Thursday, June 18, 2009

Some days....

.... don't need words, just an image. But I suspect I would let my 'public down' if there were no words, so here is the tale.
Today I was booked to teach two linked half days - divorce/domestic violence and private child law both for support staff. I tip up and look at the delegate list. No support staff. Several senior solicitors. Turns out someone missed a crucial two words off the publicity material.
Let me put this in context. Imagine your LQS ask you can you spare an hour to show beginners how to use a rotary cutter. Then you get there and Ricky Tims, Alex Anderson, Elly Sienkiewicz and Helen Godden are sitting there awaiting your Masterclass.
Oh Shoot. The domestic violence part I can survive because it was my area of research at Cambridge. So I just talk and do the equivalent of a trunk show which is of interest to anyone interested in quilts in general. But blagging is not going to work in the afternoon.
I ring home in the half hour gap between sessions and give Dennis blow by blow instructions on how to find on my lap top and assortment of files which will give me some material and how to email it to me. The wonders of technology. I nip to the shop for a sandwich and come back. Twenty minutes left.

I eject the cretin who made this error in the first place from his computer and log onto my mail via AOL. My mailbox is unavailable due to temporary maintenance. Well heck, I liked the colour it was before and as far as I know it was not leaking so what the %^&( are they doing to my box without my consent?

I ring Dennis back and tell him to email it to an employee of my client. It fails to come through. He does it again. We now have about 15 minutes left. My email box comes on but there is nothing in it. Great. they maintain it and now it leaks! I ring Dennis. He says that he cannot get the new email to leave my outbox. It just sits there. Ten minutes left. I ring employees of other clients, tell them I have no time to explain why, but I am in a sticky situation and I need copy of notes I did for them. Like NOW please, not withstanding it is lunchtime.

Suddenly the client's server spews out several emails. Mine is there. We print every attachment. Big mistake. 493 pages start to come out of the machine. Five minutes left. I pull warm paper of the printer and try to identify useful parts. I cut and paste like billy-o and assemble a set of notes. Send to another printer where a minion starts to collate enough copies for the delegates.

I walk into the lecture room. I welcome people. I introduce myself. I explain what I am going to cover. The minion walks in with the set of notes I hand them out and we begin. Let us just say I honed my skill at speaking about line one of a paragraph whilst simultaneously reading lines three and four.
I asked for coffee much earlier than usual to give me a break to read notes I have not seen for months. The delegates when told coffee is available say, "Oh, can we not have a break? Can we just bring it in and keep going and finish early?" I continue my crosseyed talk'n'read act. We finish, I collect the feedback forms and you know what? There was general consensus that my talk and more amazingly, my notes were to be rated excellent.

Sometimes you can't choose the picture for the day until that day is nearly over.


Quilt Pixie said...

presenters' hell.... what did you do to deserve such punishment from the universe? hehe

Jennifer said...

he error-making minion still gets it though, right? You're an ace under pressure, clearly.

Deborah Boschert said...

Yowza! I will remember this next time I feel out of my comfort zone when doing some kind of presentation.

My word verification is "splaw." Sounds oddly appropriate.

anne bebbington said...

Thank goodness you're a woman - a bloke would never have been able to deal with that level of multitasking and carry it out with such aplomb!