This is a big meeting.
There are approximately 250 people in attendance that have flown in from all over the country. I am a keynote speaker presenting seven (7) separate technical presentations - to a group of very technical people who know a lot more about the topics I'm presenting ... than I do.
I drove up to LA on Tuesday night. Before I left, Charlie loaded my boss's triathlon bicycle in to the back of the truck so I could return it. After the 2.5-hour drive to my hotel, I arrived at 10:30 PM, groggy and desperate for a good night sleep. I pulled in to the parking lot, hopped out, and noticed that the bicycle was in the back of the truck. Since I wasn't going to see my boss until the following morning, I decided that I didn't want to run the risk of someone ripping off the $2K bicycle, so I locked the camper shell. As I was depressing the lock, I remembered that I didn't have the key.
I checked in to my room and called Charlie. I told him that I'd inadvertently locked the back of the truck, without having first removed the bicycle, and since I don't have the key ... he needs to mail it to me, or else I'll need to call a blacksmith.
"Blacksmith. Isn't that someone who makes horse shoes? Don't you mean locksmith?"
I go to sleep and wake up the following morning. I take a shower and get myself dressed in my fancy business clothes. I'm about to put on my fancy black dress shoes, when I realize that I don't have them. Not only did I forget the key to the camper shell, I forgot to pack my shoes. I have purple and white sneakers that I wore up to LA, but I don't have my dress shoes that go with my business outfit, which I had planned to wear during my technical presentation.
In front of 250 people.
In the next 15 minutes.
A freak out session follows for the next several moments. This is just as bad as the time I had forgotten to pack my makeup when away on an equally important business meeting.
I call the concierge and ask if there is any place I can buy shoes. I'm informed that there's a Wal-Mart at the end of the street that doesn't open for another hour. Infact, this is the same Wal-Mart that just the night before, had been on the news because it was the subject of a crime scene.
I call Charlie and in desperation tell him I forgot my shoes. Is there any way he can include my shoes with the key he is mailing to me??
Pause and then a slow chuckle.
"So, I suppose you do need a kind of blacksmith ... after all."
Yeah. You're funny.
I go to my meeting in my fancy business clothes and my purple and white sneakers. Everyone tells me that I look like a mall walker. You know, the women that speed walk in the mall wearing business attire and sneakers. The only difference is ... I'm not speed walking in a mall. I'm standing in front of 250 people. Giving a technical presentation.
This morning, I wake up early and I take a shower. I'm excited because my shoes are due to arrive via FedEx at 8 AM. For the first time during this business meeting, I stand a chance at looking somewhat presentable. That's great, considering I have to give another technical presentation, today. I was working on my talk until 2:30 AM, so I feel confident and well prepared.
I take a nice hot shower in a dimly lit bathroom because it's early and I don't like all the bright lights, especially since I'm only going off of 4 hours sleep. I use the fancy hotel toiletries. First, I wash my hair and then I reach for the little white bottle that I
Huh? Did the hotel make a mistake and give me two bottles of Creme Rinse? Did they forget my little bottle of body lotion??
I reach back to take a look at the empty bottle in the shower and hold it up for close examination. I blink hard and then hope that maybe I'm still asleep and this is just a really bad dream. I open my eyes and look at the bottle. In my dimly lit bathroom I can see that the bottle reads Body Cream.
Not Creme Rinse.
There's a difference. No wonder why my hair is silky ... I just massaged a 2 ounce bottle of body lotion in to my scalp. Of course there is no shampoo left in my itty bitty hotel bottle, and I am due to give a technical presentation ... in front of 250 people ... in less than 12 minutes.
I call the concierge and my FedEx package has not yet arrived. I get dressed in my fancy business clothes, my purple and white sneakers, and pull my nappy oily hair back in a ponytail. I trek down to my conference. I'm standing at the front of a large room full of people. There is a microphone on my lapel. I pull my presentation up on my laptop computer and it is shot up to 3 separate 15-foot screens strategically placed for optimal viewing by the 250 participants.
I give my introduction. I click to the first slide and it is gone. GONE. My presentation I had been working on until 2:30 in the morning is GONE. There are 250 people looking at me in my purple and white sneakers and my nappy hair, while I'm looking at the three huge screens that are blank because my presentation is GONE. I mutter some choice words, and am instantly reminded - when I hear my choice words echoed around the room - that I am wearing a microphone two inches from my mouth.
I call for a quick break. Fortunately, much of my presentation was still fresh in my mind and with the help of a co-worker, I winged it. Later in the day, I figured out that in the very early hours of the morning ... I mistakenly saved an older version of my presentation OVER the presentation I'd been working on.
Once upon a time - I was highly organized. Now, I fear I'm losing my mind at an alarming rate. My cerebral hard drive is full.
During lunch today, I expressed to one of my co-workers, the concern for my inability to manage simple tasks like I once did. Simple tasks like ... remembering to pack shoes for a business trip and how to wash my hair. My co-worker told me that research shows, a woman's brain shrinks following the birth of a child.
Is that a joke?!?
Once I have a free moment and provided I remember, I seriously intend to research this topic on possible pregnancy and child-birth induced senility. If it is true, it would really help to explain a lot. At this rate, I fear that by next Spring, I'll be able to hide my own Easter eggs.