I don't care what the Republicans say. Ketchup is not a vegetable. Trees do not destroy the atmosphere. And everywhere you go, the world is melting and freezing in bizarre ways. For most people who work in one location, commute to the office, put in their time and go home, this may present nothing more than a vague sense of weirdness. Like... where did spring go? But for those of us who travel for a living, one of the great pleasures of life has been stripped bare. Nothing is as it should be. And there is, increasingly, no sun.
Monday: New York. Cold as a witch's cheek. Bad wind. Spitting rain. People don't know what to do. Some are in shirtsleeves, pushing against the hostility of the elements on their way to get a sandwich or grab an illicit smoke. Others are bundled into winter coats, with hats and scarves. The big question seems to be umbrella or no umbrella. My office window looks out over 6th Avenue. About 40% of the public seems to have them. The other 60% are pretending it isn't raining. You know everybody wishes they were someplace else. The good news for me is that I'm going to LA tomorrow.
Tuesday: Los Angeles. Willie the Driver picks me up. He's got my name on a little sign. "What's it like here?" I ask him on our way out of the terminal. "It's cold," he says. We get outside, and he's right. It's April, the middle of a month that was supposed to come in like a lamb. Okay, it's better than New York, but not much. The sky is gray. The air has a bite to it. Los Angeles is all about its weather. Take away that proud asset and there's not that much reason to hang around here. Next morning, there's no sun and it's pretty clear that we're not going to get above 65 degrees. Where do you have to go to catch some rays around here? Zihuatanejo?
Wednesday: Miami. No, I'm not nuts. I didn't go all the way back east. I try to stay in the same place at least two days running. It's kind of a rule I have. I did talk my friend Neff down there, though. It was in the mid-70s and cloudy all day. "Kinda sucks," he said.
Thursday: San Francisco. We have business here, and when the sky is blue and the clouds are high in the sky there's noplace nicer. I try to get here whenever I can. I'd say since November I've seen the sky maybe once for about an hour or two. The rest of the time -- fog, spume and relentless, gray oppressive motherhumping rain. Basically the environment of our friends from the north up Seattle way. For what it's like there, I refer you to this comic from The Oatmeal.
It used to be that business travel represented an all-expenses paid way to get out of whatever obnoxious climate you were sick of. Tired of stinky late April in Boston? Isn't there a meeting someplace warm you absolutely had to attend? Bored with no-snow Baltimore in the midst of a slow week in February? That conference in upstate New York looks pretty good. Except now when you get places, they're all sort of the same. Rain. Gush. Clouds. Cheesy wind. And walruses floating by on melting ice floes like ancient Eskimos, if one may still use that word.
It seems to me that what's happening is that our climate is moving south. Seattle has Anchorage's weather. San Francisco has Seattle's. Los Angeles feels like San Francisco. And for old LA, you have to head down to TJ.
Come to think of it, that doesn't sound too bad right about now.
Don't forget to check out Bing's new blog at www.stanleybing.com.