I am an awful business lady.
I cried every night I was away on my business trip.
I was staying at a big, shiny hotel in a big, shiny shopper's paradise and I had access to big, shiny stores like Trader Joe's and DWR and Apple and still I cried the whole time I was away, breaking only for short bits to go and do, you know, work.
The tears I blame mostly on the series finale of Six Feet Under. But, in case you were wondering, it is possible to come down with a case of Lost in Translation, even if you are in the same time zone as home and even if you are only gone for three days and even if you do not meet Bill Murray. I was completely shocked by my reaction and spent much time sitting on my hotel bed crying and then pausing to wonder what the hell happened to me and where all the tears came from.
But come they did. I flew into Ohio on Sunday and arrived to sunny skies and cool breezes and hopped in the rental car and drove the 5 minutes to my hotel. I spent a few minutes realizing how BAD I am at business travel as I sat in the car and debated whether or not valet parking was covered by my per diem and also debated where I would park if it were not, as there appeared to be no other option. I decided my company would be okay with the $10 and left my shiny blue Mazda with the valet and checked in. I entered my room and realized that I AM ALL ALONE AND HAVE NOTHING TO DO AND I AM FREE AND CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT. The only commitment I had made was to watch the Six Feet Under finale later that night. But, I had almost an hour until it began and there were MANY Yuppie Chain Restaurants just outside my door. I placed an order with Yuppie Upscale Chain Italian restaurant and then walked around a bit while waiting for my food. I spotted Trader Joe's across the shopping center/village/complex/campus and was powerless to resist. I love suburban grocery stores the way tourists love Macy's at Herald Square. SO BIG! Such wide aisles! WINE IN THE STORE!!!??? I stood in the aisle with all nutty-crunchy shampoos and soaps and face creams and debated the merits of doing all my grocery shopping in Ohio. In the end, I bought granola bars and carrots and grapes and chocolate covered peanuts and cheap fucking wine and water and yogurt and I had to stop myself from buying quesadillas and cereal and frozen organic pizza because what kind of person GROCERY SHOPS while in Columbus for work FOR THREE DAYS. We do actually have food in New York; it's just that shopping at Trader Joe's makes me so happy.
Then I walked out of Trader Joe's with a heavy bag laden with groceries and realized that I had a full grilled chicken dinner waiting for me at the Italian restaurant.
Then I got back to my hotel room and realized there was no mini-bar, therefore no corkscrew for the wine or refrigeration for the yogurt.
Then Six Feet Under was coming on so there was no time to worry about those things; I had to get my food organized in tiny little piles and stations around me, and I had to GET COMFORTABLE and PAY ATTENTION because it was the SERIES FINALE and if there is one thing that I love it's a dramatic conclusion.
Then someone punched me in the gut, over and over again, and even Entourage could not make me stop crying.
I sobbed - big, ugly, heaving sobs - until 3:30 in the morning, in a hotel room with a window that overlooked the onramp to the highway and a mauve bedspread covering a giant bed and I could not stop crying. Not when I called my husband. Or when I called him again. Or when he called me to see if I had calmed down. Sobbing, the kind of tears that make your head hurt and your nose stuffed and your back ache. "I just...sniff sob wah wah sniff...think that maybe... snort wah slerp sniff...my whole life... wah wah sniff sniff sob...is MEEEAAANINNNGGLEESSSS... wah wah WAH..." I cried to Kent. "I just...wah blerch wah bwerrh sniff...miss...glurp wah wah snort...MY FAMILY...." I sobbed. "And someday...bwarch snort gulg...everyone we know...sob sniff sniff wah...is going...wah wah wah...to die!" I heaved. Isn't that a Flaming Lips song, Kent asked.
I'M SERIOUS AND CAN'T YOU TELL THAT I AM UPSET AND CRYING AND I'M ALL ALONE IN A HOTEL ROOM AND WHY CAN'T YOU WATCH SIX FEET UNDER FOR ME AND THEN WE CAN TALK ABOUT I WATCH YANKEES GAMES FOR YOU AND YOU DON'T LOVE ME ENOUGH TO WATCH MY SHOWS AND SOMEDAY THE DOG IS GOING TO DIE AND WHY DID WE GET A DOG IT'S TOO SAD TO HAVE A DOG BECAUSE THEY DIE WE ALL DIE MY MOM WILL DIE TOO AND THE DOG AND CAN'T YOU TELL THAT I AM SAD
Yes, Kent said, I can tell VERY CLEARLY that you are upset because it is 1:00 a.m. and you are sobbing in the phone and you need to PULL IT TOGETHER because you have to be at your meeting in six hours.
I DON'T CARE ABOUT WORK I'M NOT GOING LIFE IS TOO SHORT FUCK WORK AND MY MEETING I AM SAD AND LONELY AND HAVING A BREAKDOWN.
Baby, you can't skip your meeting, Kent said. You will get in trouble and you know how much you hate getting in trouble...
I do hate getting in trouble. So eventually I sort of calmed down enough to get off the phone. Of course, as soon as I was off the phone and in the dark, I started crying again, and had to call my husband again.
IT'S MEEEEE.....I sobbed into the phone.
I figured, Kent said.
I tried to tell him what it was that was making me so upset, but it was hard, because EVERYTHING was upsetting me. I was homesick and I missed my family and I was lonely and I want so badly to do something significant and my room was cold and my brothers live far away from me and I live in New York and feel unsettled and have no roots and no stability and no long term plan or vision and am tired of living day to day and what if one day, my friends aren't there for me, after convincing myself that they always will be?
Then the alarm went off and I had to get up and go to work.
That night, because I am a stupid, stupid person, I watched the replay of the Six Feet Under episode. And yep, cried and cried again. Called husband again, sniffled into phone again that I AM SAD AND LONELY AND WAH WAH WAH WANT TO COME HOME AND DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE SAD AND LONELY PART.
This time, Kent was more prepared. Yep, you sure are sad but listen to me! I met with mortgage lender today and we can afford Certain Dollar Amount on a loan and I emailed the owners of that apartment we looked at that time and blah blah blah I CAN PROVIDE ROOTS AND STABILITY PLEASE STOP CRYING, he said.
Eventually, I did stop crying but I was still in that hotel room with the view of the highway and I still wanted to be with him and my dog and why didn't he understand that sometimes crying was GOOD and that if he would watch the show he would know WHY I was crying and then we could just move on and start talking about where he wants to eat for his birthday or something.
And then the alarm went off again.
By the time I was at the airport, I wanted to weep with joy. I have spent my entire life fighting for independence but as soon as I was truly on my own, I fell apart. I lost all sense of when to eat and sleep and I felt like a kid at sleep-away camp for the first time. When I was seven I went on vacation with my best friend and her family. We drove to LA and stayed at her grandmother's house and went to Disneyland and I got so homesick I threw up and even though my friend's parents bought me cool aviator sunglasses with a lavender sunglass-holder-necklace thingy, I cried and cried and cried and just wanted to go home.
Which is basically how I felt on this trip. Not at all the Business Lady image I was hoping for.