Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Scarlet Avenger and the Unstable Table

While waiting for the plane to take off in Atlanta, I struck up a conversation with one of the other passengers about our destination city, Lafayette, Louisiana. I asked her if there were any good restuarants in the area. I had forgotten that we were flying on a small, regional jet. This meant that most of the people on the plane were locals, returning from business trips or vacations. Within a few seconds, everybody on the aircraft was shouting out suggestions for places to get etouffe, gumbo, fresh seafood, creole cooking, etc.

So far I have not been disappointed by a single meal. Even the smallest lunch counter establishments have fantastic food. However, eating with Bernie has been an issue, because he has some bizarre habits. At dinner on the first night, Bernie had a baked potato. He opened it up flat like a butterfly, and mushed it up with a fork. Then he proceeded to cover it with an enormous quantity of salt and pepper, and eight patties of butter. We questioned him about his cholesterol and blood pressure, which he proudly claims are in the “normal” range.

At breakfast the next morning, he had a small bowl of Raisin Bran with six packages of sugar.

laf 005

The guy is pretty old, so I wonder how much longer he can continue eating like this. I’m hoping he makes it the full two weeks. We’re trying to concoct strategies to avoid eating with him, but it’s hard to get away.

The training classes we’ve been presenting thus far have been a mixed bag, some going well, some going very poorly. The training room is very small, with seating for 8 trainees. Sometimes we have 16 people in there. If someone has to leave to go to the bathroom, it’s like a Chinese puzzle. One person moves into an empty space, and three others shift over to open a space somewhere else. Then the person who needs to leave moves into that space, and so on until we work them to the door.

laf 001

A projector sits on a small, wobbly table, and that’s where we put our laptop that we hook up to the projector. If you have to type anything on the laptop, the whole table shakes and shimmies and the image projected on the screen jitters around. When I’m training, I put the laptop on my lap to prevent this problem, but Bernie is oblivious and just bangs away on the keyboard, giving everyone nausea or migraine headaches.

When I picked up my rental car, I was given this “arrest-me red” Dodge Avenger.

laf 006

It’s a fairly large, powerful car, but because Lafayette, Louisiana is such a small town, I haven’t had occasion to drive it faster than 35 miles an hour between the hotel and our customer’s offices. I can tell you that it rattles and bounces like a VW microbus when I cross railroad tracks, so I wouldn’t say it was a comfortable car to drive. Maybe this weekend I’ll take it out on the highway and see if I can avoid the State Police. It should be easier than avoiding Bernie.


Chris said...

Take it for a run over the Lake Pontchartrain bridge!

michael said...

Why does there always have to be a Bernie?
I used to have to travel on business with a guy about once a month....I'll just give you one example of why he drove me nuts: no matter what kind of food we were eating if he deemed it to be "too spicy" he would crack open a sugar packet or two and pour it on the food. Mexican, thai, cajun...didn't matter. As if somehow sugar defeats spice?