Random thoughts while traveling: Nor(fick)

This is me, packed for a business trip.  I pack exactly enough.  EXACTLY enough.  I’m getting good at that and it’s a little sad.

No makeup in the luggage (there’s no point).  It just takes up space.  No contact lenses because I lost the last one in a toilet incident and I don’t have an appointment until the weekend.  My glasses don’t stay on my nose and that makes me anxious.  What if I have to run from kidnappers?  The glasses will surely slow me down.  At least I am wearing running shoes.

Here we go again on the gameshow, Speed Dating: Uber/Lyft Edition.  I’m going to make things up about myself because I always have the same conversations.  I don’t think I can say “I’m from Laos, I do clinical research” one more time.  Unfortunately, I’m bad at making things up.

Awake since 3am, no food, no coffee, just move. Just get there.

I had it all planned out. The fog said: screw your plans. Diverted to RIC, waited on the plane, de-planed, waited at the gate. Finally, it cleared enough to fly back to ORF.

The clouds are just hanging there still, low to the ground.  I am sweating.  I lost my hair ties in a security incident and I’m not going to survive 3 days with my hair down.  The hotel is great but does not sell hair ties in their convenient store.  Just ice cream.  I stared at mint chocolate chip in deep contemplation for 5 minutes.

Rushed to the office which is, thankfully, a 5-minute Uber ride.  I’d walk but I need to be there ASAP and I’m afraid of kidnappers because of the glasses situation, remember?

I’m training this new girl and I’m a sweaty mess and I feel like I am nothing but wayward hair.  I keep getting worrisome emails and voicemails from the office back home and it finally hits me that I am having a quiet panic attack.  I can feel it because of the sickness in my chest that sinks slowly to my stomach, where it swells and I can almost feel acid eating through the gastric lining.

I am calm on the outside but I think this is why people like me get ulcers.  Everything gets bottled up.  I might have H. pylori.  I handle the rest of the day but rush back to the hotel as soon as I’m able.  I order Uber Eats (the introvert’s BFF on the road), sink into the couch, and binge on Netflix with a box of khao pad kra prao goong and lettuce wraps.  I have a go-to Thai place and must eat here every time I’m in Norfolk.

Next day is much, much better.  New girl loves to talk about rare, fascinating diseases just as much as I do. We cover a lot of material.  She bought me hair ties.  She is a modern day hero.

I celebrate the good day with a trip to Waterside and watch Robin Williams from a bar, eating poké with a glass of sauvignon blanc and try not to make any eye contact though I’m sure the bartender and I would be friends if I stayed for one more glass.  The first bowl of poké has no spicy tuna – the main ingredient.  I don’t complain about my food, like, ever.  But I point it out and they bring me a new bowl with the chef’s apologies and it has doubled in size.  Imaginary fist pump.

Thursday is half day at the office, half day of traveling and I rush to get through security while answering frantic phone calls and texts. I burp up pav bhaji the whole time, leftovers from Tamarind that I ate for lunch 2 days in a row.

My head starts to hurt if I wear glasses for too long so I take them off in Charlotte (reference: contact lenses toilet incident).  For the first time I realize that this makes me less self-conscious because I can’t see faces, just blurry, moving blobs of color and it’s like when you’re a kid and you think hiding under a blanket makes you somehow invincible because if you can’t see the ghosts, they can’t see you either.  I have to put the glasses back on to make sure I’m at the right gate and, later, to make sure I find the right luggage carousel.  But by then I’m too tired to care about much of anything anyway.

 

 

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