When I’m on the road for business, there is one unvarying element of my travel routine: the call home. I’m like ET that way. In fact, it’s usually two calls home — one when I get to my hotel room and drop my bags off, and then another when I’m back in the room for good and ready to turn in for the night.
Why two calls? The first one is easy to explain. When I’m traveling, I just want Kish to know where I am. So, I’ll call and remind her of the name of my hotel and give her my assigned room number. In the age of cell phones, this is probably pointless — who wants to hassle with a hotel switchboard when you can call somebody directly? — but it still makes me feel good that she knows where I am.
The second call has a deeper, less rational purpose. Business travel is weird. You’re alone in an unknown hotel room, with all of its alien sights and sounds. Hearing the familiar voice of a loved one just makes the strange room feel less strange.
Curiously, too, the more mundane the conversation, the greater the degree of emotional comfort that is imparted. I don’t need to be entertained by some abstract discussion about a recent Supreme Court decision or the latest episode of a hot TV show. Fill my ear with talk about the HVAC systems guy’s comments about what we need to do to our ducts, however, and I’ll be a happy camper. Those are the conversations that make me feel like we’re at home, talking on the sofa about the events of the day. It’s exactly the kind of comforting mental image that helps me to slip into slumberland.