September 15th, 1999

Business trip to DC at Huricane Floyd time...

September 15, 1999

The hurricane is not supposed to get here until Thursday morning and I’m already waking up in the middle of the night. I was awake at 1:35, fell back asleep, 1:42, back asleep 1:58. Back asleep. My alarm went off at 4:30.

I have a 6:30 AM flight out of Raleigh to Washington Dulles. I must say that I’m so glad to be going out of town for Hurricane Floyd’s visit. I do believe I have some post traumatic stress symptoms as a result of Fran.

I canceled the work Nancy Laughlin was going to do on my car so I could keep it at the airport – away from all the trees around our house and on Devereux Street. At the airport there was a very front spot, which I originally pulled in to. Then I saw the tree, albeit a small one right to the left of my car. I pulled it out and took one towards the middle of the lot. No trees or light poles in sight.

I was checking in to Metro Jet, and this commotion was going on with the agent next to me: The husband of a little (literally; they were quite short) Jewish couple yelled (as if we were hard of hearing), “I want to buy tickets; is this the place? We don’t already have tickets.”

“Where are you going, sir?”

“New York!” as if we should probably know.

“How were you going to pay for this, sir?”

“Cash.”

“It’s $750.00 per ticket, sir.”

“Here you go.” He threw an envelope on the counter.

My agent felt compelled to get involved. “I think we can do better than that, Sue. I think they can get a $439.00 fare.”

By then I was done. I went up to get A23, and tried my best not to watch the TV monitors all about Floyd.

The flight was uneventful. I actually fell asleep, which I rarely do on planes. I only know I feel asleep because I missed the coffee. Very smooth landing.

I’m attending the WROX ASP Web Developers Conference in DC. I have a coupon for “Washington Flyer Shuttle” to take me to the Marriott Wardman Hotel at Woodley Park. The price says $14 one-way and $28 round trip. When I get to ground transportation, there’s a desk with the sign “Washington Flyer” over it. It’s closed. I see right to the left of it, a sign, “Washington Flyer Taxi.” I show the attendant my green coupon thinking he’s reading the whole thing. He points me to a cab. I get in and hand the driver the same coupon. He nods and we’re off.

Shortly after leaving I get my wallet out and take out $16.00. I’ll contemplate a $2.00 tip if the driver says anything at all. His English was quite bad when he took my bags, and said okay. He never speaks again. I watch the meter as we ride. $7, $7.75, $8.50, $11.00. We must be getting close. $17.50, $19.25, $24.00. Now I’m thinking, okay, obviously this coupon ain’t going anywhere. Okay, so I could have been going round trip and it would have cost me $28 anyway, so who cares. The company’s paying for it anyway. Since Phyl and Jimmy will be taking me to the airport, I won’t have to spend that part of it. $28.95, $32.50, $35.00, $38.50. How much farther?

“It’s raining.”

“How much farther do we have to go?”

“Oh, about 10 more minutes. It’s raining.”

$39.75, $41.25, $43.50, $46.00. We’re going up the driveway of the hotel now. I’m thinking, “Stay on 46 so I don’t have to get another dollar out. “$46.25.

Needless to say the $2.00 tip was “absorbed.”

I walked around the huge hotel. I can’t believe how big it is. There is some type of Air Force convention going on here. There are hundreds and hundreds of soldiers about. Could be a nice four days. I make my way over to the station they are still setting up for check in. Check in won’t start until 10:00. It’s 8:30.

I make my way to the subway station with my suitcase. It’s right at the end of the driveway of the hotel. Perfect. I get on the red line and take it to Metro Center. There I switch to the blue line, and take it to the Pentagon City station. I ask the attendant if he knows where the Four Points Sheraton on Glebe road is from here.

“I don’t think this is the right station. Glebe road is not that close to here. I think you might have to go back one station.”

“Can you call the hotel for me?”

“My phone can’t call out. You can use the pay phone right over there.”

Of course I have no coins. I call the Sheraton reservations. He can’t call the hotel; his phone doesn’t call out and he’s on the other side of the country. He looks up the information on the hotel. Says the hotel is two miles from the subway station, and they run a complimentary shuttle service back and forth to it.

