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October 24th, 2003

Yet another Friday out of town

Most of my business travel these days involves a Friday day out of town. When I first began doing travel from Dallas to the west coast, back in the 1980s, one could buy an airline non-stop ticket a few days in advance (plans change too often for me to risk advance purchase penalties) for sums that were entirely reasonable. In order to get affordable fares now, I have to buy one-stop tickets. This is okay with me, as I work to keep client expenses affordable and low travel expenses are part of the equation. I do not understand how the "full service" airlines stay in business, when a last minute fare can run 1500 dollars. So I fly the "bargain" airlines, and stop in desert intermediate cities.

The sheer number of flights back east seems to have dropped since the events of September 2001. I find that if my meeting ends after 2:30 p.m. or so, it can be a challenge to get back to the Dallas area at a reasonable hour. Sometimes I have to break my return into two pieces, and sometimes I have to fly to a more distant regional airport, rent a car, and drive home.

This year is the third year since I've opened my own business with a friend. I am glad to have the freedom of being a "name partner" rather than an employee or lesser partner. But when I face up to long night flights home, I remember that I pay some costs for the life I lead. It's hard to complain, though--it's good to have a job that I enjoy doing.

I also get a lot of reading done on the plane. I finished Franzen's "The Corrections" last night. Although "MFA" novels typically don't do much for me, this one proved entirely readable in the long run. There was one bit of extended bathroom humour that nearly lost me altogether. I am not much into bathroom humour.
But the final plot twists, though quite predictable, worked out nicely. Family dysfunction seems to replace the "coming of age" story as the new "right" thing to write about these days.

Now for a croissant, a meeting and then the plane.