Thursday, August 19, 2004

A Little Knowledge...

So I was traveling on work recently.

Now, there are 2 awful things about traveling on work. One: the early morning flights. Two: the company! I mean, on waking up bleary and hung over at four in the morning, you do NOT want to get a seat next to the CEO, and have to spend the next two hours talking to him about your departmental strategy for the year and how you're going to make the difference where the industry has failed. Of course, many would consider this the opportunity of a lifetime, but me? I'd rather strap myself in and drown in slumber for as long as possible.

And then there are the flight delays. Of course, when you're waking up at 4:00 a.m. to make it to the airport at 5:00 a.m. to catch a 6:00 a.m. flight, you're not really in a fit state (i.e., "sentient") to think of calling the airport to check on flight schedules. So, off you go... and spend the next 2 hours sitting on uncomfortable chairs in the lounge.

And finally, there is the small matter of who's keeping you company at that hour of the morning.

Me, I lucked out. Accompanying me on an early morning flight was an office colleague who must be the life and soul of every party. For starters, he's an analyst - which means he speaks with lots of corporations and gets the inside dope on stuff. And while we were sitting there, he told me oodles of it... stuff that will change my consumption habits forever!

Of course, these guys always begin soft... "These seats are so filthy... I wonder what we're sitting on, exactly, and who left it here," he'll casually say, pointing out the white streaks on all the seats in the lounge. And as you're trying to comfort yourself with the thought that if it's on all the seats, it's probably the material - that's it, it's a streaky material, he leans over and confides: "You know the whole thing about colas... well, actually, it gets worse - each bottle of cola has about 8 tea-spoons of sugar. I've stopped drinking the stuff. " And then, while you're sputtering and getting over that, the attack comes from another direction: "And milk - my god, it's crazy - I've stopped drinking that too." Hesitantly, you ask, "Why, what's the matter with milk?", and you're told, "90% of the cows in Mumbai have TB, that's what's wrong with the milk." And while you're trying to remember basic biology and figure out whether it's possible for a cow to transmit TB to a milk consumer, he tells you, "you wanna be the first to showcase a new medical crisis?" And you're thinking, "sure I can survive without milk - I'll just switch to soya."

And before you know it, your entire lifestyle has been wiped out... you're thinking feverishly about how soon you can get home and throw out all the provisions, about whether there's a business opportunity in raising unadulterated vegetables, and whether you can go back to the cave economy... Take it from me, it's simple: all you have to do is leave.

And when you do, leave the key under the mat. That way, I won't have to break in through a window when I rob your house.

No comments: