Here's a look back at some old memories of business road trips of a few years ago. Written November 4, 2009.
Ah, ... the road can kill ya at six stops a day with about 50 miles between each stop.
Especially if you're retarded ... like me! Now, that's probably not politically correct to say anymore ... but I don't think it's extraditable ... and it does accurately describe my functionality when I have to drive past so many beautiful things to see out the window. I cease to pay attention to the important things that sustain rental car movement. Here's what I mean.
Today, I had to head up to Payson, AZ from Phoenix. It was my last stop of the day and it represented the longest portion of the days driving. I love Arizona cactus photos ... so, as I was driving through the Tonto National Forest with my head in the clouds, I kept firing photos at about 45-60 mph out the window. Just a cruisin'! Everything was cool. You know, ... it was just another day sitting by the pool in your Speedo when you hear your granddaughter say, "Pop-Pop, I brought you some lemonade ... and uh, what's up with the Speedo?" OK, I just said that to scare some of my friends and relatives. Anyway ...
I'm just sayin' ... everything was great. Then I remembered that I was supposed to get gas before I left Phoenix. I looked down and saw the red light was on and the gauge was already smiling proudly back at me displaying the big red E. This is not good, ... because my usually-trusty GPS said I was 43 miles from the nearest gas station. So, I am still moving but I wasn't sure exactly how long this dance card was gonna last. Vultures were now circling.
So, it's the bottom of the eighth ... and I needed to go to my bullpen for a reliever. So let me explain. We are a large family ... and like other large families ... each member differs ... and we sometimes sarcastically compliment each other in our differences by accident. This is where my oldest daughter usually chimes in with her most memorable line, "Dad, different people do different things."
I'm thinkin', "Seriously Erin? Where's your mother?"
So, I am sure you know that there are members of your family that you would call for certain situations ... and other members that well, ... FORGET IT!
So, I would like to use one of my lifelines now. This time my life line call would be best spent on our oldest son. Let's call him ... Braff Zackton!
Braff is actually is a very good call ... and a very bad call ... at the same time (because he is best at this problem ... but I will pay for this big time). He's good news and bad news all rolled into one speed dial button on my phone. You see, ... Braff actually works all day bailing people out of much worse disasters than this for a North American truck leasing company. Basically, Braff is a professional at this situation! Braff can talk Alabama accents to long haul truckers and then ten minutes later talk Bwahhhston accents with moving truck drivers that are angry that they got a flat right outside Fenway.
If you were in trouble and you had to call Braff at while he was at work, ... he could get a helicopter to land in a snow storm on the road beside your crash scene with warm blueberry muffins and McDonalds coffee. GUARANTEED, every time! And IF YOU were to call Braff when you were in trouble, ... you would get ALL THIS AND MORE with courteous assistance and light-hearted sense of humor. No strings attached! But, this is me calling him, after hours and I'm gonna pay for this for sure.
So, I call the bullpen ... and Braff has just arrived home from work. This means he's warmed up and ready to go. Braff quickly assesses the North American dialect of the caller and begins to talk the same way ... because he can. Soon you are thinking that you and Braff went to the same high school and had the same homeroom teacher. Braff could even tell ya stories about that kid with zits in the back of the class becoming the CEO of a worldwide banking company ... and you would really think you remember him.
So, Braff see's my caller ID, know it's me and answers the phone with his usual, "Now what?"
With the phone crackling I quickly find myself screaming, "Braff, I may be in trouble. I am running on empty, 43 miles south of Payson, Arizona, traveling Northbound on Highway 87. I need a gas station bad. Cell service is intermittent, ... so I may lose you."
Then I hear, "Dad, why are you calling me Braff?" Then I hear Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Either I lost cell service or he hung up. I think hung up, again... for sure ... he hung up).
So, anway, Braff got out his computer before he called me back and linked to Skynet Delta Strike Force Idiot Tracker and had a Mobil gas station built 4 miles closer to me and prepared them for my arrival. That's right! Braff had building contractors begin AND complete the building a Mobil gas station right where I ran out of gas. This kid is amazing!
If you are familiar with Payson, AZ ... you know it's a downhill glide on 87 coming into town. I saw the engine light come on while descending that hill and I shifted into neutral and officially ran out of gas. Call it! Time of death 2:42pm. I was coasting down hill with enough momentum that the car glided about 3/4 mile to the gas station including a small 180 degree turn onto the lot. The car came to rest AT the pump ... with a bit of momentum to spare.
Braff said, "Goodbye Dad, you're lucky ... and a little soft between the ears."
Another disaster averted. You could actually see the disappointment in the vultures as they flew off to find someone who didn't have Braff's cell phone number.
Thanks Braff. I know I will hear about this for the rest of my life.