I had a meeting with the Morale Committee at 9:30 this morning, so I had to get ready for work earlier than most of my shifts, and later than my Monday shifts. It kind of threw off my whole morning, because I knew traffic getting into Boston is really bad if you hit it anytime between 7:45am and 10:00am. I wasn't sure what time to leave.
I took Mom's car, because of the flat on my car which I can't have fixed until tomorrow (after the Morale Committee meeting, I scheduled myself to work until 2:30pm, when I'd attend the managers' meeting until 3:30pm, which means I'd get home after the tire shop closed). Her car takes a lot longer to defrost than mine, so the time that I left was a little later than I wanted to. I heard on the radio that 95 South was bumper-to-bumper, so I took a side road that leads directly to Rte. 93.
This road is basically two hills, fairly steep. It also wasn't plowed entirely well, there were patches of ice everywhere. Mom's car's brakes are touchier than mine, so when the guy in front of me slammed on his brakes with no warning, I instantly hit the brakes harder than I needed to.
And I started to slide.
It was in slow motion, I swear. It's not as if I was going very fast (maybe 20mph), so I wasn't spinning out of control, just kind of gliding across a slick surface where the brakes and the steering wheel were rendered moot. I'd say that I ran into a snowbank, except what happened wasn't so much running into a snowbank as sliding up a snowbank.
When the car came to a complete stop, I tried putting it into reverse, and I didn't even hear the wheels moving on the snow. I got out of the car and realized that not one wheel was touching the ground. All four wheels were in the air, and the car was teetering on the top of the snowbank, completely, utterly stuck.
Thinking that I had suddenly gained superpowers, I pushed at the car, but moving 2,000 pounds of metal isn't quite as easy as it sounds when there are no wheels involved. I had no idea what to do, so I ran across the street to the auto glass shop and asked two guys inside if they could see if they could help me rock the car or something to get at least the front wheels down into the snowbank, so I could try and get some sort of traction.
We pushed and we shoved, but the car was going nowhere, and I was about to call 411 to get the number of a towing company when a tow truck just sort of showed up! The Psychic Tow Guy stepped out of his rig and said, "I can pull you out of that snowbank for $25."
I checked my wallet and made sure I had $25 to give, and handed it over to him. He attached a chain to the back of the car, and to the front of his truck, and backed up, while I stayed inside the car and steered it back onto the road. I thanked him profusely, then tried to make up for lost time by getting onto the highway as quickly as possible.
The Morale Committee meeting was a lot more fun than I thought it was. Basically, the Morale Committee is made up of six women, most of them in administrative positions. I was the only man there, which suited me just fine. Bernice (who'd inspired me to think about the party I planned in the first place) seemed thrilled that I had shown up.
There were a couple of items on the agenda, including an employee arts and crafts show/sale they were planning. The discussion turned to how to set up the rooms designated as galleries, and I interjected by asking, "Do you have a curator for this?"
I was met by blank stares. Bernice finally asked me, "What do you mean?"
"Someone to set the show up; decide where pieces go and how best to hang and light them, create a flow from area to area, standardize the information cards next to the artwork, that sort of thing?"
More silence. Then, "No, we haven't appointed anyone to do that yet."
I said, "Well, if it isn't too presumptuous of me, I was an Art History major in college, which included classes in Museum Studies, and I worked in two different galleries in Boston for about three years. I know how to set up an art show."
One of the women, whom I deal with in Design on a regular basis, turned to me and said, "You have a lot more to you than I knew about!"
Well, I should hope so, since our entire five-year relationship has been based on her giving me printing requests and me calling her to tell her that her binders are ready. I may not be the most complex guy in the world, but I'm a little more multifaceted than "the copy guy."
After that, we discussed an event where there would be a documentary film playing about the AIDS crisis in Africa. For this, people were to bring in baby formula for a shipment to one of the areas in Africa hardest-hit by the disease, where there were a lot of orphanages.
"I'm not sure that people are going to want to socialize around a movie with such a depressing subject matter," said one of the women. "Could we just tell them about the film?"
I suggested that we turn the DVD (it's only 30 minutes long) into a web-based film and put it up on the intranet. Then, we could just link to it and give out short informational leaflets about the film at the social. They all liked that idea.
And then it was time to pitch my party! I'm calling it "Stand-up in the Social Atrium" (we have two atrii in the office, called the "Social Atrium" and the "Intellectual Atrium." Don't ask me why they're called that, there doesn't seem to be any particular reason for it other than that it sounds kind of uppity and pretentious.
