Bailing on future travel

view across a lake of bare trees in fog
View across a lake of bare trees in fog – I’m feeling exactly like this, right now.

So, while I was riding to the airport with my boss and another team member, I told my boss I didn’t want to go to the big trade show taking place in Las Vegas in May. I’d gone last year, and it was a useful experience. But it was exhausting and excruciating, and there’s just no way I’d do it again voluntarily. I’d been planning on going, seeing as it gets you good visibility with the company, and not everybody gets to go. Not going… well, that “sends the message” that you’re not critical to the company’s success. You’re disposable, then. Because they won’t pay for your hotel and flight.

But if you do go… well, then, you must be someone special.

I could have gone this year, again. I was on the magic list. But then my boss asked me if I wanted to go again, and I said, “Actually, no. I don’t.”

He seemed genuinely surprised — as though I’d just been faking last year, when I (thought I’d) made it clear that I wasn’t having fun, that it wasn’t my idea of a good time, and it was a real hardship for me.

I really don’t know how much clearer I could have made it. Aside from pitching a royal fit, throwing myself down on the ground in a full-on meltdown, and making a scene. Ugh, it was just so awful — and on top of it, having to interact with the vaunted customers who were often just a bunch of obnoxious assholes, looking for a chance to tell us off — or make themselves feel bigger by talking down to the “girl” (me) in the booth. A whole lot of expletives come to mind, but I’m too tired to go off, right now.

I do not like Las Vegas.

I do not like trade shows.

I do not like gambling.

I do not drink. Or smoke. Or eat gluttonous amounts of foodlike products paid for by the company.

I hate staying in hotels — especially in Vegas, where you never know who’s been doing what in your bed or on your side chair.

I hate using any water at all in that artificial “oasis” in the middle of the desert. I know what it’s done to the surrounding land  / aquifer, and I don’t want to contribute to that. I hate just looking at the fountains. It makes me sick to my stomach.

And guess what — I’m not impressed by how “wild and crazy” people get. People who are amazed by the behavior there… they need to get out more. Maybe watch some late-night t.v. It’s nothing unusual for many folks, and it’s certainly not the kind of people watching I like to do.

It just seems like a lot of unhappy mainstream people trying to let off steam from the endless string of bad decisions they’ve made in their compromised lives. And the casinos are ready and waiting for them to part with enough money to let them feel cleansed.

No, I don’t want to go to that trade show. Not this year, or ever again.

It costs me too much. Any sort of business travel cuts into my already limited resources, and it sucks the life force out of me. That means, I can’t function. Even at a normal level. I’m either all-ON, or all-OFF. There’s no in-between for me. I do not inhabit the brown-out spaces of average functionality that the neurotypical world does.

I have significant energy needs in order to function normally for me (which is well above the median), and if I can’t get them met, I end up below the fold of mediocrity. That’s the deal. And if I can’t be above average, I don’t want to be involved. In anything.

Why should I be? If I can excel — and do so easily, in a way that brings me to life and makes me feel like a real human being — why should I settle for less?

Why, indeed? Just because everybody else does it, and they’re happy with being mediocre, why should I go along with that? People think it’s fine — Fiiiiine! — to be average, but that to me is a fate worse than death. Almost.

The thing is — when I can get just a modicum of accommodation, if I can get my (very basic) needs met, I can do great. Just great. But if I’m backed into a proverbial corner and battling my way across every conceivable hurdle, worn down and weary, it’s an unimaginable slog. The kind that just sucks the life right out of me and makes me question everything — and I mean everything — about my life.

So, no, I do not want to go on any more business trips. Especially to Las Vegas, where I’m just some “token girl” who’s used to draw in tipsy customers who are looking for someone to grouse at. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone — including my boss.

And yet, somehow, it does.

Strange, how that happens.

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