I am in a Conference Room. As anyone who has ever found themselves in such a place will attest, they are not good places to be.
This is not the first day of my attendance, in which me and my fellow ‘delegates’ are subjected to the relentlessly enthusiastic attentions of a gentleman in a faintly shiny suit who has armed himself with a laptop, a projector, a whiteboard that is apparently ‘interactive’, a 100-watt shit-eating perma-grin and a covert desire to rob his audience of any vestige of individual will.
He is saying something about ‘brand strategy’ whatever the fuck that is. He grabs a remote-controller type thing with a little flourish. Big deal.
‘Let me give you a flavour of what we’re talking about.’ He says as he turns to the whiteboard thing and commences a theatre of disillusionment via the gift of Power Point. ‘Flavour’? I have literally no idea what he is talking about.
I disliked him when I met him. I now idly wonder whether it would be possible to blind him using his own fucking laser-pointer.
Of course I shan’t. Whilst not actually ‘working’ I am ironically still At Work. As such, the unwritten contract between employer and employee – that employee will pretend to give a flying fuck about the company that employs him during the hours of nine and five – is still in effect.
I look around me. Black Guy, Asian Fellow, Chap Who Looks Like A Friendly Donkey and Gay Guy But Doesn’t Know It Yet are visibly suffering. But are bound by the same contract as I.
Our tormentors’ voice has become akin to the noise of a washing machine in my mind. I am conscious of it, but am trying not to let it bother me too much. But it’s not working. I try to think of nice things. This serves only to remind me how not-nice my current predicament is.
I resolve to try and think of something even more annoying than this man’s zealot-eyed babble in the hope that this will sufficiently distract me from the thought that I would currently gladly castrate myself and shove the two detached spunky pods in my ears JUST SO I DON’T HAVE TO FUCKING LISTEN TO HIM ANYMORE.
I decide to think of the more annoying thing only in italics, so I can differentiate between the noises in my ears and the noises in my head.
Here we go.
Him: prattle prattle prattle building audiences and driving response through creative thinking.
‘It’s always like this around here … but at least we can get our credit sorted.’
Yes. That works.
Him: prattle prattle creating the Yes momentum.
Well! That’s a lot less than we’re paying now!
Oh. This is good.
Him: prattle prattle prattle address the Need not the Want.
‘Josh! Your Dad’s found your scoootah!’
Excellent. I’ve gotten through it in one piece.
He lays down his remote control-thing and ostentatiously checks his unnecessarily swanky wristwatch.
Him: Right then guys. I’ve earnt myself a short break – why don’t you take one too? There’s a coffee machine in the hall, or if you want to go up to the deli [it’s not a ‘deli’, it’s a canteen] they have that really nice Slave Friendly coffee. It’s much better.
Him: That’s what it’s called isn’t it?
It appears that he is perfectly serious.
Him: You know. Slave Friendly [Christ don’t say it again]. You see it everywhere now. That’s it isn’t it?
He looks around, imploring.
Me: Em. ‘Fair Trade’?
Him: Yes yes yes. That’s it. [Panicking, red, flustered. Gestures] You all knew what I meant.
We really didn’t. He exits quickly.