It’s raining at a medium windshield wiper pace and I’m running late for lunch with Penelope Trunk. I was going to park in a ramp, but I spot an open space on West Washington Avenue only a block away from my destination; so I take it even though I only have 85 cents in change for the meter and may well end up with a parking ticket.
The wind is so strong it blows my cheap umbrella inside out, so I decide not to risk taking my Nikon D40 with me. Instead, I tell myself if there’s an opportunity to take a photo I can rely on the little point and shot Olympus I always carry in my purse. Besides, the Olympus has a 10X zoom, so I can sneak up on my subject from a distance if necessary.
I may have to use that zoom lens because I won’t be sitting at the same table as Trunk. I probably won’t even be sitting at a table because my destination is “A Brown Bag Lunch Networking Event” sponsored by Wisconsin Women in Government and it’s being held in a conference room. I may also have to use that zoom lens if I’m late and relegated to standing in the back of the room.
There are still quite a few seats available when I arrive at 11:30 a.m. I pick up my nametag and pause to look at the rows of bottled water and platters of cheese and crackers, fresh fruit, vegetables, and sweet desserts sprawled on tables just inside the door to the conference room. I haven’t brought a brown bag lunch and there is no one standing at the front of the room about to launch into a lecture, so snarfing some goodies and laying claim to 500 ml. of Aquafina seems like a good idea.
Problem: No silverware, not even a bowl of toothpicks. I’m deft enough to pick up small bits of melon without touching somebody else’s nosh, but putting some cheese on a round cracker is a challenge. Someone already tried to dip into the semi-hard cheese ball and there are bits of shattered cracker littered around it. I stick with fruit and baby carrots.
I take a seat on an aisle. It’s a habit I developed from all those years of writing on deadline. It also makes it easier to slip out of the room if the speaker is boring. Not that I expect Trunk to be boring: I’ve been reading her blog too long to believe that.
It’s 11:35 a.m. by the time I finally sit down in this room full of women. There’s still no action in the front of the room. I turn down the volume on my cell telephone in case Himself decides to call me. I haven’t told Himself I’m having lunch with Penelope Trunk because recently he admitted that, “When she writes all of the blood in my veins rushes to the appropriate locations.” I call this Priapic Trunk Syndrome. My spellchecker refuses to recognize the “p” word and offers “prosaic” as an alternative.
In the back of the conference room is a collection of shovels from a groundbreaking ceremony. All the shovels have names. Maybe I should take a photo, just in case I need to blog about shovels if Trunk doesn’t show up to enlighten us about our careers.
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