Back in 1998 or 1999–I’ve wiped the exact dates from my memory–I, along with two colleagues, was sent on a road trip across the state by my current employer. Our task? To document existing business rules/models at the county level for a state agency.
This road trip took place over 18 weeks–every other week we would fly, or more usually, drive, to another location in Florida, some of them more cosmopolitan than others. Driving was interesting. Once, we got into an accident. A few other times, my colleague the driver would see a desired location, like a Chinese restaurant, and decide, although three lanes over and only 15 feet from the entrance to the place, in heavy traffic, to just barrel over two lanes of screeching, honking traffic to get to said restaurant. I thought we were all going to die. Another hilarious episode resulted when our colleague’s faulty instructions to a watch repair store (his watch batteries had expired) led us right into the middle of a derelict crack house neighborhood with dozens of white/black/hispanic men sitting on their porches in the middle of the day watching us drive by kind of suspiciously…There was also the care-free episode in Chili’s when I found vast quantities of what appeared to be tinsel in my grilled chicken and one of my colleagues found what at first appeared to be a shredded condom in his Caesar salad, but was later identified (thank goodness) as something at least a little more sanitary, made of plastic. Then, to return to our plastics theme, on the way to the airport, a plastic bag got caught in one of the wheels and I suddenly saw smoke rising–had no idea it was just a plastic bag burning from the friction–and thought the $*%&$#&!! car was on fire…
Throw in a hotel from hell in Sebring, Florida (thousands of mosquitos *inside*; moist, sweating, ectoplasmic walls; corridors on the second floor built with such low ceilings I had to stoop–what? they only cater to $%&#*!! midgets?), the car accident we witnessed in St. Petersburg during which the one guy decided to beat the living daylights out of the other guy, and the 8th trip (to where? I can’t even remember at this point…) where one colleague lost the crown on one of his teeth and the other got a 103 degree fever and, yes, it was what you might expect: an absolute laugh riot.
But the piece de resistance (and I’d long since given up putting up any resistance–if we’d had a 10th meeting out of town, monkeys could have flown out of my colleague’s butt during the sessions and I wouldn’t have even blinked, just calmly writing down in the minutes, “Then a flock of flying monkeys entered the room by way of my colleague’s ass.”) occurred on our Fort Myers trip/experience.
The hotel we were staying at had a computer room with a printer so rather than lug our printer down with us, I was going to use the hotel facilities. I went down there with my disk and the glass door to the room was shut and some huge, 450 lb (I kid you not) 6 foot 5 guy with a shaved head and an earring was using it. All he needed was a bandana, a parrot, and a pegleg to be a pirate (or to be a great big pile of pudding with a bandana, parrot, and pegleg on top of it).