Sunday, November 1, 2009

Almost home

Even the easiest travels can take a lot out of you. The weariness grows exponentially when there are problems -- cancellations, rebooking, standby, missed connections, delays.

Yet at some point you're so grateful that you're going to make it home at last, that all the issues and frustrations become small in comparison.

Right now I'm sitting in the Little Rock airport -- ironically half an hour earlier than I was originally scheduled to arrive -- waiting for my colleague who's giving me a ride home. He ended up on a later flight after our plane out of DC got canceled, leading to a flurry of rebooking. On the bright side, we all ended up in first class for the 757 we took from DC to Atlanta an hour later than planned. On the down side, we weren't sure we would get on our flights to Little Rock since we didn't have seat assignments at the time of rebooking.

We got separated in Atlanta, and I snagged a seat on the earlier flight. So there's nothing for it but to take advantage of some free wi-fi. Everything's closed here at 8 pm; only two more planes are scheduled to land. The only sound is the TV in the bar showing the World Series game.

Once my colleagues show up, we'll have to wait for their bags, then drive back to Conway. I'll be home just in time to take a shower and go to bed in preparation for taking Archer to school early tomorrow for the first meeting of his running club. Then there's a full day of classes and meetings at school, culminating in a film I'm showing in the evening. Two days later, I'm on the road again.

All I can really look forward to is checking in with students and family, shaving a bit off the mountain of work these trips are causing me to miss, and then putting everything on hold once again. I'm halfway through these two weeks of intensive travel, and I can take pride in the great work we did at the conference just concluded -- including the half-day workshop we led for about 30 faculty and administrators this morning. Getting back to normal will be a chore just as daunting as any of the preparation and execution of these trips has been.

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