The auditorium is full of people. The aisles are full of people sitting right there in the aisles. There are about 20 people standing outside of the double doors, craning their necks to see the PowerPoint presentation projected on the screen and hear the presenter at the podium. This is what I have come upon.
I had suspected as much. Just as I had predicted earlier in the week and earlier just that morning. I had advised the team that I work with to get there early. But, one of my teammates needed some help in the office right at the time I should have been heading down to the auditorium to stake my claim on a comfortable seat. What else could I do?
So, here I am with the SRO section, packed in tight like sardines, like when I was younger at outdoor rock concerts at Lake Compounce. I am just happy I am near the head of the sardine pack, and can see the PowerPoint and hear the presenter. But, you see, I have an issue. I cannot stand still, literally. When I am waiting in line at the store, I can be found swaying from side to side, stepping from one foot to the other again and again and again. For whatever reason, I am very uncomfortable when I stand still. My legs get stiff and my back hurts. So, move I must and move I do. But, I am not as free to move as I must here amidst my fellow sardines. This is a three and a half hour training. The thought of having to stand still this entire time is insurmountable.
I last for a solid 2 minutes. Then, I start to sway. I try to keep the movements small, as to allow the sardines behind me to continue to see the PowerPoint splayed across most of the front wall. At least it’s prominent, so I am unlikely to really fully block the slides. The gentlemen in front of me is standing completely still, leaning one arm the rail of the open door, looking very relaxed. I am envious.
As I listen to the presenter, my eyes wander over the seated group before me, blessed with the bounty of a comfortable seat for the next 3 and a half hours. My eye keeps going back to one person in the room. Like a crow drawn to shiny objects, my eyes are drawn to something that keeps sparkling. A closer look finds a woman with Christmas tree earrings that are flashing red, green, and blue interchangeably. Very charming.
I am intrigued by the folks that precariously travel with their paper coffee cups brimming to the top through the sea of unpredictable people sitting on the floor. Occasionally, a floor dweller unexpectedly repositions themself, causing the coffee carrier to course correct. Amazingly, no coffee carriers spill their precious cargo.
Over the time that I was there I did notice one older woman who was sleeping about 90% of the time. To me, it seems like a waste of the chair. But, I guess if she’s going to safely sleep, she definitely needs use of the chair.
Another woman spends about 20 minutes scrolling through her phone on what looks to be the Internet. Again, envy creeps in. Most of us do not get any Internet service or phone service here in the basement where the auditorium is.
Occasionally, someone gets up and leaves. Hard to know if they are just using the restroom. I cannot take the chance, and make no moves to occupy the vacated seats that occasionally pop up. I stay put, or should I say stand and sway put.
So, a few hours later, the training comes to a close. As one of the last people in, I am one of the first people out. Back to my office I go. My red message light on my phone is blinking feverishly. I am acutely aware of how comfortable my office chair is as I sink into it.