Thursday, October 16

Worked over!

I work for a big company, a really big company. I happen to work in our North American office but we have offices across the globe. Once a year they gather the management teams from all over the world and throw us together for a week. The week begins with regional meetings but soon shifts to meetings that pull us all in a room together to share best practices and get to know each other. Since last Sunday night we've mostly been in a ball room with lots of tables watching presentations, setting goals and calming fears about the economy.

Wednesday we stopped all business meetings and focused on team building. They broke us out into 13 groups so we could put on a talent show to be judged by upper management. I completely lucked out, thanks to my HR guy (thank you Rod!!), and was placed in the African Drumming group. Some other people got, among other talents, rhythmic dancing, cheerleading, magic, comedy, hip hop dancing and everyone's favorite, dog training. Dog training sounds like a lot of fun but, let's be clear, dogs are completely unpredictable and quickly become a pain. Also, dogs have trouble understanding foreign accents which, of course, is a problem with an international group. But back to my drumming! I've found my new love. We learned a few basic beats then put them together and a strange thing happened, we sort of fell into a trance. I learned that beating a drum with your bare hands is a great way to relieve stress but it's also hypnotic. It's like meditation. I took to it very quickly. We then learned some dance steps to go with the drumming. I was doing fine until we were told to jump in the air and spin all the way around. I held up my hand, walked out of the dancing circle and said "I'm out!".

I had a blast during our performance and wailed on my drum. We sounded great! Later, on my way to the restroom, I was stopped three separate times and told I looked like a natural up there. The acrobatic instructor told me I "looked like a pro up there" because I looked so comfortable and was watching for queues from our instructor, who was AWESOME by the way.

After the performance my hands were killing me. We had been warned that bruising was common and that we might be a little sore. To help recover, I sat and clutched the pitcher of ice water sitting on our table to help ease the pain. It certainly felt good and I think it helped with swelling. My fellow drummers had swollen hands the next day but mine were doing ok. They were still sore the following day but I'm happy to report that we came in second place out of the 13 talent groups. We were beat by the Bollywood dancing team. Lame! As I walked off stage with my prize I stopped by the judges table and said "We were robbed!". Today one of those judges admitted, on stage, that the African Drummers had in fact been "hosed".

Right after the talent show I was in the hotel bar with some new friends from the UK office. They introduced me to their big, big boss. He, unfortunately, had a long strong handshake. He grasped my hand and I immediately yelled "OOOOOOOOUCH!" He sort of jumped back and apologized realizing I had been a drummer. I just shrugged and said "Well, you'll never forget me now."

Two days later my hands feel better but I still can't twist tops off soda and water bottles. I quickly learned that if I wordlessly set an unopened beverage in front of a friend they'd open it for me.

Last night we had an awards dinner in a famous theme park. I was faced with an interesting dilemma. I typically don't drink at work events or dinners or anywhere co-workers gather. No matter how well I know them I find drinking with co-workers can get ugly and regretful. Last night, however, I had the opportunity to get a little buzz while in a famously family oriented park that does not serve alcohol. Last night I was faced with an open bar and fast passes to some super fun rides. Well, what's a girl to do? Well, this girl had three cocktails. By the time my big, big boss was striding towards the stage to accept the Country of the Year award it took every ounce of self control I had to not run up there with her, waggle my tongue and hold up two victory signs with my fingers and yell "WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO". The thought made me giggle wildly. I confessed my urge to friends who wished I'd done it. I later told the big, big boss what I'd almost done and she said I should have followed through with it. Oh well. It's probably best. My reputation of being a non-drinker would have been destroyed and reversed to party girl in an instant had I lost it.

I'm now home and extremely sleepy. We did a lot of sitting but I'm somehow exhausted. You know how tired you are after a long flight? You think to yourself what's my problem? I've been sitting for hours, why am I so tired? Well, that's how I feel right now. I just need some sunshine and fresh air and a lot of sleep. Here's to a great weekend.

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