Friday, 6 February 2009

Yesterday Was Not A Complete Success

Yesterday was a bit of a failure. As far as my travels to the other side of London were concerned everything went really well. I arrived at my destination almost exactly one and a half hours after I left home, which all things considered was not too bad. It meant that I arrived rather early for my meeting with 'S', but I went to the cafeteria and had a cup of tea before going back to reception to wait for 'S'.

This was where things started to go wrong; very wrong. The very nice gentleman on the reception desk rang 'S's' office and got his voicemail. I was not concerned because it was likely that he was lecturing so I sat down in the reception area to wait for a while. I should have been a bit more concerned because 'S' had emailed me the previous evening asking for a contact number as there was a risk of heavy snow where he lived and he may get snowed in. So over a series of emails we discussed the weather, exchanged mobile phone numbers, and 'S' said that he would let reception know that I was visiting, so that they would be expecting me. What should have alerted me to yesterday's problem was the fact the reception desk were not aware that I was visiting.

When the students started streaming from the building as morning lectures came to an end, I thought that it should not be long before 'S' was back in his office and would come to collect me. Several more telephone calls still did nothing more but go to voicemail. It was then that I decided to try the mobile number that 'S' had given me; it went to voicemail so I left a message, 'Hi S, it's Madsadgirl, I'm in reception so whenever you are ready, I'll be waiting'. I hate leaving messages on voicemail, but I thought that I had done a pretty good job considering how nervous I was about this meeting. My phone rang a couple of minutes later. It was 'S', and the tone of his 'Hi Madsadgirl' told me that this was a very embarrassed gentleman. He apologized profusely and admitted that he had been so concerned about getting material together and emailing to the colleagues who would be covering his lectures today that he had completely forgotten that I was visiting and that he needed to ring me to let me know that he was snowed in.

The result of the conversation is that I am now going to meet with 'S' next Monday, and he is going to take me out for a 'very nice lunch' (his exact words). When I got home (this time the journey took about one and three-quarter hours door to door, I put on the computer and there among the emails that had arrived during my absence was one from 'S' telling me how embarrassed he was when he heard my voicemail message and realised that he had forgotten to ring me to let me know that our meeting would have to be cancelled, and how anxious he had been about ringing me to apologize.

That brief phone conversation was the first direct contact that 'S' and I have had, all previous communication having been conducted by email, and although I had a wasted journey there have been some benefits from yesterday. First, I managed to get to my destination easily, and the instructions that 'S' gave me for finding the building after leaving the tube station were excellent so I won't have any problems going there in the future; secondly, it got me out of the house for a few hours; thirdly, I have the promise of a nice lunch on Monday; and lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I am a lot less anxious about meeting 'S' on Monday than I was yesterday.


cb said...

It sounds like a bit of a nightmare - but, the positive side is that apart from being less anxious (or perhaps directly related) he will probably be more anxious than you about the meeting and you'll definitely have some 'small talk' to start the conversation off. I usually find the most difficult thing about meeting new people is finding things to talk about..

alhi said...

Think about it as a dummy run to the building! You now know how long it takes and exactly where it is. And as cb said next S will be apologetic and embarrassed and you get a free lunch!

Thanks for the comment yesterday, I didn't do anything stupid in the end.

Alison said...

Hope it goes better tomorrow for you! x