Sunday, 9 March 2008

Conference Break

Don't know if I'll get any posts out over the next week. I'm off to a conference and you can never predict what Internet connections the hotel will have. Last trip the wireless was down and the socket fell out of the wall so I ended up balancing my laptop on my knee in a freezing lobby.

I've just got to sort out my survival kit. Memory stick of notes and scripts. Folder of DVDs. Bag of books. Some munchies. If I remember I might squeeze in some clothes too.

In theory I should have plenty of chance to write. No distractions in the evening. Doesn't seem to work out that way but I always go prepared. And the thought of heading out without at least 2 books to read. Horrors.

I'm running a stand on this one. This means 80% of the time with it empty, and me trying to look approachable. You have to be careful you don't overdo that one or you get the wrong sort of business proposition.

In theory I could spend the quiet time tapping away but someone grimacing at a screen can be a bit off-putting. Even worse if you are shout out "My mobile's covered in sh*t" because you've got carried away practicing dialogue. Though that wouldn't phase my regular clients.

Still it doesn't stop me people watching. There are the regulars:-

  • The doddery old bloke who still manages to dart onto the stand and grab any freebies. They then disappear into his shopping trolley and you follow his progress by the string of yelps. Each year I think it will be his last.
  • The ancient 4ft 5 director with his nubile 6ft 1 secretary clutching his arm. The most fun is watching the faces of the blokes as the pair stroll past.
  • The flotilla of wives following a Middle Eastern delegate. They look so bored and it only takes a smiling face to cheer them up.
  • The young girls hired to decorate stands and bored out of their minds. Pencil skirts and killer heels. Any salesman thinks that's a good combination should be made to wear them while on their feet for 9hrs solid handing out brochures. I'd enjoy watching that.
  • Though it is rarer these days you still see the odd ones expected to wear T-shirts and shorts in the freezing halls. You bump into them in the loos, trying to warm up and checking their forced smiles before going over the top. If might be fun if they were dealing with Gene Hunt but it'll just be some sad perv salesman. Rule of thumb. If they are selling their products with young girls its 'cos the products so bad it can't sell itself.
  • Then there're the new graduates. The "I've got a degree and know it all" brigade. Power suited and thinking Wall Street is a guide to success. For heaven sake they weren't even BORN when Wall Street came out.

We've had great fun with the graduates because they still leap to assumptions. So here's the scene. Short, dumpy me in comfy shirt and trousers, don't do formal. My male colleague in smart suit towering over me, lets call him Fred. Powersuited smart-alec marches to Fred so I have to dive out the way. He then turns his back to me and steps back so I have to move even further. Consider myself dismissed.

Smart Alec: I'm here to check you out for my boss. If you're good enough then he'll see you on our stand later. So does this stuff do Coupled Analysis?

Fred: Sorry you'll have to talk to our expert.

Fred spins the schmuck round to face me.

Me: And how is Bert (the boss) doing?

Oh the lovely look on his face when he realises what he's done. Magic. But I don't twist the knife, a chuckle is enough. I'm an old softee.

So have a good week. I'll pop by if I can.



Hope it goes well.

People watch for new that exec raelly an exec or has someone assumed his identity so they corner the market in giveaway pens?

Don't eat too many free cakes!

Rach said...

I've always had my suspicions the exec was just on old geezer who fills his empty life by crashing conferences.

As to cakes. No such luck. It's all golf balls and fishing tackle. For some strange reason they still haven't worked out there are women engineers too.

And we are mostly too smart to stand for ages up to our proverbials in freezing water or chasing small spherical objects in the driving rain.

Do men like the cold and wet?

Elinor said...

Take water and lipsalve. These places dry you out.

Rach said...

Forgot the lipsalve but did the water. Just got back a couple of hours ago.

Feet KILLING. And I didn't wear 6" heels either.

There was a Spanish George Clooney look-alike in the stand opposite. Made the days more bearable for us.