10 March 2006

Wasn't he supposed to be here?

I was due to make a presentation yesterday evening. No problem - I had plenty of time to get there. I was the second speaker, after the sandwiches and the drinks. My autopilot wasn't working too well. My excuse, and I'll concede that it isn't a very good one, is that I had taken my wife to Gatwick airport very early in the morning and I had been up since before 5:00am.

I went bowling past the location for the evening meeting and realised that I had driven too far just after I was on the London side of the M25. I turned around and drove back. Worse, I managed to leave the main road earlier than I should have done so that I finished up taking another detour through the countryside. I eventually got to the room and made my "sorry I'm so late" speech and grabbed a seat. It was then that the Chairman explained that my arrival meant that I could now take the first speaking slot since the main speaker was a no-show.

That meant that I was talking immediately before the sandwich break. Now, there is a strategy to managing a sandwich break and I forgot all the rules. I immersed myself in follow-up conversations with several people and by the time the break was coming to an end I looked around to discover that all the food had gone.

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