Sunday, September 14, 2008

Elusive Sleep

I'M HAVING SOME TROUBLE SLEEPING. This poses a problem, as I need to awaken tomorrow at 3:00 a.m. I have a sixish flight out of Newark to Central City, and I'm taking the unprecedented step of driving there and parking my car in an airport lot. I prefer to handle unknowns by padding them with lots of time in which to fuck up once or twice.

I'm throwing the company a vague bone in using my own car. The last time I traveled for them, they raised no complaints about my use of the car service with which the company contracts, at an expense of somewhere between $175 and $200 for transit to and from the airport. I'm a little nervous about the expense it takes to get me out there — between hotel and flight, nearly a grand — and I wonder how long it will be before they decide not to burden themselves with such an expense in the NYC area if they can just cut me out and hire locally, as they did when they relocated several titles out there.

I will get reimbursed for using the car at IRS rates, as well as for parking fees and tolls, but using Newark's parking garages is an unknown quantity to me. I have a map of the airport, and the route of a tram that appears to connect the garages with the Continental terminal. My parents quailed at the prospect of my leaving the car so near to Newark. For two days' worth, I figured it was worth a risk. Just as long as I don't come back to find a decomposing Mob figure in my trunk.

If the remnants of Ike don't screw up landing conditions in Central City, I ought to get there well before the opening of the office, and hours prior to the usual 3:00 p.m. check-in time at the hotel out there. I doubt I'll be able to claim my room that early, but I might be able to dump my bags across the street at the office, then use the hotel, then just sort of announce my presence as an eventual paying guest, and either use their gym facilities, or ask them to point me toward the nearest source of real food. The hotel boasts a breakfast buffet. As long as it has caffeine, I'm set. As for the check-in, I'm very tempted to see if they'll compromise with a noon room-claim, then cut over there at lunch and nap for an hour-and-change.

It's actually two meetings I need to attend, one Monday, one Tuesday. The Monday one will probably end up being something I could've attended via speakerphone. The second one affects design of the publication's website, and thus may have a visual component. They're setting up a computer for me out there so I can do work. For some bizarre reason, perhaps because we're ramming this month's issue through production to compensate for three workdays we'll lose to an industry convention at the end of September, I broke a major rule against working on weekends by updating the website from here. (And in record time, with no office distractions.) Granted, the Giants game was on during part of it. But I am a firm believer in not working for free. Still, with my parents trekking down to the Jersey Shore, and thus not present for our usual Sunday dinner, and no duties today save the gym, packing, and football, I wedged in a bit of work. For which I fully intend to take back time from the company at an opportunity of my convenient choosing.

Hell, between these couple of hours, and the time I'll need to burn tomorrow morning and Tuesday night getting my ass to and from the airport, they'll probably end up owing me the better part of a day. The only question is whether to take it as a full day, or to salami-slice bits off of several workdays and either cruise home through unobstructed streets or get 30 minutes more sleep each morning.

May this be the most difficult side effect of letting travel for a job crimp my free time. I'll just be happy if my car's intact when I return.

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