Meanwhile, back in London…
The first of several uncharacteristic Minor Business Travel Inconveniences struck as I waited for over two hours in the FastTrack passport control line at Heathrow yesterday. If you’re at all familiar with T5 at LHR, you may know the Passport Control set-up. The FastTrack line was so full it had to be split into two waiting areas.
As I finally made it up to the border kiosk, I was told by the agent who checked me through that I needed a visa because I had too many business entries. I probably shouldn’t write about that. Especially since that’s not the first time I’ve been told that, and I remedied it previously by changing my name on my passport.
(NB: I am kidding here. I presume that they know I am the same person when they actually scan the thing.)
But I didn’t sleep very well on the plane, which was unusual. This was more of a last-minute trip; the mid-week planning and additional travel is still up-in-the-air (no pun intended). Further, our London assistant was out on Monday, and I am completely, pathetically lost without her.
The second of several Minor Business Travel Inconveniences came as I was trying to get from LHR to my hotel to check in; change; and head to the office. I was somewhat glad I hadn’t scheduled any meetings yesterday. Even though I’d landed just after 7am, it was nearly 10am as I was leaving the airport, and it became apparent that I’d be lucky to make it into the office around 11. But as the driver made it into West London, I noticed he was headed for my office, not my usual hotel.
Excuse me, are you taking me to my office, or my hotel? I asked.
I’m taking you to [Name of Hotel That Wasn’t The Hotel I was Usually Booked Into], came the reply.
Had I made a mistake? Did I mis-read the itinerary? And our assistant was out, and my blackberry had JUST died. No one would be in the office in New York, and the best I could do was call my USUAL hotel and see if they had a booking for me. Except I’d stupidly forgotten to save their number into my iPhone (since I’m such a tech disaster, I do carry two phones), and the number on their website didn’t work.
I called the travel agent’s after-hours-emergency hotline as a last resort.
They confirmed that the driver had been misdirected that the booking was at my usual digs. So we were off. I checked in quickly, and raced to the office, since I knew I had a backlog of work that had been hurled across the transom from all over Europe, and a pile of things I’d put off from Friday as well.
I was tired.
After a day at the office, I retired to the hotel and tried to work for an hour from the lounge. But there were no TVs, and I had spent the last week or so peculiarly in the mood to watch Euro Cup football.
(Is this bizarre? I don’t know. Someone who knows me, please weigh in. It’s not like I have players or countries I follow — it’s just fun to watch, I guess?)
Also, while I usually suffer jetlag on the back end of travel, I was peculiarly exhausted on thefront end this time, and as we all know, jetlag makes me weepy. I was in no shape to be around other humans. So I went up to my room and ordered a light dinner. Which I proceeded to make into a heavy, salty dinner by raiding the mini-bar and consuming every nut product in sight.
At which point, I fell asleep in front of the TV.
And then, gentle readers, somewhere in the night, the third of three Minor Business Travel Inconveniences took place. If you follow me on Twitter, this is a situation of which you are already aware. I am not even sure I would classify this as an inconvenience, so much as a total oddity. After I’d passed out, housekeeping came in to turn down the bed. Except, I was already occupying it — probably sprawled on top of the covers, with my computer and the TV on, and the lights up on bright.
Instead of turn-down service, I received…tuck-in service? Someone replaced the bottled water, and turned down the lights, and pulled up the covers, and left a note explaining why the turn-down was not completed.
So. That happened. If there hadn’t been a note, I’d probably never had known or thought the whole thing a dream.
I’m not sure what to make of this. And I think I had been vaguely aware that someone had come into the room — but I thought I’d been dreaming. If you are friends with me in real life, you know that I am notorious for many things, but two stand out: 1) my errant text messages, and 2) my vivid dreams. That I would imagine someone coming in to tuck me in would be so ordinary; so not bizarre as to be an unreportable, unremarkable event.
I like to consider myself a standoffish, prickly woman who radiates a look/don’t touch attitude. However, since I have in the last month been carried through Schipol airport, and now, been tucked into bed like a little princess, I have to accept that there is something about me that says Touch.
In sum, please pardon my language when I say, what the fuck.