Reading between the lines

I’m the chairman of the local dairy discussion group. It happened to fall on my lap last year because we were looking for someone new to ‘lead’ them forward. Well actually no … the last chair had finished the year, and the group had to nominate someone else to be the chair. I sat unknowingly, saying nothing and trying to stay unnoticed. I think it was a bad tactic. If i had been quick enough to pipe up and nominate someone else, then I would have probably have gotten away with it. Nominated i was, and seconded too … so my fate was sealed. I couldn’t really say no.
It’s not much of a workload, just to invite guests if the group needs to know more about certain topics, or if someone would like to give a presentation to the group, then organise it and get things ready.
I was at the November meeting last week, and I was late (as usual) because I had to retrieve my stranded brother from the hills after the car died in him. As I entered the meeting room, trying to make as little noise as possible … while all eyes were on me for being so late. Then our adviser pipes up
“Michael, welcome. I have a question for you.”
“Uh oh” I said to myself.
“Are you the current chair of the group?”.
“Of course I am!” as I smiled broadly wondering how they could ask such a ludicrous question.
“We were just wondering, because we couldn’t agree between us. Anyway, you’ll be getting a letter in the post in the next few days inviting you to the launching of the restructured Teagasc Advisory Service. We want you to go if you have time, and report back to us.”
“Ummmmm, ok. I’ll go if i have time”.

So the invite arrived to me, I set a date in my calendar, and that day was yesterday. I had a hectic morning. I failed to get up in time … so I was under pressure to organise things for the day and get the important things done before I left. First I had to drive to the airport and retrieve my wandering brother and bring him home … so that was two more hours gone from my day. I got home, shoveled dinner into my stomach, and raced up to Blarney again, which is forty minutes away. Of course I was late… It’s genetically bred into the family problem to be late. Twenty minutes … it could have been worse. I walked into the conference room, and realised that most were wearing suits and ties. There was I in my jeans, hoodie and runners. Oops! I was slightly comforted by the fact that there were a few farmers in woolly jumpers sprinkled through the crowd of some 150 people. I found a spot and sat and listened to Billy Kelleher, the Junior Minister of State, Enterprise and Employment. Fifteen minutes later it was he finished speaking and it was all over, bar the teas, sandwiches and finger-food. AAAAGGGGHHHHHHHH. I realised that it was just a day out for people to go hobnobbing and feel important about themselves. Disgusted I was. Out the door I went, grabbed some finger-food on the way, and headed for home. I had better things to be doing with my precious time.
So maybe I’ll be more careful to read the fine print next time, and understand the lingo lingo used in invites in future. If the invite comes as a plain piece of paper, and looks unimportant, then it’s probably worth going to. If it comes written on fancy paper, and sounds important, well more than likely it’s not one bit important at all, so I’m definitely staying at home!

  • Note the smudges of ink that have run on the invite. That was another victim of my mug of tea that went flying.
  • And the hand writing. Well nothing is sacred on my desk. And it happened to be the closest piece of paper to me when i had to take down a number while on the phone.
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2 comments so far

  1. laurie on

    in my experience, any conference held at resort is a waste of time and nothing but a junket.

    i like that they used your formal name: Rough Hands.

  2. rough hands on

    I will know better the next time. There never really were junkets where I worked before, because we were a small company, and we didn’t liaise much with the clients. I should really have known better, but there’s so much going on at the moment that I don’t think I stopped to read exactly what was going on.
    About the formal name …. I’d be lying if I was known as Rough Hands anywhere else. My hands are up … photoshop was used to blotch out my own name.


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