Reunions and Effective Meetings
Yesterday at work, we had a meeting (with about 50 or so people in attendance) where enough time was taken talking about the importance of efficiency and relevance of meetings that the piece of the agenda burning most in everyone’s mind had to be skipped and turned into an open house session for next week. The irony of the situation was not lost on me, as became apparent when I fell asleep last night.
As Matthew and I were driving north on I-35W, someone I went to high school with passed us on the left riding her bicycle. It was Shannon, with long brown hair with a hair bow covered in colorful beads pulling it into a ponytail.
“Blow the horn! That’s Shannon. I went to high school with her!”
“You’ve noticed people from high school around town a lot lately. There must be at least ten or more here by now.”
He was right. I went home and checked my high school list on Facebook, and found over 20 people from my graduating class now living in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Right away I knew I wanted to get some folks together and enjoy a night out to dinner for catching up while it’s still Summer. Naturally, I sent a Facebook event invite for a planning meeting to get this all figured out.
Everyone was as anxious as I was to see all the people they never realized were now living in the Twin Cities, and everyone invited showed up to the meeting room I rented for the session. We talked at length about the restaurants and clubs we liked most, and spent plenty of time going through correct parliamentary procedure (thank you Mrs. Narghang and FBLA) to decide on the best venues. In the end, we decided to meet at Caribe Bistro in St. Paul in about a month, and that an official invite would go out on Facebook. We were about to adjourn, but Lauren realized I was the only one who knew where Caribe Bistro was, and that I should find a way to help people get there. The obvious course of action was to grab my laptop and a spindle of blank CDs and burn the Caribe Bistro Twitter account and a link to a Google Maps location for them onto a disc for each person at the meeting. Only when I completed this task did I realized I neither had CD labels nor a suitable instrument for writing on them. So, I got individually wrapped moist towelettes out of my laptop bag, taped one to the top of each CD, and wrote on each with a ball-point pen “Caribe Bistro – SSHS Class of 2002 Minnesota Resident Reunion.” I then handed out the CDs, taking special care to instruct everyone to remove the towelette and tape from the disc before inserting into their computer, as failure to do so could result in damage to their computer that would not be covered by warranty or service plan.
And that, folks, is where I woke up. It was then I realized nearly everything in my dream was much more complicated than it needed to be. Why meet to determine when and where to meet; would a Facebook discussion and invite not suffice? Why burn CDs, when I was sending an invite anyway that could include more than enough information? And why does taping a moist towelette seem an appropriate CD label in the absence of a Sharpie?
Luckily, I understand where most of the details came from. The over-complication of details was a result of my feelings about yesterday’s meeting. The towelettes? I rode in my friend Matt’s car a few days ago and it seemed obvious he has a hoarding problem with Fingerbowl towelettes, as they were leeching out of every orifice in his car (this may be a hyperbolic statement). High school friends? I read over a thread just a couple days ago discussing plans for our 10-year reunion coming up next year. What I can’t quite figure out is why although I am friends with many of my classmates on Facebook and know what they look like today, everyone in the meeting (including myself) looked as we did in about ninth or tenth grade. I also don’t know how Shannon managed to ride her bicycle fast enough to pass us on the freeway in the left lane (aren’t bicycles illegal on freeways?). I guess some details of my dreams are just too ridiculous to warrant trying to decode.
If any of my high school classmates read this and are looking for a fun, energetic, inviting place to move or just visit, I’ll be glad to show you around! You’ll be glad you came. In any event, I hope to see you in May!