Friday, 11 July 2008

Friday 11/07/08

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.


Tim in Italy said...

I would have killed myself.

Cockbag LLC said...

I love your descriptions of the other attendees. People watching in my work cafeteria has to be the highlight of my otherwise usually boring day.

Jay from MI said...

I just totally laughed so hard at work reading today's post, everyone looked at me.

Love the "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"

You were indeed right, I would have scanned the same list. :)

Good post as always! :)

Nathan said...

I hadn't read your blog for a few days, and as I sit here eating my Pret chicken salad after a lucklustre lunchtime run I'm glad I chose it as post-lunchtime reading, for I am amused by the following:

- the way you always think fat girls are single. Granted, it's probably true... but some are quite funny and worth talking to (having developed humour to overcome the socially debilitating effects of fatness).
- today's casual arrogance and academic superiority (such arrogance is at it's best when it's casual and seemingly unintended as it makes it more patronising).
- the fact that I'm sure that poor blonde girl wondered why the cute little gay guy was looking at her strangely; Was he admiring her shoes/bag/belt?

Now I'm going to eat my Pret carrot cake because Madrid Pride is over and I can eat carbs this week, such is my life...

Ben said...

Any clues as to what skills the course was aiming to help you acquire/improve? Was it specific to your job, or something more generic?

I'm glad you finally posted today. I can only amuse myself for so long by constantly updating the cricket score on BBC Sport. 464-6 at the moment, in case anyone's interested. Ever been to a cricket match, LP? Lords is so must more prestigious than Wimbledon, if you ask me.

Graham said...

"- 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"

This is my favourite part because it's true, so true.

whosnext said...

i'm confused! are you gay, str8 or bi? :)

j said...

you've got us fatties all figured out

Eddie said...

When I'm at these meetings I create a grid of ten minute blocks on a pad and then fill them in as time passes. Gives me something to do.

Oldyeller said...

Very pale vanilla is my favorite.

Anonymous said...

rather like a fragment from george perec's 'species of spaces and other pieces'. i like!

AlwaysReadySF said...

I noticed how you purposely avoided telling us whether your flirting/eye contact was reciprocated by the pretty blond girl or not.

Did the spark ignite?

Is she going to fly back to Athens to meet your parents?

Is she going to carry your children?

semistraight said...

Yeah, I'd like to know what fat girls do when at must be quite be binge-fest.

Yesterday Playboy, today flirting with pretty blonde girls - what exactly are you up to?

London Preppy said...

tim: Nah it wasn't all that bad. I like being somewhere with lots of new people (and watching them)

cockbag: Ah, there we go then. People watching. Good

jay: Thanks buddy

nathan: Well maybe not all fat girls are single, but they have ended up one of the recurring characters of the blog now, so I'm not going to change them

London Preppy said...

ben: It was work specific. Very work specific so I can't say exactly what.

Cricket is the sport I know the least about. Mind you, I'm watching my first ever game this Boxing Day in Melbourne apparently

graham: Sadly I didn't confirm if it was her, but let's all believe that it was

whosnext: Self loathing gay

j: I think anyone with issues about their body acts the same (incl me)

eddie: That is an excellent suggestion, thanks

London Preppy said...

oldy: Mine too :-(

anon: I don't recognise that reference, but I'll take it it's good!

always: Oh yeah, I should have added the line: "She ignores me"

semi: I don't know. Trying to escape my destiny?

Red Exile / Красная Ссылка said...

I tried so, so hard - and failed - I am about to burst:

"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"...

They are also the ones likely to be your boss's boss in 5 years time; assuming you haven't been formally declared a national performance-art treasure by then... (which personally I opine to be a viable career-option for you)

...I 'invigilate' in-house course attendees, in some European countries, on our management track. Yes we score candidates and alas, its true, we score the 'coffee-break' interaction as much as the formal bits...

You lose 'nil points' for lateness - me? I am *always* late. Globally - but eschewing the post-boredom, pub-warmdown bit? Ah. Instant fail. Really, I'm serious. Suggests introversion-without-determination. We've, through bad luck and happensance, often found our people are instinctive introverts; forced extroversion is where the survivor instinct lies...if it exists at all.

It speaks rather tellingly to people-management potential(especially in adversity/hostile countries).

Careers are like TV interviews: the telling bits, invariably, are only known when the mic is still live but the victim thinks 'it's a wrap'.

Cunty eh? Such is career drudgery.

Write your novel sooner...

Gav Dublin said...

I have a similar issue with "corporate" meetings which involve roleplaying etc. I am perfectly capable of interacting with fellow workers without the need to be forced to do so in the guise of corporate spirit or whatever. I find it insulting. Whats your take on it LP?

Rambunctious WhipperSnapper said...

LP, this is Sitcom material. In fact, this felt like reading an episode of Scrubs.

I can almost hear your monologue on all the people in the room while the camera pans over them one-by-one. All we need now is a catchy name and theme tune and we're all set.

Trybaby said...

Delegates huh? Are you by chance in the United Nations? And that is why you can't tell us what you do?

London Preppy said...

gav: Well I can't personally say that I can interact even under normal circumstances, but yes, role plays are even more ridiculous

ram: I would like a name for this sitcom please

trybaby: Yes. Yes, I am

Ben said...

:-o Who is this other Ben posting on the comment board? I see confusing times...

London Preppy said...

ben: I don't know. I just don't know, buddy

Ben said...

If you don't, then I don't. My identity has been thrown in to chaos!

Who am I?

Rambunctious WhipperSnapper said...

well, though i'm not good this, but i'll try ..

u cud use the foll titles:
just passing through OR
like a bullet through my head OR livin like the dead

(i was going to use the last one for my own sitcom but i can't write like you so i have no chance)

and for the theme tune we can use bittersweet symphony .... specifically this verse:

'Cause it's a bittersweet symphony this life
Trying to make ends meet, you're a slave to the money then you die ...
... I can't change my mold, no, no, no, no, no

do i get producer credits at least??

AlwaysReadySF said...

I think the best title has been taken already.

Six. Feet. Under.

Too bad ;)

Gav Dublin said...

So you can't interact LP? Well did the threesome which commenced your relationship with Scott result from pure extra sensory preception then? AHAM AHAM..the Prep doth protest too much methinks!!