This past weekend I went and visited family in Baton Rouge. Whenever I travel by air, I enter another world, and this trip was no different. I like air travel, I think airports are cool, but the interesting thing to me about them is the peek into the world of the Business Traveler.
The airlines have figured out that business travelers are the bulk of their business, so a lot of attention is paid to them. A lot of items involved in air travel speak in such a way that it’s clear they assume their audience is a business traveler. In a very short time, you can learn everything that, apparently, a business traveler needs to be told.
“You are special.” You’re not among the common herd, traveling the airways in frivolous journeys to see relatives or pursue leisure. You’re moving and shaking, making the big business deals. (Yes, one thing I noticed is that no business traveler is anything less than a super-important envoy for the world’s most exciting company.) One great issue of an in-flight magazine I saw a while back had its top ten “Road Warriors” of the year. Not business travelers: Road Warriors. Power-suited-humvees barreling through the crowd, overrunning the unimportant lesser masses.
“You must constantly be working.” As such an important person, any moment you aren’t talking to clients, writing that report, looking at that chart, checking your email, is time that was simply thrown away. You must have all the latest gadgets at your fingertips so that not a second shall transpire in which you aren’t working. In fact, there was an ad in the in-flight magazine comparing two business travelers on an identical flight. Bob is praised for going through his email whilst airborne, but Sam (or whatever his rival was called) is chastised for instead playing a game on his computer while in transit. As a result, according to the ad, Bob will arrive at his destination more relaxed than Sam because he is now better prepared than Sam.
You deserve the finer things in life. True to Sturgeon’s Law, a good 90% of the items in the SkyMall catalog are utter garbage. True to Legomancer’s Corollary to Sturgeon’s Law, the other 10% is garbage too. Stuff that not only can I not imagine myself buying, but that I can’t imagine anyone buying. Stuff I’d be embarrassed to own. Obviously people do buy it, because it’s always there, but I can’t imagine it. And a large portion of the items and the descriptions of them flatter the reader into believing that they need this BECAUSE it’s expensive and worthless. After all, what better way to show the world you have disposable income than, say, disposing of it?
Of course, this all adds up to the overarching truth: You truly know what’s important in life. And what’s truly important, of course, is work. Sure, at the end of the day there’s a fat paycheck (I hope, for these peoples’ sake) with which you can adorn your house with all kinds of ludicrous swag, but really, the work is its own reward. What’s better than knowing that you have given your all to make ConHugeCo the number one supplier of industrial grade frozzles for the second quarter in a row.
And it’s all utterly alien to me. That’s a life I can’t imagine leading. It holds absolutely no appeal to me whatsoever, so if someone’s gotta do it, I’m glad there are these “Road Warriors” who are happy to do it instead.