So I’m driving to Chapel Hill, North Carolina this week, and included in my luggage are some mixed feelings.
But first, some background:
There are two major reasons I’m driving 1,200 miles round trip instead of flying. First, as an experiment — does someone actually have to be bolted in their office to be productive, particularly if the work they are doing is mainly (a) thinking and advising; and (b) connecting and networking? We have great tools where I work: national broadband access, a virtual private network, VoIP phones. These tools, used intelligently, can be liberating; that is, since virtually none of my work is physical, the traditional “sit-at-your-desk-answer-your-phone” requirements don’t necessarily apply. I could make the argument that, although I am travelling on business, I am nearly as productive and “present” sitting in this hotel room as I am in my office for any given period of time.
Second — and here’s where I’ve packed the mixed feelings — I need to spend more time with my mistress.
Yes, it’s just a car. Owning it has made me a little neurotic, however, taking pride in silly little things like using it sparingly, never driving it in the rain, obsessing over its condition and cleanliness, and bragging about how few miles I put on it each season. In three years, I’ve put only 4,000 miles on it which, when you think about how much fun and joy the thing gives me, is a crying shame.
Yeah, right. So I need to get over that. This trip is the prescription.
I left Vermont yesterday afternoon a little later than expected (my wife had food poisoning, and the kids needed to be shuttled to various activities and obligations around town. Plus, I was procrastinating and still unsure I even wanted to go). It had been raining and overcast in the morning, but the weather broke and it was an absolutely stunning day for a drive.
Less than five miles out of town, I received an omen. A carload of teenage girls pulls alongside, squealing and giggling. One of them scrawls a note in lipstick on the passenger window of their Honda Civic; “I love your car” (only the word “love” was a heart. Awww…)
I think it’s going to be a good trip.