Location: some meeting room in the no air-conditioning building
Date: any given Tuesday
Time: donkey time. (Read: after lunch)
Always the same steps are followed.
“Hi, nice to meet you” –
- Hands are shaken.
- Take/give the business card at the same time. (Look at the name that – of course – you both didn’t pay attention to)
- Repeat the same with each one of the guests (even with the colleagues on your company that you didn’t see before, or worse, that you have seen and even sat together at lunch but never ask each others’ name)
- Sit down. Place the cards in the order of the owners’ chairs.
- Excuse yourself for a coffee. Even if you don’t drink. You’ll need it. Take two, double strong.
- If there is an important meeting there will be cookies. Take as much as you can. Open them and put them in you coffee plate.
- Wait for the important person that is always late.
- Make a joke about how you should start without him/her. Grab your coffee. Sip. Look at the ceiling. Look at your watch. Sip again. Sigh. Look at the guest. Avoid eye contact. Look at the blue screen from the beamer which is showing, er, nothing. Sip again.
- The last person arrives.
- Door closed.
You sip again. Awkward silence.
“Good Afternoon” adds the last person who is casually the leader of the meeting. “Welcome”.
Chorus: “good afternoon”
“Thanks for receiving us” the guest will always add. Or phrases like “thanks for the invitation” are likely to be heard.
This is the 3rd time somebody asks me if I’m Spanish. Maybe I’m starting to look like them and my Latina charms are disappearing?
“Shall we do it in English?” – Someone.
“Don’t worry. Spanish is OK for me” – I add. Everybody laughs.
They love me
Everybody starts a “brief” introduction about themselves. The truth is everybody knows each other. But they also want to say something of what they do…blablabla.
Speaker (S): “Today is purely a technical meeting”
Well, and what other option do we have? Were you going to bring Play dough with you so we could make it practical?
For the first time I made the whole meeting to be in English…of course I understand their language, but this time I don’t wanna lose any information. I want to put everybody on the same level of not speaking in their mother tongue. It will be easier for me to remember and understand what they say… besides, it will be slower…ouh! (double Homer’s “d’ouh!”)My own fault…didn’t think of that carefully…
S: “What is the technology available in the market?”… “This is something you have to do with partners”
How to turn a boring meeting into something profitable for your life? Suckers… they all know. Instead they sit here…repeating like parrots…the same mistakes…the same lines…the same slides
“It’s a very profitable market!” he says. Everyone laughs.
I don’t know what they laugh about. I think because they heard the word profitable. We all love these words where money is involved. Shit! Could they be listening to my thoughts? I’m not following anymore. I will laugh along. - I laughed along.
My friend Suzanne will not believe this. This girl DID slide her finger around the coffee cup and took the…milk skin!!! She licked it from her finger…no joke. I have to tell her
S: “It’s a mission impossible”
wtf?! what did I miss?
S: “…so all experts know from experience”
Duh! I think that that is why they are called Experts…tell me something new, please
“Turn off the 2nd projector” – the other guy said to the sleepy one.
See? They are not present either …but thanks for doing that. It is distracting me …a little.
S: “… a client within to take part of the risk”
The projector shuts up. (Wow, I had forgotten how half-silence felt like)
Then there they go again. The slide with the shark. The finding Nemo shark. And the risks and blabla. And the hose and the investments and the reliability and the competitors…etc etc etc…maybe next time I give the presentation, right?
S: “We are the party that put it in the market”
I love it when they say this word. Party. I always imagine balloons and cake and piñatas when they say this. My mind is celebrating already. I’ll be 26 soon. There’s 1 ½ hour more to go in this meeting: Bye-bye balloon.
S: “Being a partner in an operator phase” …“It’s close to contract people who have done it for many years”
Yeah, right. Tell ME about it. Talk about me: The only experience I have been doing for many years is speaking, drinking, partying, writing and sleeping…ah yes…sometimes crying…and laughing too
Now he starts…wait… imitating? Alright: “What you DO know, what you DON’T know, what you know that you don’t know, what you don’t know that you don’t know…” bullshit…I just know me… and not quite. I ask my friends…can I use that know?? I’ll check my emails…mmm…I’ll wait a few minutes…where’s that coffee break?!
S: …“Somebody else to do it for us”
Hey! I need that for my laundry!...and cleaning…and…
S: “This is way beyond that”… “the story will make sense”
Well…you better make it have one, right?
S: “We want to do a quick DEMO”
I always think that they are going to bring a MIDI player and play “Everybody wants to rule the world”. I will never forget this song. It was the first MIDI I ever downloaded when it took like hours to download one song from the internet back in the 90’s. Shit, I said back in the 90’s! I’m getting old. The nineties…the nineties…that was yesterday right? Wait a minute…did he said 20 minutes?! (Bye-Bye Piñata…) Could I overbook these?
The slides are pretty…I better pay attention
S: “With this we can see everything people do”
S: “We can see if they are walking or lying down” (sounds tricky to me…confusing…)
He makes a joke about the Big Mac. (It’s not funny to me. Again…what are they talking about?) I laugh along…again.
S: “…train for the unexpected”… “We simulate more or less the whole thing”
Is he talking about me? What does he mean with the whole thing?
Wait…if shutdowns are less frequent then they have fewer opportunities to train people. What train?...shit, I’m falling asleep. I think I need coffee. When is the break? Hello! Did you guys forget about it? ...My tummy aches. Ah! Tuesday night is flamenco night. Fcuk…the week is going slow today. Well…tomorrow is Wednesday anyway. It does make a big difference…r.i.g.h.t…
S: “this is the other end”
Really? I don’t like the other end.
S: “every process is unique” “in the planes’ industry is more limited”
Ok right…just for the record I’m not the only one flying here.
S: “The more money you put on the table, the better your solution is”
In my country…we have a name for it…yes…it is called BRIBE! And yes, policemen tell us that all the time. No joke. Their favorite phrase when they stop you for doing some insignificant shit like driving thru red is: “how do we solve this?” those bastards! They should be punished with meetings…and no coffee!
S: “so we have 3 keys”
“the piano keys…are black and white but they sound like a million colors in your miiiiiiiiiiind” shit I love that song.
S: “dynamic simulation”
S: “the longer the FAT takes, the better the system at the end”
Maybe it depends on how fat the fat is, right? Hahaha…silly joke. What was FAT again? Fucking accessible theory?...haha..good one. Yup, Forever addicted to trouble…better one… ok…
S: “factory acceptance test”
…thank you chubby one.
I never thought I would be doing this in a meeting. I remember I did it in classes. I can’t keep focus. Maybe that’s why people talk to me. I simulate very well my listening skills. I listen very well while I take notes on something totally different.
S: “that is quite a challenge”
Is he really listening to my thoughts? He is scaring me…
S: “…touch base on this”… “we need to create some problems because some people will lose interest in the process”
Mmhmm you got it right my friend. Forget about the flatness. Me no likey flatness. Me likey challenge. Wait…is he still talking about work or just coincidently about my love life?
S: “reduce the flow and bring it slowly and safely to zero”
It sounds so peaceful: slowly and safely…mmmh. Where is that precisely? I want to be zero right now. With some Margaritas laying on a beach…4h one side…4 hours the other side…mmm
Suddenly… “do we want to take a break?” – someone asks. Nobody says anything. I break the silence. I’m tired of thinking.
Me: “well, I’d like to take some coffee”
Everyone says: “Me too”. Everybody follows.
(They love me)
I take an Ice tea…with bubbles. They talk. I go back to reality and do the best I can…I smile. Nod. Smile again. The rest is history.