When our offices were based in Florida, I lived in the Corporate Condo, and whenever the CEO and COO would come into town, once or twice a month, they would stay at the condo with me.
Since I don’t do well living with other people, this arrangement was great, when no one else was in town. The condo was a penthouse – clean, nicely decorated, with a spectacular view of the sunset. When everyone was in town, however, I was miserable. I’d end up holing myself in my room all night, usually with a numbing bottle of wine, and wouldn’t come out until morning, when everyone else would either be gone already or still behind their own closed doors.
I just do not like sharing space.
Also, I don’t like my phone … all phones in general, pretty much, and whenever I hear it ringing, it makes me mad. WHO IS CALLING ME? WHY ARE PEOPLE CALLING ME? STOP CALLING ME! And it’s never in a place that’s easy to answer, so I’m usually futilely digging around for it at the bottom of my backpack, and usually end up missing the call. Sometimes, I leave it in the office all night. Sometimes, I leave it in my car. Sometimes, I don’t charge it up. Sometimes, I silence it so I don’t know whether it’s ringing or not. Sometimes I don’t know where it is for days. Email, however, I always respond to email.
Thus, when I pull up to work one morning when everyone’s in town, only a few minutes before the start of our weekly 9AM conference call, and see Ian getting into the corporate 4Runner, about to leave, I give him a puzzled look. “Where are YOU going? Don’t we have a meeting in a few minutes?”
“I’m going to pick up Kian,” he says. “I texted you this morning. You were supposed to drive him to work. Don’t you check your phone? I called you last night too.”
“My phone? Why would you call me on my phone? I don’t even know where my phone is right now. You should have emailed me. I always reply to email.” Plus, we’re all staying at the condo. We’re all in one location. How hard could it be to put a sticky on the door: “Don’t forget Kian!” There’s power in the written word.
I was relieved, however, that I hadn’t had to drive Kian into work, even if it is just a three-minute ride. As much as I like Kian as a person, I NEED MY SPACE, especially in the morning, and having him along in the passenger seat would have really put me into a bad mood.
As Ian drives off to collect Kian, I go into my office, fire up my laptop, get my two monitors going, and wait to be connected to the morning conference call via Skype. To kill time, I browse through my Match.com picks of the day, which are a disappointing but standard mix of fat, bald, and old.
I sit and sit and sit, waiting for the call to come through. Waiting, and waiting, and waiting, for the call that never comes.
Instead, I get Troy, who sticks his head into my office and says, “Stacey, come on … we’re all meeting in Ian’s office. We’re waiting for you.”
All meeting in Ian’s office? Crap. What’s wrong with sitting in my own office and being connected to the group electronically? I love electronic connections; I hate enforced togetherness.
“WHY? Why can’t I be on Skype?” I demand.
Troy, already gone but within hearing distance, ignores me. I’m so mad about having to personally join the group that I forcefully undock my laptop, stomp into Ian’s office, snarl at all the people who are assembled and waiting for me, and announce, “I preFER to be alone in the mornings.”
This makes Ian, especially, laugh. “ONLY in the mornings?” he asks.
And then to the group, who are assembled at their own solitary computers in various parts of the world … Spain, South Africa, New York … he announces, “So! Stacey just walked in and brightened up the room! After announcing that she prefers to be alone in the morning, having driven that point home by ditching Kian at the condo.”
Despite my snarly mood, I have to laugh. Me, brightening up the room. That is funny.