Where the sewing machines are

For such an indpendent old cuss, who spends most of his time wishing people would just leave him alone, I have found out this week that I don't do real good "alone". The person I have felt closest to up here has been the waitress in the hotel restaurant. She's been on duty for every meal, which seems like too many hours, has a smile all the time, and has dawdled at my table to pass a few friendly words about books and food and weather. But, she has dawdled. And, not many other people have done that. Not their fault. They're busy on other projects and the project I'm here to rollout, for them, is done.

It wasn't like that in 1990 when I made my first trip to Cleveland. I was in the thick of it. Came up to test the product for 6 weeks in February, before it rolled out. That was the first time I saw snow...real snow, not the light powdering we get in the deep south, but knee deep snow. I was so involved and I met so many people and made so many friends in the time I was here. But, with 6 weeks, I had time to really get to know people and find kindred spirits. And, I didn't really have much going on at home that I was looking that forward to getting back to. I was young and stupid and not at all the distant and quiet man I've become, so I'm sure that meeting people had a lot to do with how much I was willing to put out there and now I'm old and shy and would rather focus on the family I have at home than meeting new people in a city far away.

It's funny how smoking cigarettes created a circle of people, and in the time 3 or 4 times a day that we spent 10 minutes together, we shared things. I wonder if smokers still do that or if they are ostracized to their smoking huts so much that there isn't time to actually meet their fellow smokers. But, anyway, I met people and we got close and we shared time together, both on and off the company clock. And, those people wanted to show me things. Like my first Jewish deli, and my first taste of home made ginger ale, and real Italian food.

Nowadays, when I travel for business, it's not about being where I am. It's all about getting home to what I left behind. I count the minutes until the workday is done and then do everything I can to pass the evening time so I can sleep those hours away, ignorant of the passing minutes, and get to the next day, which gets me closer to home.

Maybe it is that I didn't plan a quilt shop hop for this trip. Maybe that would have made things more fun. But, there isn't really money for that right now and goodness knows that there is not one thing in those shops that I can't live without. But, it would have made the time pass faster.

I wonder how I did it in 1990. I didn't quilt then, nor did I knit. And, I was here every other weekend. How did I fill the time? And, why wasn't I as anxious to get home then as I am now?

I remember that on one of those weekends, I went in search of the Amish. I asked the hotel housekeeper if she knew of a community and she sent me somewhere. But, I didn't find them. I did, however, see a sign for Niagara Falls and I drove there. That was a nice side trip, except that it was February and the "coat" that I took was nothing more than a heavy lined sweater that my Mom never liked.

And, I had dinner with Beth, the smoker friend that I met up here, one night. And, I remember driving all the way across town to get to a club that was supposed to be a "gay hangout" and turned out to be an old man hangout during happy hour and a teen bar at night. That wasn't any fun.

But, now, 20 years later, I spend my time watching television and basting hexagons (70 of them) and waiting until it's time for the next thing to happen. Shower at 6:30, breakfast at 7:15 (yes, I'm running late), office at 8:30, lunch at noon. And, at the end of those things, the trip back home, where I want to be. Where the man and the child are. Where the sewing machines are.

Okay, so today's WBW hasn't been about any one specific thing, but rather about me musing over how different I was 20 years ago, when I took my first business trips. I guess that attests to how hard it is for me to focus on anything except getting through the day and climbing into my own bed tonight.

Hope you have a great Wednesday and if you have the chance, set the clock forward 15 minutes for me. If everyone out there does just 15 minutes, I'll be home before you know it. Lane


Shevvy said...

People who never travel with work think it is all glam and fun but that is so far from the reality. It's usually cheap hotels and meal allowances and spending evening on your own or with work colleague who want to spend the time talking about work more!
Don't get me wrong, I've had a lot of fun nights out and made some good friendships but the novelty soon wears off. Its even worse I think if you are spending weekends somewhere as you try and fill the days as well.
I aways feel when I'm away that I'm killing time until I can get back to my real life, I don't blame you at all for missing home.

lw said...

When I was traveling for Boeing, I would always find a fun destination in the city I was traveling to: museums like the Peabody or shopping at Fanuil Hall in Boston, the Tiffany Museum in Wintergarden (on the way back to the Orlando Airport.) I would book the flight to give me a four hour window. The last trip I took gave me six hours in Colonial Williamsburg before heading back to the airport. I spent so much time in Boston that I was able to use my frequent flyer miles and bring my husband there for a vacation one October and show him the sights. But you're right that nothing changes the fact that the husband, the doggies and the sewing machines are at home.

oldbatt said...

I agree with you Lane, even when I traveled a little for my job 10 years ago, I just wanted to be home. There is even a specific song that when I hear it I think of that trip and just wanting to be back home with my husband and dogs! Now it's husband, kids, dogs, cats and chickens but it makes me feel good to have such a warm place to call home with a small room of my own for my passion. Hope you are home soon too! Lisa