Next week I'm in Portland for a meeting. A meeting for which I am chair. Don't ask me how that happened. I have the social skills of a crustacean. I'm being Co-chaired pretty tightly though, by an avid little man who hates being A Number 2 almost as much as he hates my calling him that. Constantly. My Number 2. Insert leer.
This all served to make our pre-meeting call DELIGHTFUL. You could hear his sphinter snapping shut when I described my proposed agenda: Introductions, Break, Presentation, Break, Lunch…. Group Breakout…He made me put that one in there. I wanted it to be Early Wrap-Up.
But no, I conceded. I gave him his Group Break Outs in which to "write our work and communication plans".
Ta-da! Mine are written!
"You can't have your own," he snarls. "Since we only meet twice a year, it's important that we finish our GROUP …"
"I'm big on quality alone time…" I interrupt him. He's gone beyond the 10 word limit I normally allow him for whining.
"FOR A MEETING?" Sean gasps, "What do you mean, 'Alone time?'"
"You said you like smaller breakout groups for 'getting things done', my Number 2 " I remind him.
I was imagining myself already on a plane back home right after we did our Group Introductions….they could have their 'breakout groups' …. and I'd have mine. Breakout. It's a semantics thing.
"Alone time is not the purpose of a Group…"he huffs. He the sort of guy who likes to walk around the room with his hands in his freshly pressed pockets, twiddling things while waxing mind numbingly long on data platitudes and VISIONEERING, which I pronounce VAGINEERING; the first time accidentally, the last 29 might have been less so. Either way, it makes his jaw quiver and his little fists emerge from his pockets all sweaty… curling up on themselves. He has the pinkest hands….Like little shrimps. Sometimes watching him react to my Chairmanship makes me hungry. I usually try to call Lunch at around 10:00. I've put it on the agenda.
He is prepared for this,
"We're going to have sandwiches delivered," he tells me, "So we can work through lunch…."
"Yeah?"I yawn. "Cuz I'm the chair, and I think we'll need the break, with these large groups and all…You are A Number 2. You are responsible for …oh..let me look in my book…"
Another snapping noise. I've lied to him and told him there is a book that specifically delineates our Roles and Responsibilities. He knows or at least deeply suspects that this is a HUGE FAT FLY ENCRUSTED LIE. But he always listens…
"Yup. Here it is, 'A Number Two is responsible for providing snacks and coffee and carrying the Chairperson's heavy things….Never, except under emergency conditions, should a Number 2 lead a meeting or endeavor to alter the chairperson's agenda, and only then until a more responsible prime number can step in…"
"I guess I should be glad that you are not having wrap-up after lunch…" he sighs.
We are, but I called it Futuring on the agenda.