After last night’s walk-out, we were all in suspense as to what would happen next. We got an email around 3:45am from our lead negotiators saying that they had just left off discussions with the other side and that they would be in touch with further word. Later that morning we got word that we should hang around until after noon to see if things were going to heat up (but the subtext was that it seemed likely that we’d be able to go home). So I called housekeeping to expedite my latest load of laundry, packed my things and checked out of the hotel. Never have I been so happy to check out of a hotel!
The next couple of hours were a mix of gleeful anticipation of going home, trepidation at the possibility of having to resume negotiations, and ineffective attempts at getting other work done. At 2pm the call came: I was officially released to go home! [cue Hallelujah chorus] I immediately called my secretary and had her book me a spot on the next high-speed train to DC; within the hour I was on my way.
The trip was uneventful and this evening wonderful. I went straight from the train station to meet up with friends for drinks and dinner, and then went home to unpack, cut my fingernails, deep-clean everything in my apartment (oh, sweet therapy!) and sort through the shambles of my domestic situation (my mailbox was full of bills; my door had a notice from the landlord pasted to it warning me that if I didn’t pay my rent by Monday they would terminate my lease and evict me — nevermind that they don’t accept any other form of payment than personal check and no one under 80 takes a checkbook with them on surprise business trips to New York).
Now, at the insanely early hour of sometime before midnight, I’m finally starting to feel grounded again. Time for a snack and bed. I can’t wait for tomorrow to start: Ballet class, haircut, travel planning, Christmas parties — so many wonderful, ordinary, non-work activities await!
P.S. In the category of “see, the grass isn’t greener”, I’m happy to report that this trip has effectively cured me of any regret I might have felt for moving away from New York. As I spoke with other lawyers on the deal during the past two weeks, I learned that this intense, around-the-clock working style wasn’t at all unusual for them; indeed, many of them seemed to thrive on pulling all-nighters. If that’s what life as a New York lawyer is like, I don’t want anything to do with it. In addition, the trip dispelled any fantasies I might have entertained about the glamor of a travel-heavy worklife. I admit, in the past, to having eyed with some jealousy folks who spend their professional lives flying to exotic lands. But if that means losing touch with everything at home, having no routine or sense of community, and losing all sense of groundedness, then that’s a glamor I can live without. I’ll stick with my little life of bikes and goldfish and seasons tickets to the Kennedy Center.