Monday, August 30, 2010

Lincoln in Jacksonville: Day 1

I'm in Jacksonville this week for my first visit to one of my major institutional client's Jacksonville campus (Hints: Health care, shares a name with a condiment, frequently referenced in close proximity to a certain clinic in Cleveland). I spent most of today getting here, but after checking into my hotel spent a little bit of time driving around. As my first time in Northern Florida (e.g. not Orlando) I have the "new city" excitement, but I'm afraid this trip won't leave much room for leisure.

Good news: I have now touched the Atlantic Ocean. For some reason, growing up near the Pacific Ocean, I had always wondered if there was any difference. Granted, wearing freshly-shined dress shoes to the event probably was not the best idea and the little voice in the back of my mind was screaming "See, Lincoln, this is why you can't let yourself buy nice things." as a wave swept over my left foot.

Geeky news: I have now driven on both ends of Interstate 10--where it meets Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica, California and now where it meets I-95 in Jacksonville, Florida. Considering that I had no actual reason to be on I-10 in Jacksonville, I think this proves that I most certainly have a bit of my grandfather's personality. At one point, well before I had my driver's license, I had a US map on my bedroom wall and had dreamed about driving I-10 from end to end. 15 years later and having driven from Cali to Cleveland in 3 days, I don't think I'd want to do the I-10 trip...perhaps if I ever retire...but I'm glad I've seen the other end.
Wow, Customer Service: I stopped by a supermarket...some place named "Publix" get some stuff for the hotel room refrigerator. The lady behind the checkout was not only about my age and cute (yes, I'm a guy. I can be superficial at times) but efficient, happy, and chatty... I think she may be the happiest/most pleasant supermarket employee I've ever encountered. Almost makes me want to do all of my grocery shopping there, and based on how frequently I grocery shop, it probably wouldn't be that much of an inconvenience. If the stores near me had staff that made shopping so enjoyable, I might feel guilty about using self checkout...or I might go shopping more often. [I think airport TSA agents derive more enjoyment from their job than Cleveland grocery workers]
What, Customer Service: On the tails of the Publix experience, I made my way to Whataburger for dinner -- it's been 5 years since I was near one of these, and I was in the mood for something fast without being 'usual'. The oddest greeting I've ever gotten at a fast food joint: "Hi, How are you doing tonight? [pause] Are you from Human Resources?" Uh....
I have a brewing rant about the rolling ergonomic nightmare of a tin can the so-called "car" Hertz rented me is, but for now, let's just say the Toyota Yaris is not designed for anyone over 5' tall. My leg barely fits under the steering wheel. (Plus side: It has awesome acceleration.)
Jacksonville is reminding me a lot of my Southern California home, yet I'm already missing my Cleveland home.

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