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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

One If By Land, Two If Biweekly

Tomorrow, I deal with the very bane of my existence. Or maybe I don’t. I frankly have no idea, which means I’m already dealing with the bane, whether the bane bothers to show up and haunt me tomorrow or not.

I’m speaking, of course, of the every-other-week meeting. Tomorrow is Wednesday, and our group at work has a meeting on Wednesdays. But not on all of the Wednesdays; just on every second one of the Wednesdays.

Is tomorrow a second one of the Wednesdays? Or a third one of the Wednesdays? Which is also a first one of the Wednesdays, or a ninth one of the Wednesdays, but in any case an odd number of the Wednesdays, meaning that we don’t have a meeting.

Unless the meeting is on the odd-numbered Wednesdays, and it’s the even Wednesdays when we’re off. Because it could be that one. I’m almost fifty percent certain that it’s quite possibly that thing, instead. Maybe.

This is my problem with bi-weekly meetings.

(Or is that semi-weekly? Sometimes-weekly? Weakly-weekly? Holy crap, even the name of this godforsaken thing is hard.)

“Once a meeting’s over with, I do my best to wipe it from my memory, and to salt the squishy bits of my brain that were holding the memory of the meeting, so that no recollections will ever grow in those synapses again.”

Anyway, my problem — my other problem — with these meetings is that they’re unpredictable. Knowing whether the meeting is ‘ON‘ or ‘OFF‘ means remembering when the last meeting occurred. And that’s the last thing I want. Once a meeting’s over with, I do my best to wipe it from my memory, and to salt the squishy bits of my brain that were holding the memory of the meeting, so that no recollections will ever grow in those synapses again. You can never be too careful when whitewashing that meeting right out of your head.

(Depending on how you’re doing it. If you’re using tequila, you should probably be just a little careful about it. You still need to remember how to walk at some point, for starters.)

Also — my propensity for repressing work meeting memories aside — I’m not so good at remembering things in general. Particularly things that happened a week ago, involved neither beer nor prime-time cartoon characters, and kicked off at some ungodly hour like nine o’clock in the morning.

(When I put it that way, quite frankly, I can’t imagine why anyone would even attempt to remember such a thing. Good lord, what’s the point?)

But people do remember, somehow, and they make quite certain — or so they tell me — to have this meeting every other week, exactly. No more, no less. Regular as clockwork.

Meanwhile, I’m sitting here at home a few hours before — or not-before — our regular meeting, trying to coerce or bribe or hypnotize myself into remembering what I was doing at the ass-crack of nine last Wednesday. And whether it involved sitting in a conference room with twenty other people, chitchatting about all the wonderful and useful things we thought all the other people in the room should be doing.

Because if I did that last week, then I don’t have to do it again tomorrow. And if I didn’t — then I’ll be setting an alarm for the ass-crack of eight, and angling for a seat in the back to maybe catch a few winks unseen when the Management Planning Subcommittee on PowerPoint Template Design gets all lathered up and going.

(A nap would be super at that point. A shot of Patron would be superer, but I’ll take what I can get.

So long as “what I get” is not “sucked onto the Task Force for Logo Placement in Slide Footers in Internal Reports”. There aren’t enough worms in the bottoms of bottles in all the world to make that tolerable.)

And now, finally, I’ve just remembered what I was doing a week ago Wednesday, right around the time of this meeting. You’d think that would be helpful, reviving all those poor pickled neurons to give me a clue.

But no. Last Wednesday, I was sick. Took a day off. Stayed in bed for most of it, until I felt better. So I didn’t go to any meetings — and I don’t know if anyone else did, either. And if I have to remember what happened two weeks ago to get some kind of clarity here, then just forget the whole thing. You might as well ask me to remember my days in the womb.

(Though I imagine those were less crowded, generally speaking. And with probably fewer audiovisual aids. I’m just guessing.)

So. First-thing meeting tomorrow, or no? My guess is ‘nay’, and that’s the story I’m sticking with. At least until 9:05, when I get the call in my office to get my butt down to the conference room already, and quit holding up the proceedings. Because if we pick a font size for bullet-point slides in presentations made to middle-but-not-upper management without a quorum, then it doesn’t count. And we might have to have a special meeting to cement the decision. Or a whole series of meetings — say every third Tuesday at seven thirty am, unless it’s the morning after a full moon in a month ending in ‘y’.

Yup, I’ll put that right on my calendar. Sounds like a real fiesta. Somebody pass the Cuervo.

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