I ask the attendant if there is a place I can get change. He’s a Korean or Vietnamese man, very nice and helpful. He’ll never last there. Or he’ll become so bitter, I’m afraid. It turns out the change machines are back inside the subway entrance. He lets me back in through the special gate so I don’t have to pay again. I call the hotel. They say this is the correct station. Go up to the street and wait for a van to come.

I get picked up, but we don’t go right back to the hotel. We go by the (DCA) airport first for arriving passengers. The first time around there is no one. The driver is expecting someone. “Mind if I go ‘round one more time? Are you in a hurry?”

“No,” I say. We go around once more and pick up a guy. Nothing to look at.

At the hotel, they have no reservation for me and my confirmation number is not “in the system.” Fortunately they have room. “What rate were you quoted, sir?”

“$109.00,” I said, honestly believing that’s what it was. Turns out it was $119.00, but I’m getting the room for $109 anyway.

I had just enough time to unpack and get back downstairs to get the shuttle back to the subway stop. It’s around 10:45 now and registration and lunch goes from 11:00 – noon back at the conference hotel. I feel good that everything’s settled now. I know where I have to go and how to get there this evening when the “tutorial sessions” are over at 6:30.

I bought a $10.00 subway ticket and it is decreasing each time I use it. I like how it prints how much it’s subtracting right on the ticket each time.

The XML Tutorial was quite good. The seats were most uncomfortable, though, especially after 6 ½ hours.

Subway scenes:

There was a woman with some kind of disease sitting on the bench with a companion. She has whatever it is that manifests itself in rocking back and forth, and bigger and harder when excitement sets in. When the first train pulled into the station, she was bending down so far, I thought she’d fall off the bench. She was rocking so hard now, and clapping her hands, and making some moaning-type noises. She seemed to cool as the rails of the departed train did the same.

On the train a couple sat down in front of me when I wasn’t really paying attention. Then I noticed the back of the man’s head, who was sitting in front of me. She was to his right. I liked the look of the back of him. Nice broad shoulders, and a crew cut. Maybe one of those soldiers. I couldn’t see his face, only hers. I noticed how big her pupils were. She must really like him, I thought. And the more I saw how big her pupils were, the more I liked him, too.

This delightful, thin, black girl sat in the seat one row up from me and on the right side. She was really beat, or had been. She sat up very proper. The small of her back touched the back of the seat, but her shoulders were about three to four inches away from the back. It looked like she was trying to sit up real proper like. But she was so tired. Her eyes were blinking so fast, but they were barely opening. It was like she really wanted to sleep, but was scared to. I’ve never seen anyone blink so much. And she sort of jerked forward a couple of times like she was falling asleep. But those eyes – they were making a racket.

Then she rested her left elbow on her knee, and with her left thumb resting on her chin, a little to the left about where her jaw line started, and her index finger resting on her bottom lip, she attempted to hold her head up. Those eyes continued to roar. I was thinking, “Girl, sit back and relax.” There’s no telling how many subway stops she would have missed if she had, I guess.

I had to wait for about 40 minutes for the hotel shuttle bus. A lot of people were waiting and weren’t too happy. Fortunately, we could take the Best Western shuttle, too. The hotels were right next to each other and evidently help each other out.

I was able to connect to the web in the evening after the sessions. I wasn’t able to check my Broadreach e-mail, though. The system must be down. Verity ended up just a tad. It had been as high as 63+ during the day but ended up at 68 and some change. I’m looking to sell some 60 calls on it when it gets high enough.

Amazon will not move down as far as I need it to by Friday. I will lose on the two 57 ½ September puts I have on it. Oh well, I made some good Verity money on its September 45 calls.

I checked in with Rob. Thomas was on his way out to go skating. I must say I was disappointed as I had left him a note specifically asking him to spend as much time as he could with Rob over these two days (until the hurricane passed through). I don’t ask him for much, but evidently that was even too much.

Rob seemed in good spirits, but I know he was on edge. God have mercy on Azalea Drive this time through.

I slept pretty well.