In wintry transit

I’m sitting at the Calgary airport waiting for my connecting flight to Ottawa and feeling grateful that I don’t have to go outside. It is windswept and nearly completely white, with only the cleared runways breaking the landscape. I’m not safe from it for much longer though – in about five hours I will have to step outside in Ottawa, which I assume will look very similar. Most of Canada I believe does.

I’m heading to Ottawa because it’s nice to occasionally see that I work with other people; usually they are just disembodied voices in my headset and little green ‘online’ icons in the office instant messaging system. It can sometimes make you feel like you have invented yourself a job and are in fact just analyzing random internet noise instead of data collected by people (and yet strangely enough finding results worth publishing, well at least some of the time).

Well the good news is I’m not crazy – it’s just that my job is located in Ottawa, and I am not. Well maybe that does make me a little crazy.

Luckily due to the solitary nature of research it doesn’t much matter which province I’m crunching numbers in. I’m very fortunate for this flexibility – John and I really didn’t want to move to Ottawa where the winters are real and the views are mostly of endless government buildings instead of mountains.

I shouldn’t be too hard on Ottawa, it’s actually quite a lovely city. It’s just not our city.

When I went last December, it was my first trip after a really long absence. Quite a few new employees had started since I had been there last, and though I worked with them quite a lot, I knew them only as voices. Attaching people to those voices was a bit of a mind bender.

It is quite interesting the assumptions we can make based on voices. I had people’s approximate ages and imagined appearances way wrong. But personality I feel like I had gauged pretty accurately. That’s comforting at least. I’m thinking that’s how it works with the blog voices I listen to each day too.

Traveling to Ontario comes with one serious perk: seeing my friends. As I bitterly complain on a regular basis, Ontario is the sinkhole of Canada – everyone gets sucked in eventually. I’m hanging on for dear life here on the west coast with my creatively concocted job set-up, but most of my closest friends have already been lost, sucked into the vortex.

I’m lucky that my work travel adds a day or two to the handful I see them each year and I’m looking forward to Thursday night when I’ll be in Toronto for some much needed girl-talk.

Since I will be spending a decent amount of time in transit this week, I think it’s going to turn into Travel Week here at grey&shiny, during which I will regale you with stories of my fun with air travel. And not the glamorous kind, but the kind where you end up in Texas without food or a single penny to your name.


Posted on March 21, 2011, in Life and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. ooh travel week! looking forward to that. I agree, it can be really strange meeting people you’ve only spoken to over the phone and email. My last job was for a professional association, and I’d talk to all these people on the phone and form assumptions about what they looked like, and then we’d meet at a conference and I was of course always wrong.

  2. You’re super cute! Look forward to Travel Week!!

    I know what you mean about thinking that you’ve invented yourself a job…I find that it’s okay as long as the paychecks keep coming!

  3. Travel week! That is something to look forward to!

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