Attending a meeting at “Head Office” is always an interesting experience, a little like walking through the neighbor’s house as they go about their daily life. I always expect plush carpet and sophisticated offices, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the formality of being buzzed in through security doors. Are they afraid some burnt out, over worked and under paid teacher will come to reap their vengeance upon them?
There was a general sigh of relaxation as the HQ presenter was unable to connect the over head projector to her laptop, but she had the fail safe position of blaming the IT guys. “Why did they have to change us from something that worked, to this?” she lamented.
I replied for the group, “Because it is progress!” The first bonding laugh and we were a team.
Half way through the scheduled three hour meeting we halted and a coffee break was suggested. A crocodile line of those suffering caffeine withdrawal followed a HQ leader down a corridor, through an open plan office filled with individuals who stopped their work and stared at the aliens walking in their midst (I could just hear them thinking, “Who are they? They are not HO regulars.”). Then out a fire door, down a flight of stairs to the next floor, to parade past more quizzical expressions. I think they were living, breathing humans but some appeared so pallid, almost anemic that a pinch may have been needed to really confirm their condition; while others who had been caught in mid-step, darted like small creatures of prey to the protection of their desks and computer screens.
My tolerance level had been surpassed, so I smiled and announced to the interned that “We are on a coffee hunt!” but they merely blinked, stunned by being spoken to, and more frighteningly, addressed by someone not from HQ. The temerity of those regionals! (I really wanted to say, “No, we don’t have two heads!)
It was instant coffee.
On the return trip, I ignored them. I am sure that they were all furiously typing memos about “regionals” cavorting within their inner sanctum, requesting the checking of locks on all security doors, but I knew we had secreted a chocolate cake in the meeting room and we weren’t going to share! The temerity of those regionals!