not sneakers but not dress shoes either; I don’t have a term for those types of shoes. His T-shirt was black with concert dates on the back, and you could tell it had been washed a couple hundred times. He sported a ball cap and was still wearing his sunglasses, the kind that have thick arms and wrap tightly to the face. His hair was short, but he was due for one of those mid haircut neck clean ups.

Charleston was settled in and fiddling on his iPad. I was in line behind Dude. Dude had a normal sized roller-board suitcase with a whole bunch of unnecessary straps flapping around and 3 of the bag tags you fill out when you check in your bag. Charleston was minding his own business when Dude started aggressively trying to jam his suitcase in the overhead bin. Mind you, this was First Class; there were plenty of open spaces for bags. He continues making a touch of a scene banging and huffing and making noise. Charleston removes his expensive sound-reducing headphones and politely said, “Hey man, need any help?” Dude came completely unglued! He started banging his bag and Charleston’s bag around. He said aggressively to Charleston “Maybe if your bag was TSA regulation size we wouldn’t be dealing with this situation (insert a line of bad words here). Charleston then stands up and starts to rearrange, and right before my eyes Dude shoves Charleston out of the way and continues to berate him about his bag size. Charleston remained calmer than I would have- classy southern upbringings I guess.

This is where I come into the story. Seeing as I ALWAYS check my bag, I tapped Dude on the shoulder. “Dude, I just have a backpack. Why don’t you put your bag in the WIDE OPEN bin above my seat?” Dude complied. Charleston was back in his seat, fancy headphones on, leg back crossed. Dude was settled down a bit with bag stored. Dude finally pulls out his phone to find his seat. He taps on Charleston’s shoulder and says “that’s my seat” pointing to the seat right next to him. What are the chances??? The awkwardness was too much for me to handle on a 2.5 hour flight, so I looked at the Dude and said (in my “I used to be a teacher” voice) “why don’t you take my seat, and I will sit in between the two of you. After all, I don’t mind a middle seat since I don’t have very broad shoulders”. Charleston was very thankful, and I spend the next 2.5 hours sitting in between Hatfield and McCoy.  As my dad always says “There is simply no substitute for class, first class in this case.”