What state are you in?

Mile-High Club by Karen Hawkins

It’s a question I’m hearing with alarming regularity these days, and I’ll admit it’s a pretty fair one.

I’ve been to five states in the first four months of this year: Illinois (where the media Rebellion lives); Arizona (where a high school bestie and her hilarious family live); Washington (where my lovely and talented girlfriend lives); Nevada (what happens in Vegas…) and Texas (site of my current work assignment).

So what state am I in? Disarray, mostly.

As I write this, I can’t remember if I packed underwear this week, it’s only noon and I’ve already traveled 950 miles today, and I’ve been chased down by two screaming and intensely well-intentioned women hell-bent on returning my wallet to me after I left it on the lunch counter. Sigh.

When I oh-so-cheekily named this column a year ago, I had just taken a day job that came with the promise of four days a week of travel: leaving Monday mornings and returning Thursday nights, week in, week out. Visions of airline, hotel and car rental points danced in my head, and I daydreamed about  a luxurious life of never having to pay for personal travel again.

Then came my first assignment: A project in the exotic and faraway lands of … wait for it … Chicago’s northern suburbs. So long, hotel points. Hello, road rage.

But then I got comfortable – sleeping in my own bed and enjoying Chicago seven days a week. And then just as abruptly as it started, my local project ended after 10 sometimes grueling, always instructive months, and I’ve been sent to Houston.

Airline miles! Hotel points! Rental car elite status! 3 a.m. wake-up calls! Hours-long flights behind screaming children! Lecherous TSA employees! Glam, glam, glam.

Lesson learned: Be careful what you wish for…

All kidding (actually, I’m not kidding) aside, I’m still a naïve enough business travel and a curious enough reporter at heart to see this all as both an adventure and a sociological experiment. I know I’ll get used to the incredibly long Mondays (see above re: 3 a.m. wake-up call) and learn to pack as much fun into my days at home as possible. The latter is what Chicagoans do to survive the winter after all — we load up the summers with as much fun/sun as we can stand and slowly burn it off during the ensuing Great Hibernation.

For the record, Houston, so far, seems lovely, and I’m constantly struck by how diverse it is (24 percent Black, 44 percent Latino and 6 percent Asian, according to the Census Bureau).

I’ve had some amazing meals (good Southern food + good Mexican food + good seafood = my fervent hope that they make elastic waistband business suits. Maybe pajama suits a la pajama jeans?). And I’m hoping to spend time with friends who live here.

Plus, Bessie Amelia seems to like it here.

What state am I in? That depends – what day is it?

In stately Rebellion,
Karen

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Karen Hawkins is the Founder and Rebelle in Chief of Rebellious Magazine. She is a recovering mainstream media reporter and editor who wants to thank her former boss for naming the online magazine she's always wanted to start when he called her “Rebellious” for taking too many weekends off. When she isn't instigating a media Rebellion, she's thanking her lucky starlets she gets to do whatever she wants on weekends.

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