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Back in the saddle again

Ryan Hoffman
rhoffman@citizentelegram.com

Writing this right now is me taking a breath. Coming back into work Monday morning was a kick to the head rolled up in an elbow to the sternum so hard that it knocked the wind out. Who would have guessed there would be list of work running half a page waiting for me after managing to only work three days on my vacation .

It’s been a bit of a mad, incoherent scramble since returning … and it’s good to be back. For the most part, everyone was nice enough to listen to my pleas, me begging for no news while I was gone. Thank you for that.

In all honesty it was eerily refreshing to go back home for a week and largely not have to worry about the day-to-day, hour-to-hour grind that this job can be. It reminded me of post college life; that sweet spot right after graduation when I had nothing to do except hope I’d find a job before going mad. Luckily, vacation was void of the depression that quickly developed in those days after tossing my black cap and gown into a closet.

For any of you who read the column before I left — the one in which I shared my anxiety of flying — I did just fine on the plane. The airport was somewhat more interesting only for the fact that before I left Rifle, I stopped into Miller’s Dry Goods to buy a pair of cowboy boots and a cowboy hat.

I wanted to walk out of the terminal at the Cincinnati airport — which oddly enough is located in northern Kentucky — and see if my parents would actually buy the fact that their son moved out west and became a cowboy.

After making it to Denver at 3 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 9, and successfully getting on the right shuttle, I walked into Denver International Airport with my hat tilted low in the front — I was told that is how you are supposed to wear it — and my boots looking like they had just came off the shelf — they had. That’s when I realized I had no idea what to do. So I adjusted my hat and walked to the nearest airport employee.

“Can I use this to get my actual ticket?” I asked holding up my cell phone with the email from the travel company pulled up on the screen.

“You sure can. Just enter that number on one of these,” he said pointing to the cluster of computers, “and it will print your boarding pass.”

After struggling for five minutes, I returned to the same gentlemen — still looking like the type of jackass who tried to adopt a look that clearly did not belong to him.

“It didn’t work,” I said. He walked over with me and nearly did everything. “Thanks again.” I stopped to get some breakfast at Burger King and realized, again, after tossing the paper wrapper into the bag that I had no idea what to do or where to go. I returned to my friend, this time with the hat underneath my arm. “You’ll have to forgive me, I haven’t been in an airport in 14, 15 years. Where do I go once I have my boarding pass?”

And that was it. That was the extent of my flying woes, and I hadn’t even left the ground. I didn’t even need that drink at the airport bar, although I did have a celebratory beer on my flight into Cincinnati — apparently the price goes up $1 for every 100 feet in elevation when you’re on a plane. My family did get a kick out of the get up, but they didn’t believe it for a second.

I had fun with my family and friends, and managed to visit with some relatives who I had not seen in years. It was relaxing, but it’s good to be back. Because without the chaos, the pressure and the ensuing joy and relief that come with this job, life is pretty boring … even if you’re with the people you love the most.

Ryan Hoffman is editor of The Citizen Telegram. He can be reached at 970-685-2103 or rhoffman@citizentelegram.com.


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