Anyway, my idea was to have a theme party based on a Consulting Company Comedy Club. Employees would have an "open mike night," where they could tell their best jokes, tell a funny anecdote about work, tell their worst jokes, or do a full stand-up set. We'd serve "happy hour" munchies (Buffalo wings, mozzarella sticks and the like), and give out some door prizes. And, since all the social events seemed to have some sort of donation program involved with a charity or nonprofit, I suggested that we hold a raffle with the proceeds going to Diego's theater company, to sponsor a kid to be a part of their "Young Company" program (which teaches urban kids how to become Shakespearean actors and performs a professionally-staged show each summer).
They loved the idea. Everyone got excited and started talking about ideas on how to make it a great experience for everyone. We ended the meeting after that, and I asked if I could become a member of the Morale Committee. Bernice, in particular, was thrilled at the idea.
Later on that day, I got an e-mail from Bernice:
Subject: Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!
I just wanted to let you know that it's great that you wanted to join the Morale Committee!! It's so great. I wanted someone with your type of energy to become a part of this group. I think you're an excellent addition!
Maybe next week, we should hold the meeting at the end of the day, and you and I could head out for drinks afterwards! ;-)
I'm not terribly experienced in this sort of thing, but I think Bernice just asked me out. I'm terribly flattered, considering that she's very pretty (think: Lisa Loeb) and really smart and thinks I'm funny. She apparently also thinks I'm straight, which poses just a bit of a problem.
I sent her a generic "It was great to meet you all!" and left it at that. If she asks again, I'll have to out myself to her, I suppose (I always think I come across as the gayest thing since Carson Kressley), but I'm not really sure it was an invitation or her just being nice. She does seem to be kind of flirty when we talk, so I might not be reading things into her e-mail.
It's too bad that she isn't a nice gay guy named Bernard who looked a little like Naveen Andrews. It's nice to know that I may still have some appeal to someone in more than just a friendship sort of way, but it would be even nicer to know that that appeal was appealing to someone of my sexual preference.
After the meeting, I worked for a couple of hours, and then got into an e-mail fight with Dan about the department party. I won't go into details except to say that I was completely right and he is completely wrong, and I won.
We then had the managers' meeting, where the three supervisors basically steamrolled Dan into submission, deciding that everything we did had to be updated, including the issues I talked about in the "secret" entry from yesterday. Dan was at first taken aback, but then said, "If you're willing to put up a united front on all this, then I'll back you up."
Sounds like carte blanche to run the department the way we see fit. We took him up on the offer. Lara and I are going to be making the new hiring decisions (with final approval by Dan). We'll be tracking employees very vigorously this year, instead of trying to keep everything in our heads or in a private notebook as in years past. We're going to optimize the whole worldwide idea of our resources.
The meeting was filled with heated debate and lasted three hours. I didn't get out of the office until 5:30pm. Since I'd just logged in an 8-hour day, I asked if I could come in rather late tomorrow and just work a few hours before the department party. Dan said that was fine, so I'll probably come in from 1-7, instead of 7am-7pm. Not bad!
I'm stealing this idea from Becky, who does this type of entry quite often. I'm going to call it "Hey You." Basically, it's making statements to people without naming any names or giving particular specifics, just as a way of getting things off your chest.
Thanks for the invitation. It was completely unexpected, and I'm thrilled we're talking again.
If I take the time to find something cool to share with you, you could at least acknowledge that I shared it. Just ignoring it (twice) hurts my feelings.
Eventually, you'll come around to my way of thinking. It's just a matter of time.
The apology I sent? Was only because I didn't have concrete proof to back up the other events I described in my first message to you. The next one won't be followed by an apology, because I'll have documentation.
I don't believe one thing you say, but it's really fun talking with you anyway, so I don't care that you lie to me all the time.
Is it time to have that conversation you weren't ready for now?
This new endeavor we're about to embark on is going to be so cool! It's our ticket to fame and fortune, baby!
I'm sorry I always end our late-night conversations so abruptly. It's the Klonopin taking effect.
I'm not going to send another supportive message, because I haven't ever gotten a response. You're in my thoughts, and I hope everything works out well, but I'm not going out of my way to send well-wishes into a void.
I can't wait to get together! I've missed you! And thanks for accepting my request to help me with that thing.
We'll get together sometime when you're not so booked up. Introduce me to something other than a chain restaurant. I need to learn these things.
You totally rock. You didn't need to do that for me, I would have done it myself, but the fact that you took the time to do it yourself just proves you're the greatest.
Leave a message in the comments box, already!