Friday, April 13, 2007

Team Work

A few weeks ago, I had was holed up for a couple of days in a large conference room with the team fighting some fires. There was nothing remarkable about the work we were trying to do but the social interactions were quite interesting and provided much needed distraction.

S - Is hyperactive, extroverted ready to break in a jig anytime the team accomplishes something. WooHoos,Yays and High Fives come to her naturally and in great abundance. The rest of us are a fairly taciturn bunch but her enthusiasm can be contagious. She has two dogs and a husband, a red BMW and large house in the burbs. She was raised genteel poverty with two other siblings by a single mother. One sister is a hairdresser and the other is going to graduate from college. S has a fantastic wardrobe and always look like a million bucks.

J - Drives two hours each way to work. Has a house in the burbs, drives a Ford Explorer. As two kids that go to daycare run by a Baptist Church. Her clothes are never fashionable, they look like they've been slept in. Her hair has no style and she does not wear makeup. She is an unapologetic geek and likes to look like one.

B - The oldest team member. He and his wife have come out of retirement to work full time. They have no kids so they travel all over the world on their annual vacations. Last month they were in Barbados. B wears place commemorative tee shirts all the time. It seems like he works only so he is able to get away from it. He talks in a kind of mumble, seeming to say rather important things that turn out to be quite meaningless. He calls the rest of us "kiddos".

C- Boss man. Manages by delegation. Is able to trust everyone to do their job right until they prove otherwise. Fun guy to work with. Wife runs a salon. Has two school going kids. The teacher of the youngest one thinks he has ADD. C thinks that's just baloney.

S and J get chatting about wines. B says "I like it dry and oaky" J throws a few names around that might fit the bill. Mentions a few vineyards in the vicinity where she should go wine tasting. "Nah, I've lived in California. Napa Valley is good enough for me" says S. S and J talk about what they have in their homes. They both have hot tubs and they both soak in it all weekend. J says "I never get into the hot tub without a glass of wine". S says "Me neither".

Soon more talk of wine follows. Dry and oaky is mentioned again. J throws yet more names. S doesn't look like she's heard of any of them. Neither of them know too much about wines I think since they don't describe the wines they care about in the lush prose that is the staple of wine reviews. I notice B is silent. Maybe he knows more than he lets on. So talk turns to decks and wall papering on the bathrooms. S says "I have this lemon and lavender combination - I know it sounds weird. But it’s my favorite bathroom. I hardly ever use the three others"

J talks about her bathrooms. The count is about same. They thankfully don't talk cars. Because J's old Ford Explorer and would not equal the red BMW S has . B and C don't have much to say until the ladies talk about the living rooms. C has a pool table in the middle of the living room and a bar to the back. More talk of living rooms decor, wet bars and basements follow.

The general theme is mine is more expensive than yours. I got the feeling that everyone knows that the others are exaggerating a tad to keep with the Joneses of the moment. No one fully believes the other's version of what they have. We had several of these exchanges in the course of a week that we were corralled in the conference room. As an outsider to this whole social situation, I thought it would be fun to rank order richest to poorest based on what I had heard them say they possessed and my perceptions about them before I knew.

I'd say B has the most simply because he contributed least to the discussions about who has what. S gets organic dog food mailed to her from across the country. Her middle name is extravagance. I would guess she is pretty deep in credit card debt. J and C are in the middle - not sure why I thought that. They don't seem the kind that would go overboard trying to live the rich lifestyle. They'll keep up appearances but only up to a point and conservatively.

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