Yesterday, I went to work. I pretended it was a normal day until 11am when two engineers and I packed up our computers, grabbed the luggage waiting in our respective vehicles, and took a trip over to the airport. We parked, threw our keys to the front desk at check-in, and walked out to the tarmac to load into our company jet. We met up with one of our salesmen and our VP of sales before setting off to Memphis, Tennessee.
When we got to Memphis, we were greeted with the sight of armed guards surrounding a large white plane. It was unmarked aside from a serial number located on the back. Standing outside and deboarding were men in white shirts and khaki pants. They were federal prisoners being transferred from one undisclosed point to the next. Chains linked their hands to their feet as they formed a line waiting for their next instruction.
We left the prisoners and met up with a customer at a local BBQ joint. We chose BBQ nachos and fried sausage with cheese as our appetizers before settling into our BBQ pork sandwiches. Afterwards, we drove over to the customer’s site for some meet and greets and a small tour. After only a few short hours, we headed back to the jet. This time our destination was Florida. Gainesville, Florida, to be exact. We arrived in Gainesville in time to check into our hotel and head over to the Dragonfly for a late dinner with some customers and one more member of our team. Our customers were more familiar with the sushi menu, so we let them order and we feasted on the most sushi I’ve ever seen in my life in one sitting. We laughed and told stories among heaping mounds of raw tuna, cooked salmon, kiwi rolls, yellow fin, shrimp, and edamame. When we couldn’t fit another grain of rice in our full, laughing bellies, we started passing our plates around to surrounding tables. Some politely declined but some shared in our cornucopia of food with us. When we left, we carried out boxes of leftovers despite our many shared plates with those around us.
After sleeping in (compared to a normal work day), we left the hotel to visit the customer’s site. We talked shop, met new faces, toured the facility, and spotted turtles in the company pond before again returning to our jet. This time, we set our sights on Naples, Florida. Once in Naples, we raced the clock to make a meeting on time with yet another customer. Fifteen minutes late and without lunch, we arrived at the customer’s site. We went immediately into a conference room round table and met several people on their team. Our meeting was structured, although I did get a little company history tour from the customer’s agenda leader on our way back from a restroom break.
After the meeting? You guessed it. Back to the jet!
We hopped on after waiting out a pretty hard rainstorm for fifteen minutes and tore into the sandwiches and beverages that awaited us. After a few rounds of Euchre, the seal to the door bubbled in and the loud sound of rushing air began. Forty minutes away from Grand Rapids, our plane descended to 38,000 feet and our captain (Jack) came over the loud-speaker to announce that some water from the rainstorm had frozen at high altitude and began to thaw as we descended. The thaw had created a pocket which allowed the seal to break. We depressurized the plane and flew at a low altitude for the remainder of the flight. At 20 minutes out, we were cruising at 8,000 feet.
Our plane moved side to side and fishtailed before coming into a gentle landing. We deboarded. I got a ride back to work to pick up my car. And I drove home before recapping the past 34 hours…