Springing from bed at 5:30am, I slumped in front of my computer in search of the email that contained the address of the venue where we would be giving our presentation. Finding the message thread but hearing nothing about an address, I assumed it was just my travel anxiety. I forwarded the messages to my iPhone and vowed to search while on the train.
Our security guard caught a taxi for us in lightning speed and we zoomed down to Penn Station with plenty of time to spare. Penn Station is a huge complex comprised of dozens of twists and turns where it is too easy to become lost and require assistance. We cordially stopped an unsuspecting passerby and asked him to guide us to the Amtrak waiting area. There, we met a worker I dubbed “The Sleep-worker,” as he merely wandered around, answering no questions. After hearing the recorded announcer recite something about tickets, it dawned on me that we should probably find the Amtrak ticket booth. This was Maria’s thought from the beginning, but I must have been sleepwalking, too. Wending our way to a row of booths, I called out in strident tones, “Hello?” A kind worker rushed to our rescue and guided us to a booth where we exchanged our reservation for actual tickets. He also arranged for someone to escort us onto the train.
Once in Albany, we were guided into the station and there the hunt began. The only thing I knew was that the meeting would be held at a Hilton Hotel, not knowing the exact location or if there was more than one in the area. We called their toll-free number and tracked down the correct location. After profusely thanking the ultra-helpful Amtrak worker, we were bundled into another taxi and off we went.
Arriving hours early, we heard a dynamic presentation, enjoyed a delicious lunch and checked all tech gear. It was then that I used the Quantum barcode scanner to identify the bag of classic potato chips that were supposed to be Bar-B-Que flavored. The sales clerk at the Hudson News Stand kiosk in Penn Station must have been another sleep-worker.
A seasoned presenter, I still become nervous and want everything to go well, cringing at the thought of a device slyly shifting into what we call “demo mode” (where something invariably goes wrong). The fact that the audience appeared engaged and asked great questions eased my mind. The leader also requested our presence at next year’s meeting. It’s always exciting to open my bag of tricks to exclamations of delight as our traveling tech show is revealed.
Initially directed to the wrong exit after the show, thanks go again to random passersby, Maria’s Sendero GPS app, and my sense of direction for guiding us to the bus stop where we–gratefully– caught our bus home.