How Not to Be an International Businessman

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My work were sending me to Cologne and that was information I felt needed to be shared relentlessly with all of my peers.

It’s important that everyone takes this information on board and notch up the level of respect they have for me by about 30-40%, For I am now an international businessman. Just like Richard Branson.  That’s why for the last few days I’ve been slipping it in to conversations. Or deliberately restarting previously dead whatsapp conversations with the intention of letting them know the very important news.


I also feel this will definitely be appealing to girls. I’m pretty much James Bond. At one point someone asked if I was flying business class, which I wasn’t but there’s no point them knowing that.

I think I’ve managed to get the word out to about 30 or so people, accidentally mentioning it more than once to a couple of people which dented the 30-40% respect increase that I had previously earned.

The morning of the flight I have cleverly left myself just one hour to pack, which should be ample time for an overnight bag I think to myself as my search for an overnight bag grows increasingly panicked.

I have no overnight sized bag. Just a laptop bag or a full on suitcase that I’d have to pay to check in. 45 minutes later I have crammed the next days clothes, a phone charger, a laptop charger, paperwork, notebook into a fit-to-burst 15″ laptop bag. So Ironically everything apart from my laptop which is now in a Tesco bag for life. “That will be alright” I think to myself. I try to picture Branson carrying his electronics in a carrier bag and the fact that it’s a difficult image to conjure makes me think that maybe it won’t be alright, but it’s too late.

Outside a taxi beeps it’s horn and I quickly slip on my black work shoes (which looks an odd combination with my light grey T-shirt and scraggly jeans, but necessary as there is no space for the luxury of a change of footwear.) I quickly dart out before either housemate has a chance to ask what I’m wearing or if I’ve just bought a laptop from Tesco.

Halfway to the airport I realise that in my haste I didn’t pick up my coat. This is in December so ought to have been near the top of my list just underneath passport and boarding pass (which thankfully, I did remember.)

“Is there a laptop in here?” asks the security man pointing to my laptop bag which has been put into one of those trays. “No” I reply “But there is in here” holding up my bag for life, and this is the first time it occurs to me that I should have put my laptop in the laptop bag and clothes in the carrier bag. It would still be weird, but that’s what Branson would have done.

On the plane two stewardesses are handing out free sandwiches and drinks. The bloke in the row adjacent orders a red wine and I decide that’s exactly what Branson would order. So I do too. “Would you like a glass of water with that?” she asks in a way that makes me think that I’m supposed to say yes.

So thirty minutes into this fifty minute flight my tray table is full with a packet of free cheese sandwiches which I have no intention of eating, a glass of water that I have no intention of drinking because I already kind of need a wee and a tiny bottle of wine. The wine I do have every intention of drinking. The bottle is just the right size to perfectly fill the little plastic cup provided to the brim.

Then we hit some turbulence. Turbulence + red wine + a light grey t-shirt = a man who now regrets forgetting his coat.

4 hours later I arrive at my hotel, tired and wine-stained, only to discover that the adaptor I hastily bought in duty free is still in the overhead locker on the airplane. So I traipse the streets of Cologne at 11pm in just a wine covered t-shirt and jeans in December receiving some sympathetic looks from locals. “This isn’t the kind of thing Branson would do” I think to myself as the rain begins.

My mission unsuccessful, I return empty handed to the hotel room where I’m momentarily delighted to see that the mini bar is complimentary. There are three bottles of beer, and the TV has English channels! “Maybe today isn’t a complete disaster after all” I think as I put on the hotel dressing gown. Then I realise that there’s nothing on TV and there’s no bottle opener provided.


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