Saturday, November 23, 2013

Living out of a suitcase

It's that time of year again!  The days get darker and colder, normal people start gearing up for the holidays, and I move into my suitcase.  It's the busiest season for the media-related transactions that I specialize in, and because many of my clients and their counter parties are in New York, I end up spending quite a bit of time up there.

You may recall how last year caught me somewhat by surprise -- I ended up spending the entire month of December working around the clock on a major regional sports network deal, missing nearly all of my holiday plans and only just barely surviving on a bare-bones wardrobe of two shirts and fourteen ties.

This year, anticipating much of the same, I've kept my winter-season plans to a minimum (no holidays with the family! no tickets to cool French theatre! my interior design class at the Corcoran has kicked me out for having missed too many sessions! so have all my holiday choirs!) and braced myself for the worst.

And if by "worst" I meant "going back to New York for an indefinite number of days to work on major sports media deals," then the worst seems to have arrived.  Almost.

This past Wednesday I got calls from two major clients (literally within half an hour of each other), both  exclaiming with great urgency that they needed me in their office first thing the next morning.  We were going to be "locked in a room" for however many days it took to get the deal done.  Obviously I couldn't meet both client's demands at once, so I conferred with the two relevant partners to devise a scheme whereby we would divide and conquer:  one partner would handle Client A, I would handle Client B, and the other partner would stay with his wife and kids and attend his father-in-law's unexpected funeral in an effort not to destroy his marriage.

Finally, I thought, as I packed a bag with sufficient supplies to last a month and scrambled to purchase train tickets and hotel reservations.  

Then I waited for the client to pull the trigger and tell me to get on the train.  Only it never did!  Every day since Wednesday the message has been, we're going to need you any minute, so don't unpack your bag, but don't come up here until we tell you for sure . . . .

Under normal circumstances this would not be a problem.  Better to be living out of a suitcase in the comfort of my own home than in a strange city, right?

Wrong!  Because if you're not going to be at home for the holidays, there's no better place to be than New York City.  Especially right now, since there are approximately forty-seven things that I want to do (like seeing Tosca at the Met Opera and Mark Rylance's new productions of Twelfth Night and Richard III, and finding the place that makes cronuts, obvi) but which I can only really afford to do if the firm and/or the client footing the bill for hotel, travel and food.  

Not that it's at all likely that I'd have enough free time to actually do all those things if I were up in New York for work -- but I'd have a better chance of it than I do from DC!

But the deal's not done yet, and I expect that I'll finally get the call to come up to New York sometime this week.  So until then, I'll continue to live out of my suitcase and compile my wish list of things to do.

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