"Things that interfere with writing well: Earning a living, especially by teaching."

-William H. Gass

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Retreat! Retreat!

According to the dictionary, retreat means: 1 a (1): an act or process of withdrawing especially from what is difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable

According to my boss it means disguising a team building marathon as a mini work vacation. The main mode of disguise is location. Meetings aren't meetings when they happen in some OTHER conference room!

Thus, the gaggle of overweight pale grouchy non-profit employees in second hand clothes and comfortable shoes gathered in the early morning sun at a dock in the Boston Harbor, bound for trust falls and ice breakers. The teaching staff was especially attractive, the ancients in their sun hats, I in the same skort and sneakers I wear every day all summer long, and the bipolar chain smoking bad poetry writing weird ass new girl in some kind of hemp outfit. Our boss waddled up to the dock dead last, laden with the giant Post-it easel pad and a copy of The Complete Idiots Guide to Team Building.

As we motored through the harbor, flanked by rows of rusting freight cars and floating plastic bottles, I leaned over the railing and stared at the water. There is a certain mindless peace that comes only on a boat. I had my own twenty minute retreat, which was interrupted by the question, "Hey which Gilligan's Island characters would we all be?!"

I. Would. Rather. Drown.

The new girl was mystified by her nomination to the Gilligan role, proof of a casting job well done. My role was decided as follows:

"Kelly's the professor."
"No she's Ginger."
A glance in my direction.
"The movie star? The one that dresses up all the time?"
"Yeah, but wasn't Ginger really self absorbed?"
"Oh, yeah. Okay Kelly's Ginger, so who's the professor?"

And the team building just kept on rolling, all day long.