Pondering Potentially Damaging Trade-Offs

The jets floated like silent wraiths through the fog outside the airport window, while I sat inside, marooned in heated comfort. Yes folks, I was at Logan for quite a few languid hours yesterday morning, pondering the potentially damaging trade-off between ugly gray rain outside and disgustingly festive holiday music piped in over cable radio. A poor choice of brunch was already oozing maniacally through my guts, but I had to ignore it for the moment and lash together a Meaningful Finale for this Frigid Trip to the East.

Not only that, but I felt I needed to justify the considerable expense to the Company this whole trip would incur. Was the Web Design World convention worth it? Had I learned anything? Had I grown, personally and professionally? I’d tried, while packing the night before, to explain the whole thing to Emily over the phone, but she was in the middle of packing too—for an emergency flight to Oregon the day after I returned—so her demeanor was understandably distracted.

I’d also attempted to condense it all into friendly small-talk during the cab ride to Logan, when the Ugandan driver asked me the usual stuff about coming-or-going, business-or-pleasure. He was far more interested, however, in my tangentially tenuous association with his homeland—via the two degrees of separation granted by my celebrated Africa-traversing buddy Sean Blaschke—so while happy to talk about that, I still found myself hamstrung when attempting to explain What It All Meant.

I had, for good or ill, befriended two of my fellow creative professionals at the opulent convention. They might not really agree with that in toto (especially if they ever read this blog), but they were Good People, and it Worked at the Time, so forget all that silliness about Tyler Durden and his single-serving friends. I had also soaked up more techno-geekery than I’d planned to, thanks in no small part to the admittedly expert testimony of the phalanx of presenters. The panels and seminars and professional discussions and stuff were all Informative, sure, but I felt a bit like I did after the San Francisco convention last year. Well, except I didn’t have a five-hour drive ahead—I had a cross-country flight ahead.

But whatever. There was too much mental detritus to sift through that early in the morning—yeah, I was still on California time after four straight days in Boston—to slap a Coda on my ugly dispatches from the Commonwealth. Especially when the terminal began filling up with cute, but noisy, children, and CNN’s reporting about the disgraced Democratic Governor of Illinois gradually drowned out the wretched Christmas music. I figured it would only get more intense from there, and then of course I’d have to repeat the whole process again in Denver. It was going to be a long, long day before I’d have the cognitive skills to prepare a True Report of the convention and all its proceedings, so—with a wary eye on my Mac’s dwindling battery power, I gave it all up for lost.

Indeed. No one should have to worry about Professionalism when there are other ugly, preposterous things to look forward to in 2009: a new U2 album, a San Diego Padres team destroyed without Jake Peavy (and definitely without Trevor Hoffman or Khalil Greene), and the lazy-ass media whirring to life as it attempts to hound President-Elect Obama out of the White House before he’s even sworn in. Good goddamn, how can a man pay attention to ridiculous shit like Web Standards and CSS/XML Best Practices when the world is still going to shit? Ye Gods, not after a soul-crushing nonstop Boston-to-Denver run with turbulence bumpier than Edward James Olmos’ face. Not after a mad dash from Denver Gate B17 to Gate B88. Not after a cramped pencil-plane trip from Denver to Burbank, seated next to a Random Corporate Man-Whore from Indianapolis. Endure that, and maybe you’d understand why I might’ve been ripe for all manner of insane stupidity once I landed.

Which almost happened, actually—when I got a “put this fire out tomorrow” voicemail from The Boss, and was reminded that I’d need to be awake at 5 am the next day (by now, earlier this morning) to take Em to the SB Airport. It was a short trip from there to complete mental crack-ups, which thankfully my lovely wife endured with all appropriate aplomb, and that’s all you’ll ever need to know about that, sports fans. So that’s all for now. Stay tuned for more ruminations on the future of Mr. Greene, as well as many more music-geeky requiems. Thanks for enduring it all.