Memoir Mondays: Texas Learned Me a Few Things

November 08, 2010

Courtesy of Travis at I Like to Fish, it's time for an installment of "Memoir Mondays."

Now that I am, of course, an experienced professional in my line of work, I thought I would share this story from my early days in the business.

San Antonio, Texas, 2006

Remember the good old days of college? Where you didn't take a class before 10am, and if you had to take that 7am or 8am Chem class, you just sat in the back and slept through the lecture? And no one noticed?

Yeah, ummm... doesn't work so well in the "real world". Case in point:

Monday afternoon I attempt to fly to San Antonio. Also on the plane - ticket holders to the Mavs/Spurs semifinals playoff game that night. (This is important to the story later). Get on plane. A-ok! Sit next to skinny people with good hygiene. A-ok! Plane begins taxiing. A-ok! Plane makes loud noises and starts shaking. Not ok! Plane is stopped and returns to gate.

Fast-forward 45 minutes. Flight attendant says there is a problem with the "air ducts" and we are going to switch planes. Original arrival time in San Antonio: 6:45pm. New arrival time in San Antonio: 9pm. Tip-off for the Mavs/Spurs game: 7:30pm. But don't worry. They'll give us updates on the game.

I think I knew the score of that game better than the basketball games I actually attend. There is Bald Guy with the Fancy Cell Phone who shouts out the score every 2 seconds until the plane leaves the gate and he must shut the phone off. In the air, we get an update from the captain every 20 minutes or so, mostly saying, "I think the score is...". Oh, really, are you just guessing or do you actually know the score? Upon landing, Bald Guy with Fancy Cell Phone resumes shouting out the score every 2 seconds until it is his time to leave the plane. Walk by sports bar at airport, score is announced. Get on shuttle bus to car rental, the game is on the radio (really loud). Get in rental car, drive to checkout stand. Security tells us the score of the game. I'm getting the feeling they like the Spurs in San Antonio?

Important "bid meeting" with multiple important people and our competitors on Tuesday. 8am, downtown. If we want parking, we need to leave by 6:45. Which means I must get up at 5:45 to look presentible and manage a small breakfast. FYI: that's 3:45 am Phoenix time.

I manage 1/2 cup of weak coffee at breakfast before it is time to leave. Lulled into a false sense of security by the promise of more coffee at our destination, I don't attempt to chug more caffiene. Upon arrival, no such coffee is available. There weren't even donughts.

So, to make a long story short, after about an hour of sitting in a dimly-lit room at 6am (my time) and listening to some people talk about some stuff... I started to nod off. I fought the impending sleep with everything I had. I was trying so hard to hold my eyes open my vision was swimming. I would be taking notes and all of a sudden realize my pen was no longer forming intelligible words. I hoped perhaps no one had noticed. Did I mention this is my first bid meeting, representing my whole company in front of not only the contracting officers (the company that will hire us if our job bid wins) but also all our competitors for the job?

Maybe no one will notice.

Well, judging by the fact that I was teased about my "naptime" by no less that four people, THEY NOTICED.

Aside from the rude awakening (figuratively, of course!) that the real world is not like college, I learned a few other things while in Texas.

1. It IS possible to use the following sentence when addressing people in a professional setting: "Now if y'all are here for the bid why don't y'alls just come over this way and I'll show y'all where to go." That's right, three y'alls in one sentence.

2. Texas has it's own special Bud light bottle with some sort of Texas star business instead of the usual eagle. That's right, folks, Texas is so great it gets its own BEER BOTTLE!

3. There's nothing that will add more excitement to your day then hearing, "Now when we drive down this back road to get to the job site, the guy that lives on one of the ranches is a little crazy, and somtimes he comes out and chases us down with his shotgun. If that happens, just stay in your car. We'll keep driving, and he shouldn't shoot."

And they were serious.


Opto-Mom said...

Did you also learn that everyone doesn't use horses for transportation? We had a visitor coming to Texas, and she actually asked if we rode horses to HOUSTON! Yes, I happily prance down I-10 on horseback - NOT!

Also, congratulations on knowing the proper spelling of y'all. Most people put ya'll, which makes no sense, because it's actually a contraction of the words "you" and "all." And there's your redneck grammar lesson for the week, folks!

Confessions of a Mother, Lawyer & Crazy Woman said...

Ha! Fabulous. I love the y'all. My grandma was from the Deep South, so y'all was in her top three vocabulary words.

I went to Texas once for business as a lawyer, wearing suit, with law firm cards, and serious glasses, and was called "honey" by the other firms' head counsel no less than 20 times per day. And he saw nothing wrong with it.