Thursday, September 8, 2011

On the Road Again

A few posts back I mentioned that you should always jump at the chance to take an office road trip. I also mentioned that you should only volunteer to go if it's a nice day outside and if it doesn't involve city driving.

On Tuesday I got suckered into both.

After finally settling into my chair after a rainy commute, I was asked to drive an hour & a half into the heart of downtown Hartford Connecticut. Down. Town. I had no choice. Our intern was out sick, and the rest of our employees had apparently turned into stone heads, so that left me as the only viable option.

It all depends on you. 
"It's not so bad," I thought to myself back when I assumed I was driving to a nice lawyer's office and that maybe there would be some kind of trendy coffee shop downstairs where I could hang out before driving back. I stupidly didn't ask for details about where I was going before I left - I just had the name of a place that I assumed to be an office park.

It was no office park.

After calculating where the worst part of town was and recalculating me directly into it, my GPS informed me that I would be at my destination in .1 miles. Point 1 miles? I peered nervously out the window at a man talking to himself on the sidewalk. I paused to let a parade of trash bags filled with tin cans cross in front of me before turning into the apartment complex that my boss had sent me to. I drove slowly through the parking lot trying to figure out where to go. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to go to the management office, or if this is where the guy lived. Was I supposed to start knocking on doors?

Wifebeater clad men, sitting in their "yards" amidst piles of wet living room furniture, gas cans, and broken television sets, stared at me between cigarette drags and I immediately knew there was no way I was ever going to get out of my car. I did see one woman. She was getting out of Jeep wearing platforms and a boob shirt at 12:00 in the afternoon. The click of my doors locking did nothing to comfort me.

I called my boss to ask him why he had done this to me. Didn't he have work for me to do later? He needed me to come back alive, didn't he? After a quick call to our client (and probably his attorney), he told me that he had no idea he was sending me to a place like that. Then he gave me the property manager's cell phone number so that he could meet me right at my car. I called the property manager and tried to direct him to where I was parked:
"No, no, I said left at the hooker, left! If you see the homeless guy pissing on a brand new Rav4, you've found me."
And then, in what probably appeared like the nerdiest drug deal ever, I handed off the precious sets of engineering plans and hightailed it back to the safety of suburban Massachusetts.