Emily, my wife, is currently on her way to the emergency room. I know this because that’s what she told me on the phone.
You see, I’m on a business trip right now, and while I’m headed home tomorrow evening, for tonight at least I’m completely unable to help her or provide any real sort of support. It’s not life-threatening, but neither of us is overly keen on laying down and getting rest when we’re sick, so deciding that a trip to the emergency room is in order is no ordinary event.
I don’t travel a lot these days, but tonight’s drama reminds me of all the other things I’ve missed over the years: Emily’s birthday, her Master’s defense, the wildfire near-miss…and now this. I spent my adolescence watching my father travel almost non-stop, seeing how much he missed in the process. Watching him, I swore that I’d never put my career ahead of my family. But moving to a place where there isn’t exactly a thriving local market for what I do, it’s impossible to avoid a little travel here and there. At one point, I was flying across the country every six weeks or so, working for a start-up based out of LA. Things aren’t that demanding anymore – I travel only a couple times a year now – but somehow it seems that things still have a way of happening without me.
From the way others act around me on these trips, it seems like an unusual thing not to enjoy – or at least, get a certain thrill out of – traveling for business. It does have a way of making a person feel important I suppose. Of course, I’m here to do a job…and I certainly work hard on business trips. We are all here to do one job or another, but others seem very interested in playing hard after the workday’s done.
It’s not that I don’t like the company I keep on these trips; especially since joining Red Hat, people I run into are incredibly nice. I guess I’ve just got a different perspective on this, mainly looking back…wondering what I’m missing, and who’s missing me.