Traveler's Confession - I'm That Guy

Don't be that guy.

Four words that sum up the overriding goal of my life. Whether it's on the road, on the golf course, or at Disney - especially at Disney - the last thing that I ever want to be is "that guy." We've all encountered him, rolled our eyes in disgust, and wondered how he manages to make any friends. And despite my best efforts at always playing it cool, the fact is I have several neurotic tendencies that come out from time to time, especially when I travel. Or to put it another way...

I'm that guy...

It was hard to admit at first, but over the years I've come to accept that in many ways I am "that guy." For example...

Airport-Security Guy

How many times do you hear the TSA agent shout "take everything out of your pockets" while standing in line at airport security? 10? 20? Let's just say it's a bunch, and yet I still manage to miss something almost every time. Usually it's some loose change - which I only seem to have when I'm at the airport - but in my fluster I manage to overlook big things too. Trust me: don't be that guy who forgets his George Costanza wallet, and holds up the line while a TSA agent gets to somewhere between first and second base. 
He forgot his wallet too..

Early-Check-In Guy

When confirming a hotel reservation, the least valuable piece of information for me is the check-in time. That's because I'm going to show up somewhere between 9am and noon regardless of what's printed on my confirmation. Usually getting into a room early isn't a problem - even last week at the Georgian Terrace, when I set a personal record of 7:42am - but every once in a while I'm made to wait. Now, when I was in the hotel business there was nothing I hated more than the guest who checked back with the desk 9 times in an hour to see if his room was ready yet, so I wouldn't dare be that guy. Instead, I find a nice comfy spot on a lobby couch, strategically in sight of the front desk, and pretend to work on my laptop. I'm told that this doesn't really fool anyone...
I arrived so early, the desk staff hadn't shown up for work yet.

Gate-Blocker Guy something more annoying than the swarm of people that crowd around the gate at the airport as soon as the agent picks up the microphone. That's right, you can't, because it doesn't exist. Don't worry, I would never allow myself to be one of those guys, but I may not be that far off either. When boarding begins for my flight and the swarm begins to cluster, I slowly saunter in the direction of the gate, pretending to look at magazines at the newsstand or checking emails on my phone. What's really going through my head is "Is it my turn? Is it my turn? How about now?" Meanwhile, I look on at the people sitting at the gate, watching movies and reading the paper, completely oblivious that our flight is about to leave any second and they are clearly in danger of missing it. I really want to be like those guys.
Seriously, is it my turn?

Subway-Map-Checker Guy

MJ and I use the subway to get around anytime one is available during our travels. And while I'd like to think I'm pretty proficient at navigating a city's transportation system, I still carry this overriding paranoia of missing our stop. Yes, I know that if it were to happen we could just get off at the next one and catch a train back, but I think in my subconscious I have a fear that we would be stuck on the train forever, like when Barney Stinson ran the New York Marathon and "saw where the trains turn around." This paranoia makes me a compulsive subway map checker, counting down the remaining stops each time the doors open. Of course, I do it discreetly, scanning the map out of the corner of my eye from the other side of the car. That is, unless some tourists get on board and block my view while tracing their route with their fingers on the map. Amateurs...
There was a lot of counting from Disneyland Paris (A4) to the city.

Food-Picture-Taker Guy

Hi, I'm Deej. And I take pictures of my food in Five Diamond restaurants. It used to be embarrassing, then it became acceptable, now I'd like to think it's cool. I'm probably dreaming on that last part, but I'm noticing more and more that other people are snapping photos of their food before digging in - thank you Instagram. Of course, they probably don't make their companions wait to eat until pictures of all the dishes have been captured. Yeah...that's just me.
Wait...I missed it. Can you do that again?

While being "that guy" is something that I always strive to avoid, as you can see, at times it is easier said than done. I've come to embrace my neurotic tendencies, and thankfully, MJ has also. Either that, or she's just bottling in her frustration and is going to have a St. Helens eruption one day. In any event, the key is to ensure that whenever "that guy" comes out, there's always another one nearby that's worse than you. At least then you can say...

"See, I'm not as bad as that guy."

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