The last official event in our calendar before we head off in under a month went without a hitch. It was a presentation, the third time we have held it and the biggest list of names we have had to get through.
Once again, I managed to secure my reputation as the fastest MC in the West. Before we had started, I had been asked about a list of names that I planned to read out. They were the team members who were not able to attend. There was some concern that this would add even more minutes to an event that was under considerable time pressure.
‘Don’t worry,’ I announced, ‘I ran through that list this morning. It will take me seven seconds.’
After the event, which ran without a hitch, I asked my colleague whether I had made the seven second deadline.
‘No,’ she said, ‘you beat it.’
It must have been the aural equivalent of watching the credits roll on an American TV show, but I was glad we included it. The point was not so much to stop and pause at each name, but to recognise people for all over the state who had not been able to travel down or up for a one hour reception.
Today the team was back at work, all of us bleary eyed, all of us having slept really badly for various reasons: a persistent cat in one case, noisy weather another and in my own case the fact that now we have nothing between us and the main event, which will involve escorting a team of almost 80 to the other side of the country and making their trip a success.
One of the things on the To Do list, was to buy a toolbox for us to travel with that will contain all the equipment we might need onsite at the event. I got into the car with my colleague and we headed to the nearest hardware store.
I think it is fairly safe to say that despite the face we are both capable, mature women, we were well out of our league. It is not a gender thing – I experienced the same giddy feeling of disorientation when I made the mistake one time of accompanying my mother to a large chain store which sells sewing stuff. I was almost instantly overwhelmed by the bolts of fabric and shelves stacked with craft items and rows of zips.
Almost instantly my colleague was drawn to a large display of batteries.
‘We should get some,’she said. ‘Don’t you think?’
‘I suppose so.’ I said.
She threw a packet in the trolley. I looked at them.
‘These are AAA batteries,’ I said, ‘how many TV remote control units are we planning to change the batteries for while we are there?’
‘You are right,’ she said, removed them and went to grab a pack of about 100 AA ones.
‘I don’t think we are going to need that many,’ I suggested.’Get the pack of 20, but the good brand, not those weird golden ones.’
She swapped the packets over.
‘Let’s do the toolbox,’ I said.
Somehow between asking for directions to the toolboxes and going there, we got separated. I stood next to a row of shiny boxes convinced that she was coming, while she was elsewhere pulling plastic ones off the shelf assuming I would be right along.
Eventually I found her looking at a largish black one with a handle and wheels.
‘I like this one,’ she said.
‘Because it has three drawers all of different sizes?’ I asked.
‘Because it is in our team colours,’ she answered.
She was right. The only problem was working out how to open the ‘drawers’ but after quite a lot of swearing and kicking, I managed to work out that they sort of slid back from eachother, leaving three open chests. I got it open and then slid the chest back up again.
‘This is the one,’ I said, closing it.
‘I hope we can get it open again,’ my colleague said.
‘Let’s not try again for a while,’ I said. ‘We need time to recover.’
We wheeled it to the counter and the guy there rang through the toolbox and our other purchases, which included a Stanley knife and Gaffa tape. We may not need any, but if there is one thing I know, it is that the only thing that makes me feel safer than having Gaffa tape around, is having Gaffa tape and WD40.
‘Why don’t we put the stuff we have bought in the toolbox? I suggested.
‘You can have a go if you like,’ said the bloke on the till, ‘but I can never get those bloody things open.’
Not just us then. Still, it is in the team colours.