Don’t mix work with pleasure.
That’s the saying, right? The cardinal rule? Someone said it, and i call bullshit.
Now, maybe that dude got really burned by mixing the two. I’ve heard the stories. Hell, I’ve been IN a couple of those stories. Some actively, circa 1996, for example, as a young EKIN (don’t know? Look it up) passing out on an elevator floor after a particularly rowdy sales meeting party at a resort in Orlando. And others, passively, as an older, much more mature professional (it’s true, I am a real professional now), capturing the moment, on film, of one team member pissing on the front grill of another’s car (you know who you are and I love you and shall never give up your identity). I have the photo still… perhaps if enough of you ask…. but anyway…
Perhaps that is when the moment started when I just began snapping photos of everything.
I hope to God that’s not true, though. I can just see it now. My wildest dreams come true whereby some random editor or publisher discovers how brilliant this blog is (I’m secretly hoping for A.J. Jacobs, who wrote the book “The Know-It-All” that I’m currently reading, loving, and using to become WAY more versed on my random trivia, all written in a style that I adore), and he’s interviewing me, right (cuz he’s also an editor of Esquire mag), and he says, “So, what was the defining moment when you realized you were such a gifted amateur photographer?” And I would say, “ummmm…well… I think it started when I was in Bend, OR, and I caught a photo of one of my colleagues passing on his last beer in the form of urine to my other colleagues’ car.” God help me, if he didn’t kick my ass at that point, I’d probably just kick my own. So let’s just move on, and call it now that I loved taking pictures way before that.
So here I am, 5156 miles (8303 km) from Amsterdam, flying up over the top of the Earth (passing over the Denmark Strait, to be exact), and though it was a work trip, we did get out and manage to mix work with pleasure, so I’d like to share some of my observations and photos from the trip, so I can call off the asshole who gave “don’t mix work with pleasure” such a bad rap.
I wish I could start with the dude next to me. But I’m afraid he is trying to look over at my screen to see what’s up over here. I don’t blame him, I’m nosy as all hell and would be trying to do the same thing.
Problem is, he’s got on Adidas shoes and Reebok socks. Now, listen. You ALLLLL think that I’m bummed that he’s wearing those brands.
But I’m not.
YES, I’m a diehard NIKE geek. YES, I have a tattoo of the Swoosh on my ankle (see: EKIN), but I can’t help it if the guy is clueless and doesn’t share my love for the Goddess of Victory. What’s really pissing me off is a) that he is MIXING brands down there. You. Just. Don’t. Do. That (wow, and I didn’t even plan on that coming out as a play on our own phrase). Secondly, I can’t take a picture of it. Not even stealthily. The cabin is dark, I would need a flash, and I’m pretty sure even I couldn’t make up a lame-ass story as to why I would be shooting his torturous Adi-Bok combo. However, I still have 6 hours and 31 minutes to make it happen. Triple Dog Dare me, I dare you.
So there’s that.
Moving onto the trip, and the actual point of this posting. (Hey, I can edit photos, but I never claimed to be able to edit my own goddamn words).
First, let’s discuss appropriate dress for travel.
You think I’m going to start with shoes, don’t you. But NO, I’m… ok, shit… yeah, I am.
Shoes are important. Actually, picking the right shoes are really important. On a 5 day trip, I will need a crapload of shoes. You have to plan for a lot. Retail visits, office time, commute on public transportation, the one “really awesome pair of sneakers that every sneakerhead will be jealous you have” pair and then of course evening choices. It’s virtually impossible to do that in any fewer than 4 pairs of shoes. I had 5.
But I have this new pair that I swear can accomplish it all, and this is not a plug, it’s an honest testimony. My new Cole Haan wingtips. Seriously the first pair of insanely well crafted, made in Italy, beautifully oiled leather shoes that I can wear with NO SOCKS (that, my friends, is innovation). Worn with a pair of cuffed boyfriend jeans and in one fell swoop can cover every situation listed above. In my attempt to capture the super dope stairs descending down to the Tube, I managed to get my own foot in my way, so happily I illustrate observation #1) HAVE AN AMAZING MULTIPURPOSE SHOE.
