Friday, September 06, 2013

Staff Meeting, 1: the circle game
Thank all that is good, I had a full room for my evening class and everyone clapped at the end. This bolstered my spirits for the onslaught of coworkers who then entered the same classroom dragging green, plastic chairs behind them for the first staff meeting after the summer holidays. I made a dash for bathroom where I found the Zumba King himself changing out of his robes. When he left, I found myself with my pants down in the dark because the timer light goes off in the bathroom, and I barely made it to the meeting on time. It was daunting to drag my green chair into the already formed circle, but I had shrewdly forewarned one of the the office ladies that I would be looking to sit next to her later on. She looked doubtful and uninterested, but agreed. I think her name is Chiara. Anyway, I sat between her and crazy Claudia who was in super professional mode and is loyal to a fault.

The weird thing was that all the lights were on at maximum brightness; and while Marina, and this official commercial person named Stefania, and my boss Giacomo all made their speeches, my coworkers played a weird game of telephone around the circle taking turns gesturing, joking silently, and pulling faces at one another. I tried to block them out and focus on the lightening fast Italian that was shooting at me, rapid fire style. It was faster than the Italian television evening news. There were virtually no gaps between words or breaths taken. I could not send text message appeals for help to my Italian friend who had offered back up because it would have been too obvious. Luckily silence and note-taking was appreciated above all. The best move I made was to go to the hair salon a day earlier as all of my coworkers looked very groomed for the occasion. Ricky and Lisa were in matching pale denim ensembles. Ricky was sporting denim cut-offs and Lisa an odd overall denim jumper ensemble that gave off a farmer girl vibe despite her petite frame. They got to leave early because they had a dinner to go to. Even so it is probably not enough of a perk to justify sleeping with Ricky. Everyone female wore beige sandals. I don't know why. Giacomo and his assistant Chiara wore matching event themed t-shirts. They looked like conspiratorial camp counselors who had lost their campers in the woods.

Anyway, the nut of the meeting was that next week we all have to collectively achieve the goal of getting 50 new clients by convincing those who have a free three entry pass to join the fancy gym. The idea is to get them to join after their first free entry. We all babysit these prospective clients like those eggs that are given to American teenagers to carry about for a week in order to teach them about responsibility and how hard parenting is and how they should, therefore, always wear condoms and avoid salmonella at all costs. My role is that I have to have the bracelet wearing newbies sign in with me before the class in a mad dash and still manage to start on time. I then have to find them immediatelly in another mad dash from the stage and escort them to their other babysitters that we call "coaches" before they can wonder away like naughty toddlers without signing on to pay for a year's membership. The gist of this was enough to make my face erupt in involuntary twitches throughout the meeting. I had to keep unclenching my jaw so that my coworkers wouldn't mistake my grimaces for an attempt to join in their game of sign language and debauchery.

I sent a smily face icon to warn F that the meeting was almost over and then I found him and T in the lobby waiting to whisk me off and out. This was the highlight as it allowed me to avoid the little mini closet changing room filled with all the instructors at once.
Here are my colleagues on their way out of the meeting.

I am giving a weird high five hand shake to Evita at the front desk.

Aren't I just what you want to see when you come out of a meeting?

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