Saturday, February 17, 2007

To treat or re-treat?

Staff retreats.
Who ever came up with that misnomer? One would think a retreat would be better than a treat. I am sad to say this is not so. In the 4 or 5 retreats I’ve attended in my stay here thus far, none have ever come close to the refreshing experience of an ice cold Dr. Pepper. And I consider that a pretty nice treat.

We take two overnight retreats a year, and 2 all day staff retreats are wedged in between there somewhere. There are no two ways about it. We work. The staff pry the tops off their heads and ideas fly about in a frenzy. My job is to collect the thoughts that run rampant and put them down in type on the laptop. Butterfly nets don’t catch squat in this situation. Flypaper won’t hold syllables, either.

I used to take the easel and markers, but found I could not write fast enough, or if I did, I couldn’t read it later when sanity returned back at the office. The next trip we took the lap top and for some unknown reason, we hooked it up to a projector so all of my misspellings could be clearly seen by all. Talk about pressure. I realized in that first laptop experience that I needed to be true to myself. There just is no other way to be and the fact of the matter is I have )in some other life) always wanted to be the court reporter on Perry Mason. I mean, she managed to collect all the statements, right? So, the first lap top experience, I put on my court reporter hat and went to it. I soon realized how ridiculous that dream was and I quickly sought out a workable solution. I decided to close my eyes, and just type what I heard and clean it up later. So, that’s what I did.

My dictation system worked out pretty well, but only because the staff loves me. Only because the staff is extremely tolerant of the fact that I am only disguised as a church secretary, that removing the secretary cloak reveals the hard cruel facts. I am just Melanie. Melanie who likes to ring the lunch and dinner bell because it looks like the church bell in the Hunchback of Notre dame.

I discovered that I could type faster with my eyes closed, but I also discovered that I lost my filter when I typed that way. This became abundantly clear on our last retreat. We had been watching the creative exchange bouncing off off the walls for hours. I was cramped and achy, my fingers were getting tired of doing the walking and my mind began to wander. I was thinking how nice it would be to have a stretch break. I was daydreaming about it and suddenly, my bubble popped with the voice of my boss. “ What is a stretch break?” he asked. I heard laughter from around me and I opened my eyes. There, before me on the projected screen was this truthful but embarrassing question.

We might need to consider taking a stretch break soon. THIS JUST IN!! WE WILL BE LEAVING FOR DINNER AT 5:30 ON THIS VERY DAY!! XXXX1 MINUTES FROM NOW.
Let me just say that if you increase your font to say, 72 on the computer, which I totally do NOT recall doing, then it appears in like, font size 674 on the screen.

The rest of this story?
Well, we had a break and went to dinner. And I didn’t lose my job. Yet. Again.


"imagine the darkness in love with the light." said...

lol how great. yes when i type too i lose my filter. and then i reread what i just typed and go OMG. and delete it all and start over.

Beefcake Almighty said...

The only thing that Staff Retreats bring to the table is the numerous ways you can murder your co-workers. Avoid them like the plague.