The sun is just starting to set, and you can just see the lights from inside the restaurants, bars, and cafes starting to spill out into the street. It’s muggy and the breeze is starting to pick up. As you turn you head you hear it rustle a couple of tables cloths. You reach for the black leather business case that is your constant companion. It’s never out of sight or line of your eyes. It’s not essential to your life, and the things you have accumulated inside are replaceable, but it is what you need to function. Eye drops, lip balm, spare glasses, sunglasses, two or three cords and adapters with each, pens, earplugs, various pain relievers, earphones with mic included, a set of spare business cards, passport, airport parking pass, valet ticket, mints, gum and of course a couple of spare golf tees. A few paper receipts from bars and coffee shops stick in the corners.
You slide the sleek Mac into the case and sling the briefcase confidently over your shoulder. You think about how it now feels weird when you don’t have it hanging off your back. The Uber says it has already arrived, but it’s New York, so you know better especially this time of day. The flight out is later but it’s during the week so it should not be so bad, you plan for enough time. You always do. A black car pulls up at the trunk pops open. You throw you other small black leather carry all in the trunk. As you sit and close the door earphones in you check and reply to a few emails and talk sports with the driver. You know they score customers too, but you could care a less. As usual, it’s parking lot to JFK. One of if not the greatest city in the world and it’s complete hell to get in and out. Other global cities would die of shame if they had the same issues. Maybe that’s just New York. “Don’t like it don’t show up, we’re doing just fine without you.” The car pulls up, and you conduct a bit of business as you grab your second case and head to the TSA line. It’s almost as long as the non-TSA one. At least it’s not San Francisco, where it always is, and it’s rude if you don’t let lazy and late people cut in line to make their flights. Maybe that makes the traffic more bearable. You sure as hell don’t cut the line at JFK, LaGuardia or Newark. You can always try. It’s fun to watch the polite ladies of “the region” let it loose every now and then. We are all indeed just part of the human race after all.
The line is remarkably quick, and you find a seat at you designated gate with “gasp” an electrical outlet. Bottle of water and a quick snack at your side. You check and see if you can borrow the wifi signal from the lounge a few yards away. Password entered you log in and check email again. Your calendar is color coded just for fun, and you raise your head looking around. Every person has their head down and is focused on some device. So the wifi access and lack of electrical outlets are for what humanitarian cause? Some bureaucrats well-lined pocket is your guess. It always is or it would get done in two seconds by the people who travel and use the services otherwise.
You scan your mobile ticket and head to the aisle seat up front. Easy in easy out with legroom. Life is indeed short. Call it a habit. Call it preference. Call it efficiency. Call it what it is. You reach under the seat and pull out the Mac. At least, the airlines are starting to understand that their customers need to work to pay for the tickets they purchase. Working on a plane is a damn fine use of time. Think about the time invested just to get on the plane, not to mention the flight itself. How much of an entire day is wasted? A smart airlines catch phrase should be ” Life is short get your ass on the plane and get some work done, we’ll get you there.” You are flying that airline. They know what’s up.
After you touchdown you Uber to your hotel, and of course its never the right time to check in. Ever. Bag checked, and of course, no free wifi, why on earth would that be necessary? You have a theory. The lights, HVAC, and water could go down or out in a hotel, and most people would not be too bothered. Shut down the wifi and the entire place empties in less than a half hour tops. Hitting the Maps button on your phone, you find a Starbucks nearby. The line is longish, and it’s loud and noisy but what else is new. They are that way in every city. At least the one you always seem to find.
You have three meetings scheduled this afternoon. Most are close enough to Uber to or walk if you hustle. A good friend knows you are in town and suggests you catch up later over drinks. They need to get out of the city and can’t stay too long. You look at some possible dinner spots. Another open invite is already a possibility; it may depend on what kind of food and night the interested parties are going for. Hammered and hung over do not make for fun travel companions. The hotel emails you with check-in confirmation. You tell them to have somebody take your bag up. After what seems like an eternity they confirm. What are you tipping for again? Do they just have to look at the bag to get paid, is that enough these days? A message comes back with confirmation from both drinks and dinner participants.
The meetings went as planned. Ruler of the world, business savant, maker of all business on the planet you take a quick swing by the hotel to get fresh and drop your computer. That thing does get a bit heavy after a long day. The bar is already busting loud when you enter. Handshakes and hugs. Conversations, kids, work and plans to connect up again. You look at your map and decide it’s close enough to walk. The city smells, they all do. Most of the time it’s not of flowers either. The dinner spot is made up of communal tables that line all the space including the corners. Wooden chandeliers hang big and low. It not so much talking as it is mild shouting at dinner. Of course, only special types of local and regional wines are served. Yes, it’s good, but it still tastes about all the same to you. It’s starting to get late, and you are in the real world time zone, so it’s hitting you harder than usual.
The hotel is nice, neat and clean. And for what is considered mid-level pricing it should be at least that. You pull out the Mac again checking and updating some more. The tv is on to keep you up and informed just in case. Sleeping is sleeping, but this is what a partial coma must feel like. Turning towards the window it just can’t be, but yes it is, the sun is starting to shine through as you head into the shower so it must be morning and you wonder what concrete muffin and stale hot beverage awaits down stairs. All for $17.99. What a deal.
A full slate of meetings and a couple of Uber rides later you are back at the hotel with a spare hour or so. Bag next to you and Mac in your lap you make sure to keep up. Good thing you always remember to bring your tether. The Uber arrives on time. Of course, it’s not New York. The airport is just as busy as any, and the lines all seem never to end, even the TSA. The mobile ticket beeps, and you head back for that coveted front aisle seat. You nod off for a bit on the way back. Lights flashing bells dinging you can almost make out some body of water. Must be getting close. Landing quite softly you taxi in and of course, have to wait for about ten minutes to get in line to get to your gate. Uber on the phone again and the driver keeps asking where you are standing. You wonder how many times he’s been to the airport. Where do you usually pick of half the planet arriving at JFK in New York? How hard can it be? Another forty-five-minute ride to get out of the tunnel and towards the Upper East side. More emails and more calendar additions. Meetings and possible drinks and networking at some industry event tomorrow. Three in office meetings and a company call wedged in between.
It’s the Glamor and allure of far away places.
Beaches lounge chairs and fruity drinks.
It’s the digital age.
Untethered and connected to the world.
Robots will soon do it all for us.
We will have time to do whatever we desire.
Save the world. Save the Planet.
Save puppies and kittens.
Flying around in autonomus electric cars.
Not a care in the world.
We live in the future.
The Life Of A Digital Nomad And All The Glamour That Goes With It.
+1 See how pretty I can write when I try.
+1+1 All clean and shiny and professional and shit!