ead Letter Office is a column of letters written by Todd Hutlock to a friend named Jimmy, who may or may not exist. The column details real-life experiences regarding work, life, and how Hutlock's obsession with music runs them both.
Greetings from beautiful Rhode Island!
Melanie and I are in Providence for a long (Friday to Tuesday) weekend (I am here for a work conference and she made the trip with me), and so consider this a cheap and lazy postcard. As much as I love to get them, I equally loathe writing and mailing them, so this will have to do.
Anyway, Providence is sort of a cool little town, lots of stuff within walking distance of our hotel, and we are having a wonderful time here. It is super fantastic to get this much time alone with Mel, and even though I am working, it is roughly speaking 2047% more time than we would be able to spend together back in C-Town and so I am happy as a little clam right about now.
Usually, I make these trips solo and so I’ve started to notice some of the things that are different now that I have a companion with me. One thing is that I am totally blowing off conference events left and right. Well, I would be doing that anyway because I’m lazy, but I would at least make it a point to attend the stuff with free food and/or booze, and even those hold no appeal for me now.
Another thing I would generally be doing is spending a lot of time in my hotel room watching cable TV. I don’t have cable at home and so usually I’ll spend most if not all of my down time on the road basking in the glow of ESPN or HBO or (most often) Cartoon Network (because you can never see enough cartoons if you ask me).
This trip is different though. With Mel here, I haven’t turned on the TV once—I’ve got far better things to do in the hotel room. Now granted, I have the laptop with me and so I can keep up on the news and baseball scores and local weather and horoscopes and all that junk, but still, I hardly noticed that I hadn’t done it.
On the other hand, I normally don’t get the urge to listen to music while I’m on these trips, and I don’t exactly know why. Furthermore, I do normally make it a point to go out and hit any handy record stores in the area when I am on the trips, and will usually buy some junk that I can’t find at home (not hard there, considering the action in Cleveland on that front), and yet, have no real desire to hear it until I get home, and even then it might take a few days to play.
This time out, though, we came into our room (at the Westin, pretty nice actually) and one of the first things I noticed was that the alarm clock has a CD player and I immediately wished I had brought some music with me.
So now my mind is wandering to the connections between these topics. Do I only watch television when I am alone and bored? I hardly ever watch it at home anymore—really, just The OC and the odd sporting event, and even those are only when I have absolutely nothing better to do.
Is there some connection between being bored and blank-minded at home or in a hotel that makes me not want to listen to music, but that compels me to watch television?
Why don’t I want to play music in my room when I’m alone on these trips, but I do now that I have a companion? Is it that I want to play music when I’m happy and enjoying myself, and I want to watch TV when I’m feeling lazy and dull?
Music makes me happy and so when I’m happy, I want to hear music—there is a certain symbiosis there. As such, television makes me feel boring and stupid and so when I am feeling boring and stupid, I want to watch television.
This is what I have learned on my trip. I am sure my bosses will be thrilled to pieces that I made this breakthrough while using company expenses to take my girlfriend out to dinner and avoiding as many actual work functions as possible! Hooray! I love traveling on business!
Okay, I’m off to cuddle up next to my girl and think of how many times I can hit snooze in the morning before I miss the first event of the day... I’ll talk to you when I get back.
Your man in the Midwest,