Ahem, so, there I was, leading a group of professionals to the second of four venues, in a leadership training course. I was speaking with a guy who is the Director of Food and Beverage of a five star resort in our area. We had been discussing the seemingly futile battle to stay out of a mini-van. This conversation about cars lead to talking about having accurate directions for the seesions we have in the months ahead.
“I’m sorry I was hounding you for those directions.” He had asked me in an email Saturday to send directions. I was trying to explain that I am bound by the information I get from our site hosts, and more specifically, when I get the information.
“You know,” I said with great earnestness, “I tried to move forward, several times, actually. I sent out directions to locations in advance of receiving the agenda.”
He was watching me and nodding.
“And don’t you know that every time I did they switched the site? So despite people requesting the information ahead of time, I have to wait.” We nodded and shrugged at each other in that way you do when the conversation kind of dead ends but you can neither physically leave the situation nor end the conversation gracefully.
Suddenly it felt very strange, ominously quiet for the busy street we were walking on. I turned around to check on the rest of the group. Fourteen people stood a block away, looking at me with a mixture of bewilderment and pity.
“Umm, isn’t this where we’re going?” One of them asked while hooking her finger to the left at the building beside her, the building I’d passed several minutes before.
“Yup, it sure is.” I said, incredulous and increasingly red in the face.
“So, where are you going?” They were all looking at me, I have not felt so awkward since being in the locker room in the seventh grade and having to pretend as if I’d already had my first period and knew what the hell to do with the tampon that was being handed to me.
“My house. I was walking ya’ll to my house, but by all means, let’s go into the museum.” The idea being that they’d chuckle.
There was some derisive laughter followed by haughty looks, so I kept going.
“Ironically I was explaining to Ted how I have on more than one occasion meesed up the directions to this class. I guess the moral here is, you shouldn’t follow me or my directions.”
So, tell me, was your day this mortifying? Yeah, I didn’t think so.