Monday, July 20, 2009

In the middle of a meeting

Monday, July 20, 2009

I sat there trying to convince myself that my being in that meeting doesn’t entail high opportunity costs. It’s difficult though, especially when the person who wanted me to finish something that very day arrives late and his lateness translates to wasted time for all of us. As the overpowering scent that typically announces his presence hit my nostrils, it hit me that the time I spent waiting for him could have been spent working on that thing that I’m doing for him. There are persons who simply do not have any respect for other people’s time. Withholding a sigh that may reveal how irritated I was, I sat back. And watched. And listened.

While listening, I can’t help but recall—and marvel at the precision of--David Foster Wallace’s words:

“…You can be in the middle of a creative meeting at your job or something, and enough material can rush through your head just in the little silences when people are looking over their notes and waiting for the next presentation that it would take exponentially longer than the whole meeting just to try to put a few seconds' silence's flood of thoughts into words. This is another paradox, that many of the most important impressions and thoughts in a person's life are ones that flash through your head so fast that fast isn't even the right word…”
(Oblivion, 2004)
While trying to quell my annoyance and listen to what’s being said, implied and alluded to, I wondered why that person was talking in that squeaky-disjointed kind of way, got distracted whenever the person to my right unconsciously thumps her hand on the table, noticed that the sparse eyebrows of the person in front of me are filled in with a brown eyebrow pencil, made a mental outline on how I could accomplish all of my tasks on time, pretended to look sober and attentive, realized that the meeting was not going anywhere and wished for it to end. All these thoughts and we were just a few of minutes into the meeting.


witsandnuts said...

I'm still trying to learn the art of faking being attentive during meetings. Lol. =)

Anonymous said...

thanks to tcons, physical attendance to meetings is now optional. i can exercise while in a meeting - to relieve boredom. :)

Anonymous said...

Been there done that, excellent writing as ever Angeli.

Angeli said...

"boredom, like a mighty force, we must respect." :)

it's not just a skill. it really is an art, no? :)

thank you for your kind words, unstranger. a highly refined sense of craft - that's my goal, but i know i've still a long way to go before i reach it.

jacqueline said...


and i sat back with you when people started to waste more time talking about irrelevant matters during the meeting...


Amelia said...

need to master the poker face :)

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