Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hey, look at me, I'm a Business Jerk.

In a crowded hotel room, hastily assembled, the desks arranged in a U shape. Business people are seated sedately, all wearing collared shirts, some with ties, listening to a discussion about the grant funding capacity of the Australan Government in Papua New Guinea, and the benefits to the state of Queensland. Lame jokes elicit predictable polite courtesy laughter.

The Queensland Treasurer, a young politician looks bored and fidgets idly with his pen. It's not surprising. The topic bores us all, and I am forced to write down what I see in order to give the appearance that I am taking notes. I look up and nod periodically, as if to say "Yes, that's a good point" or occasionally with a furrowed brow - "I don't know about that..." Nobody notices. Secretly, everyone's mind is wandering. The Asian gentleman to my right is fighting sleep- his eyelids conspiring against his desire to be seen to do the right thing in this artificial social envionment.

"...This is an exciting time..." says the speaker. Oh no it's not. The blackberry wielding, hurried young businessman with the striped shirt rubs his eyes fiercely, and adjusts his position again on the uncomfortably hard hotel chair.

A question from a concerned participant changes the tone of the room for a brief moment, before the dull monotonous warble of the original speaker resumes. In a way, his voice is welcome, like a familiar blanket, returning the participants to their somnambulistic business daydream.

In my mind, I stand and announce loudly to the room:
"My God, this is Boring! I'm leaving. Enjoy your business jerk meeting, suckers!"
The speaker stops, aghast. The smirks hidden behind expressions of mock surprise turned my way all reveal the same inner thought - "Yes!"

The room errupts into hubbub, as everyone has an opinion to express at once. I can see Tammy, the meeting organizer frowning harshly at me. I slam the door as I gleefully depart to the freedom of my independent life.

...The Treasurer interrupts my fantasy. It's clear he's considering the same idea. Instead, he tells a joke, and asks a direct question in an effort to curtail the rambling. The rambling answer that's returned takes several additional minutes from our lives. Again, the Treasurer interrupts. This time to thank the speaker and politely insist that the meeting is over.

Smiling and nodding, I file out of the room into the bright lobby, adjusting my tie.

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