Tuesday afternoon. I’m in Hartford, South Dakota, working away on my laptop. Two interviews are in the can; the third is scheduled for 3 p.m., half an hour away, so I’ve got time.
Or so I think.
An email pops up, interrupting my work. We hope everything is okay. We waited at the shop for you until 3:30 and now have left to go home for the day. Please let me know what you would like to do to reschedule.
That sound you hear is my heart tumbling down an elevator shaft. Followed by a very loud string of curse words that would make Ralphie’s dad in A Christmas Story beam with pride.
Because, ha-ha, despite what the clock in the bottom corner of my laptop says, it’s not really 2:30. Nope. It’s 3:30, which means I’ve ghosted my interview subjects.
SO. NOT. GOOD.
Time zones are stupid. You’ve heard the phrase It’s 5:00 somewhere? It should just be 5:00 everywhere, dammit.
This isn’t the first time that a time zone has screwed up an interview. But at least last time it was just a phone interview. I didn’t drive 332.4 miles across the state to stand somebody up, as was the case on Tuesday.
It’s confusing enough when your state is split into two different time zones (in South Dakota, that would be Mountain and Central). Add to that the fact that not all electronic devices automatically update the time, and it’s no wonder I screwed up. My phone had the correct time, but my laptop did not. And since I’d been working on my computer since after lunch, I was blissfully unaware of the real time.
Clearly, I need to move to a state with only one time zone. I hear Wisconsin is nice.
I immediately called my interviewee. Threw myself at her mercy. Apologized profusely. Begged for forgiveness. If she’d needed a kidney, I’d have grabbed a pair of rusty scissors, surgically removed one of mine, and handed it to her with a smile on my face. She didn’t sound too upset and we rescheduled for 7 a.m. Wednesday, about an hour before I was scheduled to depart. Whew.
In the end, it turned out to be not such a big deal. I pulled into her parking lot at 6:50 this morning. She got there a few minutes later.
“You beat me here!” she said.
“I wanted to make damn sure I didn’t leave you hanging again,” I said.
Just in case, I bought her and her husband a gift card from a local coffee shop. Because sucking up is most effective when combined with a bribe. The interview went swell, and in fact, she emailed my supervisor raving about “the CenturyCo staff’s professionalism.”
Maybe I should “forget” about meetings more often, huh?
Time zone faux pas aside, the trip was productive. We’ve actually gotten some rain recently — hallelujah! — so the entire state is green for a change.
When I wasn’t on the clock (not that I could tell the correct time anyway!), I drove into Sioux Falls a couple of times. Figured I might as well take advantage and get me some Big City Culture! Like this amazing sushi from Oshima Sushi Japanese Cuisine.
Before we moved out here, I scoffed over the idea of finding decent sushi in the Midwest. Much to my surprise, I found a couple of good places in Rapid City. Omaha also has killer sushi. But neither holds a candle to Oshima. Have you ever had a meal so delicious, you wanted to stand up and applaud the chef when you were finished? I came very close to doing that. Instead, I mentally composed a love letter to my raw fish and gushed enthusiastically to my server. The fish was so fresh it was practically still swimming. The sauces were bursting with flavor, and the textural contrast was incredible. I’m going out on a limb here and declaring it the best sushi I’ve ever had, and that’s saying a lot for a guy who lived on the West Coast for 32 years.
If you’re astute like Tara, you’ll notice three rolls in the photo. I had to assure her that no, I wasn’t dining with a mystery woman or anything scandalous of that nature. I’d only ordered two, and even debated that. But my server informed me their Tuesday special is buy two sushi rolls, get a third one free. Who am I to argue? As delicious as it all was, I ended up taking most of a roll back to my hotel room in a box.
As fun as my trip was — I really do enjoy these brief business getaways — I was glad to come home. And I got out of there just in time. I drove out to Dell Rapids this morning to grab coffee before hitting the road, and all the while, the sky was growing increasingly ominous. My interviewee had mentioned the forecast called for a chance of tornados later (!). I couldn’t resist pulling into my favorite overlook, the Dells of the Sioux, minutes before a strong thunderstorm rolled through.
Man alive, that was some wild weather.
Fortunately, my 4.5-hour drive along the interstate passed without incident. Somewhere between Murdo and Kadoka, the clock switched back to Mountain time, and all was right with the world.
For now, anyway. ‘Cause I’m going to have to do this all over again in another month or two. I’ll TRY not to stand anybody up again, but I make no promises.