The prompt I’ve chosen today is “A blog post inspired by the word: film.” It reminded me of a story I told in (very) brief a couple of years ago.
A lttle over thirty (!) years ago, I was working as a Technical Support Representative, or TSR, which also stood for “traveling social reject.” Our primary job was to install clients’ software for them, and also to troubleshoot when their software went haywire and we couldn’t talk them through any solutions that worked over the phone. One of the other services we offered was to go onsite and talk techie-to-techie and answer whatever questions they might have about the software. We were pretty much on the road all the time.
This one week, all I had on my schedule was a quick trip to Rochester, New York to visit Eastman Kodak (who makes film, thus the connection with the prompt) that Thursday. The trip was arranged and I had my tickets and hotel reservations all made. The client would pick me up at the hotel and drive me to the airport when we were done. Simple, straighforward, and easy, right?
Well, I got a call Saturday night from a guy I work with. Seems his wife’s car broke down and she didn’t know how to drive a car with a manual transmission, so he had to stay home for a couple of days. The problem was, he was supposed to be in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Monday to do an installation, and could I go and start the install for him? I said sure, no problem. We met at the office on Sunday so I could get the installation tapes, then he went home and I went to Grand Rapids, about a three hour drive from Chicago.
We had just gotten started with the install on Monday morning when I got a call from Mary. She told me that my Aunt Florence had passed away and that the funeral was on Wednesday. No, problem, I said; I was just there the two days, I’d be home Tuesday night, and we’d make the funeral.
Naturally, whenever you say something like that, you end up eating your words. The install was fraught with problems, and I didn’t leave until 2 AM Wednesday. I got home to Chicago at 4 AM and caught a short nap before we had to get up and drive to the North Side for the funeral. We made it with time to spare, attended the funeral, went to the cemetery, and begged off the luncheon afterward. I had to go to the office and get my tickets, Mary and I stopped for lunch, and we got home mid-afternoon.
I had hoped to get in a short nap before I left for the airport, but the caffeine and adrenaline I was running on prevented that from happening. I put a clean shirt, underwear, and a couple of toiletries into my briefcase, went to the airport and got on my 8 PM flight, chatted briefly with the flight attendant, and fastened my seat belt.
That’s the last thing I remembered until I was awakened by a ringing telephone. I opened my eyes and I was in a hotel room.
“Good morning, Mr. Holton, this is your six o’clock wakeup call,” a chipper female voice tole me.
“Can I ask a question?” I asked.
“Where am I?”
“The Radisson Rochester Airport. You came in with the flight crew.”
Evidently, I fell asleep before we took off. When we got to Rochester, the flight attendant I chatted with on the ground in Chicago woke me, asked where I was staying, and since that’s where the crew stayed, they brought me with them to the hotel. I had managed to check in, request a wake-up call, get to my room, get undressed (my clothes were tossed on a chair) and into bed. None of which I could remember.
I got dressed and was ready to leave, and I couldn’t find my room key. It was still in the door.