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April 17, 2017

The War Room

The War Room

Occasionally, in a business, they will have a conference room called the "War Room", either officially or unofficially. I've been doing this for 27 years, and nothing come close to the battles...the war we're fighting now.

In the morning, we all fly in from the 4 corners of the earth. I land in LAX, unsure how to get out of the airport. Like...this isn't the dull, monotonous, flights that I've been taking into Ontario over the last 10 months. We're taking the fight to the clients now. We're bouncing from campus to campus like a ping-pong ball in a dryer.

So that, every week, I'm not sure where I'm flying to. Or why. I go to the airport, and catch the SouthWest flight to LAX. It leaves early...6:00 a.m. from a different gate than I'm used to. The flight is full, so I board the flight and just ignore the middle seat. We take off and when we get to the LA Basin, I'm watching real close to our approach. Trying to figure out what's different from the approach into Ontario.

I land at LAX and am not sure how to get out of the airport. I just follow everyone else. The signs are horrible. I make a few wrong turns and hit a few dead ends. I am not the only one.

I get outside, and I'm on the ground floor. Have to walk across the street now. Blazing with cars. Waiting for a crossing light that finally comes. Walk across to the parking garage, and up to the 3rd floor. This is where it gets interesting. Will my bike be here, where I left it on Thursday? Like...this is as crazy as it gets right here. Sure enough. The bike is there.

I stop by the bike, and start changing. PUlling on my riding pants and riding jacket. I keep my shoes in the rear Givi case. Now, I check my riding pants for the motorcycle key. It is there. There are so many things that could go wrong here. So may ways to fail.

I already have the address of UCLA programmed into my GPS. Now, I turn it on and pray that it is charged. It's 100% charged. So now, I have an 8 mile drive from LAX to UCLA. Just blindly following the GPS, I leave the airport. The LA traffic is a nightmare. As bad as you could ever imagine. And I'm rolling North, following the GPS. Fingers crossed that it takes me where I'm supposed to go.

Near the address, I managed to clip someone's sideview mirror with my left mirror. I turn right to lose them, and then get back on track. Now, I'm at the address, but not clear where to park. The man at the parking booth tells me several times that I can park in a spot that says "Wells Fargo - 15 minute parking only". He assures me that it is fine. I don't want to believe him, but finally, I relent and leave my bike there.

All I know now is that I'm supposed to be somewhere on the 8th floor. So, I go into the elevator and go to the 8th floor, like a pro. They have two offices on the 8th floor. Pretty much no one is in year. I get into the office at about 8:30 a.m. PDT.

There is a lady sort of cleaning up the rooms, apologizing for the smell of the cleaner as she cleans the dusty monitors. I'm not sure where to go. There are 2 training rooms. I sit in the back of the largest training room with a view of the LA skyline. Eventually, they tell me that I have to leave, and I go sit on the 5th floor. No idea why. But, then, as people start showing up, they're filtering into the Training Room 1 on the 8th floor. So, eventually, I go up there.

A woman comes around giving us free parking passes. I tell her several times that I'm on a motorcycle and don't need one.

Then, as the room fills up, eventually, they tell us we have to go down to the 6th floor.

So, we sit at a large conference room on the 6th floor. There is a teleconference. I just ignore everything that is said. Asok takes a bottle of water off of the table behind him. I motion that i need one. So, we're sitting here sipping bottled water, listening to some nonsense on a conference call phone.

Like...this is information overload.

They're bringing us lunch at noon.

They tell us lunch is on the 5th floor. But then, the 5th floor says it's on the 6th floor. There's no food. Just a vicious cycle of going up and down the stairwells and elevators in a quixotic quest for a lunch that doesn't exist.

And, we're all bouncing between the 5th and 6th floors, like pachinko balls. Looking for the food. Finally, we intercept the caterers pushing our lunch around in carts on the 6th floor. We follow them down to the 5th floor, where they unceremoniously strip the aluminum foil covers from our banquet. I shovel up a plate of food and go outside to choke it down over my motorcycle, like a rabid rat in a stairwell.

The Madness in the Stairwells

For some reason, the bathrooms are all locked. So, people are always begging for the keys to the bathrooms. Why? I have no clue.

I'm on the phone with a technical developer in a different time zone. I'm walking the halls, trying to have a communication with someone. And, every door keeps popping open or shut and people are coming and going and I can't even find a place to have a conversation with him about my defect. I can't even make a coherent sentence, stumbling htrough the halls. I left the conference room because there were countless people in there and I couldn't talk in that room, of course.

Who thought of this? Who thought this made sense? I pray that we would all just fall down the stairwell to our deaths. This is the height of stupidity. A confederacy of dunces.

Posted by Rob Kiser on April 17, 2017 at 12:46 PM


"Gentlemen. You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!"


Posted by: anonymous on April 19, 2017 at 6:41 AM

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