This week I am in LA at a conference for businesses with social good. It’s an amazing time with fellow business owners getting refilled with inspiration and tangible tips. But that also means living in a hotel room, in the city, with a view of parking garage roof tops and the mirage of all night lights that disturb my “sleep with the curtains open” preference.
This morning I’m realizing it also disturbs the direction of my thoughts and memories. As I sit down to write, all my thoughts are of past business trips, pending to-do lists, and how the hotel internet is not really meant for working…and it’s not fast enough for streaming cat videos, so I’m really not sure what it is for.
Past work trips continue to flood my thoughts... When I lived in a hotel for 10 months before leaving for Guantanamo Bay. Room service burgers called in on my drive from work just before the restaurant closed at midnight. Living in a bed and breakfast in Half Moon Bay for half the year, changing rooms each week to hopscotch real vacationing guests. Making a mini-fridge with duck tape and Styrofoam at the hotel that refused to provide one, since they didn’t allow long term stays (the same hotel that had me booked for over a month). How this time back in 2009 I closed up my house, shut off all services, took the pup to GrandPaws and left to teach regulatory compliance around the EU for a few months. Staying less than 3 days in each town - travel day, teach day, travel day. Some times in towns so small, the only English spoken was by me and my interpreter. Which was the case, when I was ban from buying oranges.
On a rare non travel or teaching day, I was wandering around town and stopped in the local store to get snacks for a picnic. Cheese, apples, oranges, fresh pretzels. As I was checking out, the cashier asked me something in German, before I could even open my translation book, she snatched just the oranges from the counter. Then said something else in German with an abrupt hand wave and “you idiot” look, that I obviously should have understood, she shooed me out of the store.
Wait?! Are non-locals not allowed to buy oranges? Are you not allowed to buy them in less than a bunch? Do they not pair well with the cheese I bought? Do they need to be in a paper bag instead of the plastic bag? Are they poison? DAMN IT, I don’t want scurvy!
Sadly, I will never know and I still crave those oranges.
Through all my work trips, the one thing that stays the same - How quickly I crave fresh fruits and vegetables and home cooked meals. Not that I cook at home every night, but somehow the option being removed, makes me quickly long for it. I want hotel room mini bars full of local farm produce and to choose to eat out, not be required to.
I’ll be home Sunday, and we have a dinner event to attend. But I guarantee I will look in the fridge, seriously contemplate ditching the event to make a dinner at home.. Then Mike will remind me we have to leave and I’ll snag a radish for the road.