Identity Crisis at the Bookstore
Updated: Sep 11
Pittsburgh International Airport. It is a Tuesday afternoon and I get through security in twenty minutes. Ten trips this year so far and zero body cavity searches. I am on a hot streak but now have ninety minutes to kill. I have a big meeting on the other side of this flight to Dallas, so the airport bar is out and I’m terrified of those airport massage parlors. Much to the delight of my FitBit, I go wandering and find a magazine stand.
For twenty minutes, I wander indecisively in my passably stylish travel shoes and my too-heavy shoulder bag. In my other hand, my latte is cooling down. My eyes dart between the equivalents of an angel and devil sitting on my shoulders.
On one side, The Economist. It challenges my vocabulary and grasp of foreign policy and enflames my instant inferiority complex during any conversation that includes someone with an English accent. On the other side, People Magazine. That pop culture nugget that, while it does not contain the Queen’s English, includes wonderful tales of Princesses Kardashian, Aniston, and Gaga and, of course, the beach escapades of Princes Pitt, Efron. This week, an actual Prince Harry and future Princess Meghan.
My company pays me, presumably, because they think I am smart, reliable, and represent them well on the road. What would that person read?
Which to choose: ten-page long essays on German markets or a magazine I can read cover to cover in eleven minutes and come out smelling like the latest perfume?
My company pays me, presumably, because they think I am smart, reliable, and represent them well on the road. What would that person read? The Economist, naturally. But they also want me to be personable and able to discuss something that is decidedly not politics at the inevitable happy hour that will follow this Dallas meeting.
Then, of course, there is the person I often forget: me. I got here early, left my family behind, worked late the night before, and will undoubtedly work late tonight. Between now and 3:30 pm in another time zone, I can be me. Me without co-workers. Me without ketchup and toast requests for lunch from my kids. Just me. This brief window between serving hot dogs and serving my company. So, who am I? In reality, I am a little Economist and a little People. So I’ll get a Time Magazine.
~Journey On, Janes