… like a claustro-socio-group hug-execuspeak-“now pick a person seated at your table as your partner for the next activity”-phobe trapped in a gigantic Hyatt Regency ballroom with no windows, seated smack dab in the middle of 600 other Company Conference lemmings all shouting at the same time at the tops of their lungs because they can’t be heard over recorded Adele belting out “Rolling in the Deep” at concert-mega-decibel-belt, this choice of music I have no doubt chosen to elevate the Hip factor of the event, the chooser oblivious to the fact that Hip Company Conference has been, by the laws of physics or something, long ago rendered inexorably an Oxymoron of the Highest Order.
Don’t get me wrong. Adele is one of very few contemporary artists that I enjoy listening to. In fact, next to Bonnie Raitt she is my favorite female singer. Not just because she can sing. But also because she pulls off gorgeous-with-pudge so very beautifully.
TURN IT UP.
How. Ever. I know what you are up to, Company. Don’t treat me like a moron and try to snake-charm me with Adele. The message of this two day Leadership Conference is what the message always is: Do More With Less. You can call it New Company Culture, Agile and Nimble, Trusted and Trusting, WTFed and WTFing, whatever the F you want to call it. You didn’t need two days of me held captive in a hotel next to a freeway with sirens and too many people and too much noise and too much talking and not enough air and not getting my real work done and counting and recounting and splitting and resplitting my few remaining Xanax doses¹, that Safeway won’t auto-refill, because my nurse practitioner, who put zero refills on the Rx even though she wrote the Rx as “1/2 to 1 pill twice daily as needed” and who “wants to see me” before she oks what she already f-ing prescribed, and who is getting fired btw, for that.
All you need to do, Company, is say “Carol, Do More With Less.” And I will try, since you are the Company and you hired me to work for you.
But working for you does not include attending conferences at which I cannot actually do my real work. Particularly since I stepped down to 10 mg Paxil, where the roller tends to be on the downhill side of the coaster when I am not getting the peace and comfort I get from being stressed out by my real work.
The nutshell, which I know normal people usually do first: I rendered myself inexorably AWOL for all but 90-stuck-in-ballroom-basket-case-minutes of the two-day conference. I worked in my hotel room. Or parked myself and my laptop inconspicuously in an out of the way sports bar with windows one floor above the gigantic ballroom and therefore out of clear view of the Conference Attendees Police, and worked there. Also successfully AWOLed myself from the Dinner and Party-to-Follow segments of the Agenda, via Room Service. Which was pretty good.
I thought I had Gotten Away With It too. Until they unloaded us from the Company-provided bus after the ride home. My luggage was not on the bus. Because I didn’t put it on the bus. I assumed that since there were courteous and friendly Luggage Dudes who took my luggage from me, carefully tagged it and carefully stored it in the Awaiting Bus Departure luggage area, there was an implied commitment on the part of the Luggage Dudes that they would also carefully stow it on the bus for the trip home. But, because I was AWOL, I missed an announcement during the Closing Ceremonies or whatever that had something to do with attendees putting their own luggage on the bus.
Thankfully, the bell captain found my forlorn forgotten bag in the Awaiting Bus Departure area and the concierge is shipping it to me. At my expense.
The moral of this story: If you go AWOL, you will have to do without your favorite moisturizer for a few days.
¹ ala Raiders of the Lost Ark, Marian Ravenwood (trapped with Indiana Jones in the Well of Souls, surrounded by thousands of poisonous snakes kept at bay only by a single torch on its last remaining sputters): “Indy … the fire is going …. OUT …”