Sunday, April 19, 2009

What a strange life I lead

I am flying back to Chicago after a week in Europe (more or less). Monday and Tuesday in Istanbul, teaching a two-day course for Oracle. Zurich on Wednesday, Munich on Thursday, Frankfurt on Friday - presenting "Guaranteeing Application Success with the Toad Development Suite" for Quest Software, my employer.

So I am in seat 31B of an American Airlines 777. That means it is an exit row coach seat with a big open space in front of me. Even better, 31A is empty, so I have "spread out", my laptop is plugged into the power outlet, and I am very pleased with myself.

What? Pleased? Having to sit in an enormous metal cylinder hurtling through the air at 542 miles per hour?

Yes. I just realized that I am actually enjoying myself, because I am getting a lot of work done. Specifically, I am editing chapters for the fifth edition of Oracle PL/SQL Programming (available in September 2009, covering all features of Oracle PL/SQL through Oracle Database 11g Release 2). Earlier, I fixed several bugs in Quest Code Tester, revamped my Best of PL/SQL course materials in advance of my two day training on this topic in Salt Lake City next week.

On an eight hour flight back to Chicago, I probably manage to get about 5-6 hours of work accomplished. I am actually more productive on the plane than I am in my own home office. Why? Fewer distractions - most notably, I cannot check my email. So I can't respond to my emails. I can't go online and play my games of chess (at, a really wonderful site if you happen to enjoy chess).

Given how much I travel on American Airlines (over 230,000 miles in the last two years), I can get upgrades pretty much whenever I want. But I also realized recently that as long as I can get one of these row 31 aisle seats (31B or 31H), I'd rather not upgrade. If I do, I am fed more often, it takes longer to eat, and I am more tempted to drink alcohol. I get less done and in no more comfortable an environment.

This is what my life has come to.

Well, I suppose it could be worse. :-)


Rui said...

Really strange world where our confort zones reside on a specific aisle inside a plane.

Don't you feel that with all these new collaboration/communication tools (instant messaging, VOIP, video-conferencing, CISCO TelePresence) at very low costs, it is a counter-sense that you do 100k+ miles/year on travelling?

Safe journeys! ;-)

-- Rui

Steven Feuerstein said...

You would think so, Rui. But people still seem to greatly desire to hear from me in person...."live."

Danilo said...

That's what happens to rockstars.. one thing is to listen the CD, another is to enjoy your idol live.All the best, Steven.

AlexWalker said...

Steven, I know all about traveling a lot on planes, and I completely agree with you: It's one of the few places you can work in solitude these days: Strange world... :-)