Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What if they threw an ice storm and nobody came?

We got back to the Toronto airport faster than we expected yesterday and we managed to get ourselves on an earlier flight home. Then it got delayed. Ice in Chicago, they told us. The storm could last all night, they said with furrowed brows. Which was no fun to hear, but at least their furrows assured us they hadn’t yet jumped on the Botox bandwagon. Then there was some kind of non-ice-on-the-runways-back-home window, so we boarded the plane. And we waited. Then we had to pull away because some other plane—bound no doubt for some less icy destination and feeling all snooty about it because its passengers packed coconut-scented sunscreen while ours packed tire-scented galoshes—needed the jetway. So we sat on the tarmac. For two hours. But! We were given constant updates from our handsome pilot and attentive beverage service from our crew and they were playing Ratatouille on the in-flight movie and I had a big stack of unread magazines to catch up on and we got word via the miracle of cell phones that the client was extremely pleased with our work and it all ended up being rather enjoyable.

Until we landed in Chicago and discovered that all this ice-storm business had been a big LIE. It was rainy and misty, sure, but woe to the business traveler who intended to keep his complimentary diet soda chilled by simply holding it to the heavens.

Then I walked into the office this morning and found myself caught in the crosshairs of Vendor Gift Smackdown 2007.

“Our holiday muffins are moist and delicious,” one vendor seems to tell us as it stocks our break room with baskets of cellophane-wrapped pastries, “so please turn to us for all your printing needs.”

“No!” another vendor shouts through tufts of raffia. “They did not procure for you 12 different flavors of individually wrapped chocolate candies all organized by color in a handsome holiday tin. They do not deserve your business. Plus they lubricate their printer heads with the blood of puppies.”

“We don’t know shit about printing,” trumpets a third, “but we can make custom magnets for you any time day or night! Which is why we brought you a drum of chemically flavored popcorns, cleverly partitioned by bits of waxy cardboard into pie-shaped columns. When you think MSG, think magnets!”

I’m back in Toronto tomorrow and Thursday. The envelope people had better wait to bring their day-old doughnuts until I get back.

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