Monday, September 14, 2009

Day One

I’m in Lafayette, Louisiana for two weeks, training customers on the use of our software product. Training isn’t my job, I’m just being used in this capacity because my company doesn’t have a training department. So they grab whoever they can to perform the task, qualified or not.

Ordinarily, I would relish a challenge like this, but I’ve been saddled with a co-trainer, and so far, that’s not going very well. We’ll call him Bernie. He’s an older gentleman who likes to stand too close when he talks, greets female co-workers with an unwelcome too-long hug, and believes he knows more on every subject than anyone else on the planet.

My colleagues who know him all too well snorted with amusement when I told them that I would be travelling with him, then switched to horror and pity when I told them it would be for two weeks.

I flew to Atlanta and met him at the airport. We flew from there to Lafayette on a small regional jet with small regional seats. I had the window, Bernie had the aisle. He sprawled across his seat, his elbow digging into my vital organs. He seemed unaware that I was squashed uncomfortably against the curved bulkhead, straining to maintain some kind of personal space.

When we arrived, we checked into the hotel (I’m not rooming with him, thank God), and agreed to meet in the lobby to go out for dinner. He has this annoying habit of asking others for suggestions, then vetoing them in favor of his own preference. He seems to believe that as the senior member of the team (there are five us here), he gets to make all of our decisions, even those involving meals.

The first training session went very well, but it lasted all day and I was exhausted when it was over. We returned to the hotel by 5:15 and I went to my room to decompress. Ten minutes later, Bernie was banging on my door, insisting that we all go out for drinks before dinner.

We discussed possible places to go, finally convincing Bernie to drive with us to a trendy area of town. Unfortunately, it’s Monday night, and most of the trendy bars and clubs don’t even open on Mondays. Those that do don’t open until late on Mondays. Eventually we found a perect, shabby little dive, although Bernie seemed perturbed that he hadn’t made the decision. I was looking around for a waitress, when I saw Bernie leave the bar with a determined look on his face. None of the others knew where he had gone, or why.

Just as we were getting comfortable, Bernie entered the bar and triumphantly announced that he had found a better place, which had comfy sofas for us to sit on instead of the perfectly suitable barstools we had already warmed up. So we reluctanly finished our drinks and followed him out of the dive, half a block up the road, and into a gay bar. That’s right, a gay bar. Here’s Bernie, blissfully ignorant of the photgraphs of naked men over his head:


We spent a couple of hours there, listening to diva music on the jukebox, and howling with laughter at Bernie’s attempts to find the men’s room (there wasn’t one – it’s unisex). Despite the humorous moments, it’s going to be a long two weeks.


Bruce Coltin said...

The story is hilarious, but it would have killed me to have gotten up off of that barstool. I have known my share of Bernies.

Anonymous said...

Better you than me!

Chris said...

HAH!!!! It's raining men...hallelujah!!!