When you travel with a crowd, it’s important that one member, at the very least, always stands out. Crowds, in general, blend. When you’re walking through a city of millions of people, and you’re either a) trying not to get sideswiped by a flock of Amsterdam-ites on their bikes or b) hit by a London taxi because every human instinct in you tells you to look left when you should have been looking right, you want to be able to look up and find the one “chap” in the crew that thank god wore a bright something or rather so you don’t get lost.
In this case, we were covered. We had the mother of all Chaps with us, Sandy Bodecker. Now, if you read my blog “do not f*&king make me say cheese,” you will see that a) not only is he always wearing bright, but b) that he is always flipping me off. But not so this time, mister. I got you when you weren’t looking, middle finger on safety mode in it’s holster, so I could illustrate observation #2) WEAR BRIGHT CLOTHES, GOD SAVE THE TEAM.
A Quick one,
Apparently “toddlers,” in the UK, get their own special name. (heeheeheeHEEhee!…Nippers, like Nipples but with an L… heehee). We also took much joy in our Tube stop, “Sheperds Bush.” So of course, we get to observation #3) EMBRACE YOUR INNER BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD.
Amsterdam is a beautiful city. If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, hell, my FIRST one, you’ll find random photos of Amsterdam in there. If you love to take photos, Amsterdam is heaven. Between the canals, the buildings, the tulips, the bikes, and the goddamn crooked buildings (seriously, what were they smoking? Don’t answer that… I meant it rhetorically), it’s a dreamland of photo opportunities. So you should go there. Here are just a few samplings of some of those :
There is another side to Amsterdam.
Which leads to observation #4) THERE IS SOME WEIRD ASS SHIT GOIN’ DOWN IN THE NETHERLANDS.
And finally, if you thought that I was bummed about the Adi-Bok disaster over here next to me in 1B (I feel safer now, he’s got his sleep mask on and is out like a light, but DAMMIT, his shoes are off and blanket is over his socks!),
what REALLY bums me out is blatent, shitty knockoffs of stuff. We’ve all seen it. Brands trying to make a buck off the tails of another. It happens, I get it. And I don’t really get angry, I mean really, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I just get bummed because in many cases, they do such a POOR job of it, it’s an insult!
Look, if you’re going to knock something off, be like those NYC street vendors that can sell you a Louis Vuitton bag that would fool even Kim Kardashian (aaaanndd…. GO).
Or a fake Rolex that would have a Zales sales associate scratching their head, or a pair of $8 Rayban Wayfarer knock offs you can buy your daughter at a beach shack in Huntington so she can look cool as school with her little friends at the pool. I get it. I get why people do it.
But this little number from Alife (a stealth one, the retailer was not to keen on photos)… a wanna-be Janoski that is shamelessly poor in it’s execution, well, that is just an insult.
Hell, even the BAPE dudes, those fine purveyors of knock off AF1′s, would be shaking their collective heads in shame on this one. The personal observation #5 being, IF YOU ARE GOING TO KNOCK SOMETHING OFF, DON’T INSULT THE ORIGINAL BRAND BY DOING A SHITTY JOB.
So, you see, it’s fine to mix work with pleasure. You can’t separate the two. How could you? We got a hell of a lot of work done this week with our teams across the pond. Work I was proud to be a part of.
But life happens. And sometimes, in the most desperate and horrible times, life turns traumatic and ugly and inhumanely real, as we learned just over a week ago to our friends in Japan. We have to live it and observe it and help it and document it and DONATE to it because in a fleeting moment it can be taken from us or someone we love.
If we don’t catch the moments of pleasure in between the work, then we may as well throw up our hands in defeat, because they cannot, and should not, be separated.
It’s the observation I like to call LIFE.
Peace from 38,000 feet above Earth.