So I’m heading to England. Not for pleasure—this is a business trip. Long ago, back when I worked for Routledge, I discovered that I dislike business travel. Unlike vacation planning where the possibilities spread out beautifully before you—for this is free time and you decide—business travel is, like Peter was told, “thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.” Indeed. Business travel is at the whim of the man, and you can’t really look forward to the sights, the relaxation, or even being given the choice of where to go. You’re on assignment. Or consignment, I can’t recall which. The carefully honed routine with which you hold back the chaos of the world is blown apart. It begins with the red eye.
You see, companies don’t like you to make your own travel plans. You might chose a flight that’s pennies more expensive than some itinerary that routes you through Albuquerque at four a.m. It’s not like you’ve got anything better to do, right? And since you’re exempt, we’ll take your Sunday, gratis. Where’s your team spirit? As I’ve grown older, I’ve become a creature of habit. The hour of the typical red eye is when I get up to write. That can’t be done in an airport, or on a plane, where everyone can see you. No, this is a private thing. Everyone else must be asleep. Most of them, preferably, in another house. So I’m flying to London and catch a late-night bus to Oxford.
Part of my worry, dear readers, is you. As this blog approaches its tenth birthday, I’ve been in the habit of posting daily for many years. Mostly at the same time—weekends and commuting days are exceptions, of course—and when you’re changing time zones you might do well to have Rod Serling with you. I can’t figure them out. British hotels, also, do not offer wifi in their rooms unless the boss wants you to pay extra for it. And considering the mandated flight behavior, that’s best just taken off the table. So, as I prepare to leave before sunrise on one of the longest days of the year, I don’t know if or when I’ll get to post over the next few days. I won’t even know what time it is. Like pay toilets, charging for internet access ought to be criminal these days. But opportunities to take money are everywhere. And those of us who travel for business always rely on the kindness of capitalists.