Thursday, August 02, 2007

A good night for tippling...

...except that it's not a good night for adult-beverage consumption, since the nights when you feel the strong desire for booze are exactly the nights when you should stay away from the stuff.

So I'll sit here and whine instead.

There's the money thing, of course...when is that not a pain? While I wait for clients to pay up, I get these charming calls from the telephone company ("You will pay this bill tomorrow, won't you?") whose script-reading minions do not understand phrases such as "I'm not promising anything...if I get a check tomorrow, you get your share of it" or similar attempts at explaining that I am not always solvent and have long ago learned not to depend on anyone paying me when they should. Especially when the time some should have paid passed a long time ago.

The situation is not made better, I admit, by my current inability to write even dull space-filling articles. I spent too much of today trying to crank one out that refuses to emerge from my brain. I'm not even being picky -- heaven knows this particular magazine showcases some of the hack-est of hack writers -- but I can't even reach their level of mediocrity right now.

And then there's a trip that was just added to my calendar. It is, I suppose, a consolation prize of sorts offered by the people who sent me on the Raleigh-Durham nightmare a couple of weeks ago. On its face, it sounds like something calculated to make others green with envy: four days, expenses paid, at a posh place. And I can get there by car, albeit taking roughly six hours each way.

But what it will mainly involve is four days spent watching extraordinarily wealthy people show off. It's the old "he who dies with the most toys wins..." bit, and frankly I have grown sick of it.

I've done it before -- never paying my own way, because the trip can easily cost $2500 (for one person) when the cost of lodging, admission to events and food are factored in -- because it has been in my professional interest to be there, but only once has it been truly enjoyable.

That year, I was permitted (encouraged) to invite my then-girlfriend to enjoy some very exclusive hospitality. I was writing a special historical article that would be (and was) brought to life by hanging with some of the people who were involved in the story. One or two were heroes of my childhood and, as it turned out, were as special to my lovely friend. Sharing dinners and other moments with them and listening to their stories was unforgettable.

Not only that, we had plenty of time to ourselves and -- I add this simply to make my good friend Scott jealous -- we had a shiny new Aston Martin convertible for our use while there. I must say she was a wonderful driver, and I was happy to let her rack up some miles with me in the passenger seat. Made me feel like a kept man....

This year won't be like that. Whatever money I make will come from stories I grub up myself; the hosts don't have anything in particular to show me. I'm going mainly as a favor to an editor who wants his magazine to have "presence" there.

And I will be sans attractive, fun, loving female guest.

Okay, so enough of that. If you met me on the street, I would do nothing to dissuade you from thinking I have a pretty glamorous gig. But since this is my place to rant, you get more of the grimy underbelly of the beast than the undeniable perks....

But the thing that really set me to gazing lovingly at the whiskey bottles is something else, something too trivial on its surface to mention.

It's been a crappy day, Jim.

And I think I am done with talking about it.


Anonymous said...


justfly said...

I wouldn't be into the watching extraordinarily wealthy people show off. I would have terrible eye strain from controlling my eyes not to roll.
But...four days, expenses paid at a posh place, I would take that.

6 hours is a long drive. 4 is doable, anything after that I dread.

John said...

Must be an internet acronym. ssdd.
I hate acronyms.
If I could use the whiskey without it using me I'd do it.
Maybe the trip will be OK or the free amentities worth your while.
Think Sugar Mama.

joan said...

Ooooh...I always like staying in a fancy hotel on someone else's tab. You can take a long soak in the tub and polish your toe nails. At least you can enjoy the beautiful setting. Who knows, you might make some positive connections.

lowandslow said...

I'm glowing bright green with envy right now! And I can imagine where you're traveling to.....and I'm glowing even greener thinking about it. Care to adopt me and take me along? (You are older than me, you know. Just had to rub it in. Haha) :)