Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Road Trip

Often as part of my job, I get to do field visits and daylong ‘road trips.’ Yesterday was one of those days…with one teeny-weeny little exception. My boss (code name Boss Hogg) went along with me. Now I’ll preface all of this by stating right up front that I enjoy working with my boss immensely and I like his company, but the thought of driving him around and allowing him to see the way I do business was a little intimidating. Please keep in mind that I used to bet people in high school that they could run over my foot with their cars without me getting hurt, so it takes a lot to intimidate me, except when it comes to urinal cakes. Those things freak me out and turned me off of cake eating forever.

The day didn’t quite get off to the start I had hoped for. As usual, most of the reason for that lay squarely on my own shoulders. I’m a fan of the Beach Boys and I happen to know that Boss Hogg is as well. So, I stopped on the way in to buy the new Beach Boys CD yesterday. Of course there is no such thing as a new Beach Boys CD, it’s just the same songs in newer packaging, but I thought it might please Boss Hogg. Since I was already running late yesterday morning, I figured it wouldn’t harm my case any by stopping in at Target anyway. 45 minutes, two Beach Boys CDs, two packs of mints, three new t-shirts, one bag of charcoal and a Frank Sinatra style fedora (that I already have returned) later, I got into the office. I strolled into my padded cubicle and my boss was happily and patiently sitting there waiting for me. I apologized for my usual tardiness and mumbled something about my sick cat (who died a month ago) as the reason (yes, excuse) for being late.

When it was time to leave the office, it was intimated that I would be driving. Here’s what intimated sounded like: ‘Michael, you’re driving, right? Where are you parked?’ We got into my truck and I told Boss Hogg about my new Beach Boys CD, I put it in and then he asked about my performance and my clients. Yes! This day was going to be a lot of fun. As if the bad start to my today wasn’t enough of a hint that I should have called in sick, I found myself going the wrong direction on the freeway. Now certainly we have all done that from time to time, but it’s not always that we have the boss with us and find ourselves heading in the direction of home. There wasn’t much I could say other than ‘oops, it’s just a habit I guess.’ It was only after uttering that when I realized giving my boss the impression that every time I’m in the field it’s a habit to drive home might be a bad thing.

Once we got past that, I had about an hour of smooth sailing. We met with our first client, it went well and then Boss Hogg said we should go get some lunch. Again, that’s an invitation for awkward. We found an exit that had a lot of restaurants and fast food places and decided to get off there. Then he asked where I wanted to eat. I had a dilemma. Do I choose bad fast food, which would convey I don’t care about what I put in my body, do I choose a fancy restaurant knowing that by company rules he would have to pay for my expensive meal or do I choose something middle of the road? I was really craving ice cream, but decided that was out of the question. I also didn’t want to give him the old ‘I don’t know, what do you want to eat’ line. Fortunately after about 10 minutes of indecision, he decided that the Sizzler salad bar sounded good. I thought I performed fairly well having only gone back twice and had yet to spill anything on me. I also tried a witty remark on him when I came back from the dessert bar by saying ‘you know, soft serve ice cream is really the underappreciated ice cream.’ I thought it was clever but it had clearly missed the mark.

Merging back onto the freeway once again showcased my real ability to Boss Hogg. As I was trying to show him my excellent accelerating skills, he politely said to me in a very nice tone that I needed to watch out because I was about to hit the vehicle in the lane I was merging into. Let’s be honest, there is no real way to recover from that. I laughed, said oops and proceeded to cut off the car behind me. It probably didn’t help much when that rather upset motorist sped around us as I waved to him. If anything, Boss Hogg will remember me as one friendly guy.

A little later we discovered (actually he discovered) that I had gone too far past our next destination, which happened to be on a pretty well traveled 4-lane highway. Knowing that this was the time to salvage my reputation as a good driver, I executed a perfect illegal u-turn and then again somehow went past our destination. At least this time I was on the correct side of the road, right? No big deal I thought, so I engaged my hazard lights and reversed back towards our client’s driveway. Turns out I’m not good at this, either. I kept straying into the lane of the traffic trying to pass me. Wow are big rigs’ horns incredibly loud.

Finally, our trip was over and we were free to head back towards our office. Boss Hogg said he felt it had been a very productive day and that he felt good about the trip. That is probably where I should have thanked him again for lunch, for traveling with me and just agreed with him. Unfortunately, that type of logical, clear thinking didn’t occur to me until this morning. Instead, I told him we should just blow off the last two hours of the day and go bowling because that’s what I usually do. Yeah, he didn’t laugh…

21 comments:

Patti said...

You certainly had an interesting trip with the boss. He needs to lighten up a bit.
Remarkably today you are still employed.
Good for you!

Michael C said...

Patti: My boss is a great guy. I'm just a slacker idiot ;-)

Patti said...

does he read your blog?

Michael C said...

Patti: He used to.

Cece said...

Ok, I *hate* carpooling with my co-workers to off site meetings/events. I cannot imagine how much I'd hate driving anywhere w/my boss! Glad you survived!

Ralph said...

Geez, what a trip...is this like The Rockford Files where James Grner does a 180 wat 60 MPH with the Firebird to change direction, I mean, these were in greater LA...Or was this like CHIP's with the fantastic/stupid car wrecks in SoCal, I used to watch this about 30 years ago. Hey, can you actually go fast enough with the traffic on the freeways (the 91, the 405, Harbor, etc)to actually get into trouble?

Michael C said...

Cece: Carpools - it's what brings us together ;-)

Ralph: I live 5 minutes from the 91 and no, you usually can't go fast enough to have your car get airborne and flip over to the point that John and Ponch need to show up. It's funny how slow all those wrecks occurred, isn't it?

Ralph said...

Well, the Director's slo-mo cut including CHIP's) is the most stylish and artistic, isn't it?

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

One of my ex-boss was very unpopular because he wouldn't stop talking and everything he said was caustic or negative and he always wanted the listener to agree with him. Once when faced with a 4 hour road trip, the team drew straws to find out who was driving the boss. I was the sacrificial lamb. Imagine two cars. First car has a dark cloud following it and the second car was having a fiesta!

Michael C said...

Ralph: Yes, it must look great on DVD!

Lone Grey: If the cloud from the one car started raining, would the happy 2nd car have had to drive through it?
;-)

Odat said...

"...big rigs' horns are incredibly loud..."
This sound like a classic slap stick comedy routine....
btw, you're working tomorrow???
ahahahaha.
Peace

Michael C said...

Odat: Yeah, they haven't asked me not to come in yet...maybe Friday will be the day ;-)

mist1 said...

The Beach Boys have a new CD? Aren't they like 100 years old?

Michael C said...

Mist: You're thinking of the Rolling Stones. The Beach Boys are in their 80s.

Patti said...

the ones who are still alive, anyway

captain corky said...

It became evident to me that you were in for a rough day when Boss Hog suggested the Sizzler salad bar.

Erica AP said...

Haha... You are so funny. :)

Michael C said...

Patti: Yeah, being a boy on the beach is apparently a little deadly.

Captain: No kidding, I've still got indigestion.

Erica AP: Thanks, I'm also pretty unlucky ;-)

kat said...

Ugh - I get squeamish (yes I really do) thinking about how tense it must be to drive your boss around in your car. You aren't just under boss pressure, but driving performance pressure too.

Blech.

Michael C said...

Yeah, I'm real bad with driving pressure. Real bad!

FRIGGA said...

That's funny - I don't like driving with ANYONE in my car. I'm the stereotypical bad woman driver so I think they appreciate when I DON'T offer to drive.