Broker Check

5 Planes, 4 Days

August 25, 2021

             I have never traveled to make a living. Many of my peers who ended up with consulting jobs out of grad school were “out” on Sunday and back on Thursday or Friday every week. I usually fly two or three times a year. Well, I just went from Pittsburgh, to Chicago, to Southern California, up to San Fran, down to Houston Texas and back home to Pittsburgh in 4 days. I don’t recommend it. And don’t ever let me book flights for you. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time at airports. So, here are some of my thoughts and observations, some trivial, some not so much, after 5 flights, 5 cites, 8 Lyft rides, 2 hotels and 12 margaritas…in 4 days.  I still think I make the best margarita. The last one I ordered at the Houston airport I couldn’t identify it as a margarita.

               Covid definitely has had an impact on how much attention I am paying to certain details. At least that's my story for now. I was dangerously close to missing two of my five flights.  The first one, was due to a ticketing issue, thank you Pam at United or I may have missed all the fun. And the last one, I’ll blame running to the gate to catch my last flight on “Sapiens,” a book on the history of humankind by Yuval Harari.

                Early morning flights still attract guys that look like they are heading from their dorm room to the show. What is it about flights that leave before 8 am that cause full grown men to think its ok to wear shower sandals, gym shorts and old t-shirts to the airport while carrying something that looks like a shaving bag? Seriously, get dressed.  I don’t want to see your feet. And as far as I can remember COVID didn’t cause a belt shortage. Life would be a lot easier if while making your way through security you didn’t have to keep one hand on your pants to stop them from falling off. Bonus, the lines would go faster as well. Buy a belt!

                San Francisco is a mess. Sorry, that’s what I saw. It wasn’t an Instagram post, or right-wing news piece. I don’t claim to understand it, I don’t claim to know the history of it and right now I’m not going to try, but the number of homeless encampments was shocking. Very sad.

                I’ve never been a big climate change person. Meaning I haven’t wanted to buy into the idea. But between what I have personally witnessed and read about over the past three years there’s just no getting around that we have climatic challenges and they aren’t going away. There are many places in the world and right here in this country where water is a big problem. California is one of them but they are not alone. Just take a few minutes and looking into “water rights.” The world has changed and it has caused some very compelling problems regarding laws and natural resources. Water shortages from the California coast into the Rockies and down through the Southwest are now a constant point of contention. Then there’s the recurring issue with fresh water discharges in Florida. The list goes on. When I got to Walnut Creek, CA I was still hours away from the fires. But there was enough smoke in the air you couldn’t see the mountains from my hotel and they were just a few miles away. Then I heard things like, “Oh, the last two years were worse.”  I come from a place that has four seasons. I like that and I also like that one of them isn’t called “the Fire season.”  What the hell!

                If you don’t make the time, you can’t make the memory. This wasn’t a trip for fun but the experience was enjoyable. I got to see important people and they showed me their hometowns. I met new people, learned a few things (like pay attention to the time), read a few books and had important work to do for my clients when I got back. I genuinely enjoyed seeing them, be at their homes and share some time with them. Zoom is great but it will never replace the value of being face to face with someone. Knowing that at times I fall victim to “Digital Distraction” it's always good to unplug and tune in to what life should really be about.