Wednesday, October 11, 2006

brush with big brutha

yesterday we presented the initial strategy doc i and several others labored over all weekend. this account is our first significant one with a local pharma giant, and since we’d all love to fasten on that teat, this job = Huge Fucking Ado.

5 of us trekked to the client’s HQ and stood goggling in the 3-story lobby like schoolkids on a trip to the zoo.

-- this lobby is as big as our entire building, M breathed.
-- is there a Vending Machine, i wondered.
-- there’s a Brasserie, The Mayor replied, and cocked his head upward where visible were little pharma lemmings bussing their trays.
-- yeah, but josé used to work here and he said that all their salads have meat, M observed.

well, there is one advantage we have. our Vending Machine does offer vegetarian options. and you’re not a closed-caption TV star the whole time you’re on our premises.

-- when i used to work for GSK -- D offered -- one of our vendors arrived late for a meeting and didn’t have time to make it to a restroom, so he relieved himself next to his car. of course everything was caught on camera, and security apprehended him. he got in big trouble.

hmmm. kinda makes you think twice about a late-night roll on the conference room table.

we’re expected guests, so all our security clearances and credit checks have been processed beforehand; straightaway we’re badged and given some really convoluted directions. all 5 of us listen and nod, naturally assuming that someone else has been the one paying attention. so when we’re sent on our way, we’re like puppies tumbling out of a kids’ pool, inclined toward clumping, but still nosing in different directions.

i get held up by the pockets of scent dropping down from the brasserie and am thus the last one to make it to the revolving doors, one of the first entrances into the inner sanctum. in video games, this is usually where the first Boss comes out and kicks your ass. in real life it’s not much different. next to the door there’s a pad with a red LED light. i push the light and sail in with blithe confidence, but the door does not budge. hmmm. again push light, which does not seem very pushable; and again, nothing.

but look – here’s someone coming the opposite way. it is a good thing everything here is glass, so you can plan for oncoming traffic. the other woman enters, the doors revolve and i slip in. hooray! -then the doors grind to a stop. there is a Voice:

-- the doors will now reverse direction. please move accordingly. the doors will now reverse direction.

the doors reverse direction, and the other woman and i dutifully shuffle backwards, looking at each other quizzically. an asian dude joins the queue behind her. the system resets, the other woman enters as do i. the Voice:

-- the doors will now reverse direction. please move accordingly. the doors will now reverse direction.

the reverse, shuffle and reset. M’s in paroxysms of giggles, D looks absolutely horrified and The Mayor’s jiggling his blazer at me. the other woman is looking rather pained. thinking to catch me off-guard, she charges quickly, but with my super-caffeine powers i am right on her. again, that fucking Voice. M almost collapses on the floor.

asian dude missed half the fun, but he’s already had enough. he waves his ID at me. DO YOU HAVE A BADGE he hollers. oh, THAT thing. i never knew they DID anything. i’m always losing them; usually The Mayor finds them in the elevator. i have one. SEE? I brandish my badge at asian guy. USE IT!!! he implores. i guess he wants to get out of the building real bad. i hope he's not planning to take a whizz in the parking lot.

i pass my badge over the pad, the light glows green, the doors move smoothly and i sail through like the fucking queen of england joining her subjects.

-- god you’re a loser, J says to me.
-- yeah and you still live with your mom.
turning to The Mayor, i explain with a touch of defensiveness, look i never knew these things had a USE. he shakes his head and flaps the badge clipped to his lapel.
-- i tried to tell ya.

the next 15min is a wild goose chase as we try to find our conference room using directions that were confusing even before 5 different people misinterpreted them, so we finally arrive 10min late, when we appeared at the reception desk 15min early. by this time D is so frazzled and fidgety her lips are thin white lines. it is a good thing i’m the main presenter, not her. once you get caught in a revolving door, things can only get better.

after this day, it was lovely to get out on the track. my still-weak hamstring triggers errant, compensatory pains but so far they’re minor; and i finished up my set of 1000m intervals at 6min mile pace and felt absolutely giddy. endorphins, man. wish i could bottle ‘em.


Subhangi said...

... And that's why I avoid escalators and take the stairs instead.

Subhangi said...

... And of course, I misread "brasserie" as "brassiere" YET AGAIN.

addon said...


you are one funny person. that is a great story, good mental images.

finn and the doors. i will remember that one.


finn said...

you're a visual guy adam, so it was kinda like this.

subhangi, for every time you read brassiere, i typed it.

Brass(ier)ed Off.

Theo said...

That was awesome, Finn. Did you get a chance to sample the fruits of the brasserie? [snicker]

And hey, did you end up using that irrigation diagram you linked me yesterday?

Subhangi said...

LOL ... Finn, you oughta take up some writing on the side (and try doing your own accompanying cartoons while you're at it.) You're GOOD, by G!

finn said...

unfortunately i can't take cred for gary larson's cartoon skillz. but adam could prob hook me up w/some evocative sketches?

and no, teho, tight-lipped D nixed the idea of including the exploding 'tate. i swear my creative brillance is vastly underappreciated in this place.

imma go tip the Vending Machine now.

Subhangi said...

[sigh] The Vending Machine at our cafe makes LOUSY chai - and even the coffee is such that for a hot-blooded South Indian to taste it would be SACRILEGE!

(And an insult to my own mom's and mine coffee-brewing skills.)

Egads, I sound like a redneck.

fatmammycat said...

'And you still live with your mom,' SLAP! Well in.

addon said...


yeah, it would be a bunch of laughs to illustrate that. no time at the moment.

reminds me of a joke that has kept me amused for decades, although no-one else laughs. bear in mind that I am from the UK (Scotland) and that Irishmen are the butt of all dumb-guy jokes (although every Irishman I have met has been spectacularly brilliant, maybe not ... err, grounded enough). In brief, this (why is it always "this"?) Irishman comes to a door that says push so he pushes, one that says pull and he pulls, then gets a hernia at the lift.

You have to understand that in the UK and of course out here in OZ, a lift is what you guys call an elevator.

oops is FMC Irish, can't remember now. scrub that, substitute Australian for Irish.

OK. you didn't laugh. Best if I go now. Hooroo.


finn said...

dear adam,

i laughed. heartily.