This is a Thursday, and on this Thursday I’m on a training course. Training courses may initially seem like a good idea because you think oh it’s like a day off work, but then you turn up there and the truth hits you: you have to spend the next eight hours doing ridiculous group exercises and role play games with people you don’t know, some of which don’t care and (worse still) some of which care too much.
For this training course, I leave home exactly the same time as I would if I were going to work as normal, not allowing for the fact that I don’t know where this place is and I can’t read maps very well. So I end up being 20 minutes late.
I walk in the room and everyone is there already: 23 attendants and 2 course leaders, and I won’t even pretend that I’m nervous or embarrassed because 25 pairs of eyes are staring at me, because nobody is, I guess everyone has their own problems, you know?
One of the course leaders is already presenting something tedious, and the 23 people who are taking part in the course are sat at a series of connected tables around the room staring blankly at the projection on the wall. There are only two empty seats. One of them is between two single fat girls, and the other one between another girl and a guy who’s the normal / 20-something / English / graduate office worker type I like. Not hot, mind you, just somebody I know I can chat to when we get paired up to do cringe-worthy exercises. So I walk over and sit there.
All the people there are people who do the same job as me and they’re more or less on a similar level. Apart from two oldies (who I won’t concern myself with – why are they there doing this course now? What were they doing in their 20s and 30s?) everyone else must have graduated what? Two? Three? Six years ago? Something like that. You can tell who the newer ones are, because they seem almost alive still, they haven’t been broken yet, they haven’t lost their spirit.
Over the next 7.5 hours I have lots of time to observe this group, and in this group of 21 (+ two oldies) we have:
- Three single fat girls. The single fat girls are the only people not taking advantage of the free biscuits. I guess they have to look like they’re on a diet in public, then they can go home and take it out on the fridge
- Five guys only. Two out of the five guys are wearing Ralph Lauren shirts. Three out of the five guys are wearing glasses.
- Seven blonde girls. Seven dark-haired girls. One Indian girl. One black girl
- One girl wearing what can only be described as shiny silver pixie boots, black tights, a short, tight sweater/dress hybrid and a big belt (slut)
- One girl wearing what can only be described as a home-made knitted sweater from 1987. I check the delegates list and there is indeed one Eastern European name on it
Over the next 7.5 hours I:
- Do my best impression of somebody who’s awake
- Try to make eye contact / flirt with a pretty blonde girl in the other side of the room
- Go to the toilet nine times
- Eat the food I’ve brought with me (two chicken breasts and tomatoes) as well as the food they provide there at lunchtime
- Decline the invitation to go to the pub with my new friends after the course
Then I go to the gym.