Friday, August 3, 2007

The perfect end to a crappy week

This week has been hellacious. I spent the first two days running around and getting drawings for two deadlines. Wednesday we were given the riot act by CEO Plankton at MHRC. Thursday I arrived at an OAC meeting for a two-room project I'm working on right on time according to my watch, only to have a roomful of people exclaim, "Is traffic bad? Oh, we thought you'd forgotten about the meeting!" I was so stunned by being late enough to be commented on yet again that I stammered something ridiculous and sat down at the table, just wanting everyone to either get on with the meeting or shoot me. After all this crap, I was really dreading today: another meeting at MHRC with the procedure suite physicians and a few nurses as well as a surgical boom representative, Sandy. Guy and I both have worked with Sandy on several surgery projects, including Wheatlands. Sandy is enthusiastic but sweet, like a red-blond and younger version of Mr. Rogers.

The meeting was scheduled for 11am, so I left the office at 10:30 to make a 15-minute drive there. I pulled up in the parking lot that I've been parking in all month and that Jann has been parking in for four years whiel working on MHRC. I get out and start walking to the building to wait for Jann in the shade. A smallish fellow in a white polo shirt with "Marco - MHRC Security" on the pocket approached me and asked if I was a patient. I said no, I'm an architect and I'm heading to a meeting in the basement conference room. He then informed me that only patients were allowed to park in this lot--vendors and business folks had to park in the lot across the street, the busy five-lane thoroughfare with construction going on, I might add. Jann pulled up and I said to her as she got out, "Hey Jann, he's [pointed to Marco - MHRC Security] telling me that we need to park across the street."
Jann looked a bit confused. "When did this start?" she asked Marco the Super Rent-A-Cop.
"In July," he said. "Only patients are allowed to park here; business and vendors must park in the lot across the street."
He managed to repeat the above sentence in some form or another three more times in less than 90 seconds. Jann and I exchanged a look like "so why hasn't anyone mentioned this to us, now that it's fucking August?" We got in our cars, drove across the street, parked again, and played Frogger back across the busy street to make it to the meeting with only a couple of minutes to spare.

We went into the basement conference room, and a few nurses joined us shortly. Jann went back out to meet Sandy at the front door, knowing he'd never find us in the maze of MHRC. I remained behind until another red-blond haired familiar face showed up. Ah! Sandy! How'd he get in past Jann? We made small talk, and it seemed like the nurses present really seemed to know him quite well. He then turned to me and said, "Hey, do you think the boom guy will bring his own LCD projector, or should I go get one?"
Now I'm confused. "Didn't you...bring...?"
"We have this one on the ceiling," he said, gesturing, "but I was thinking he'd want one to sit on the table that he could reach better and hook his laptop up to."

I looked at him like I'd been sniffing ether.
"The boom guy," he repeated.

"I thought you were the boom guy," I said.
"Oh, I am," he replied. "I know what we'll likely want on them, but I mean the guy who sells the booms."

Does everyone see what's going on here?

A few more who's-on-first-what's-on-second lines back and forth later, I realize that this isn't Sandy. This is one of the physicians who looks a great deal like Sandy. I've worked with Sandy on several projects, but here's the thing about architecture: you can work with people you never lay eyes on. I've only seen Sandy three times in my life, and I'd only seen this doctor three times in my life. And he and Sandy could have easily been cousins, so here I am confusing the two.

"OH!" I exclaimed, the hamster finally beginning to trot at his wheel. "You know, he had a projector last time, but maybe you should get one just in case."
"Not a bad idea," he said. He left the room and I wept inwardly. Strike Two for Princess Dumbass.
The room filled with doctors, nurses, administrators--mercifully, CEO Plankton was nowhere to be seen. The head of radiology, Merrill, came in with a beaming smile, ready to help out with this meeting as well as meet with me afterwards. But no Sandy. It's 11:10. No Sandy. It's 11:15. Jann comes in: do I have Sandy's cell phone number? I give it to her and she leaves the room to call him. A few minutes later, Jann comes in, hand over her forehead. "Sandy's not coming," she says.
"What's wrong? Why not?" the doctors and staff inquires.

Jann sighs. "He had an altercation with your security guy in the parking lot and the guy kicked him off the campus.

The room explodes with noise. "God! Was it Marco? What the...? He can't come back on campus or Marco will call the cops! How do we... Do you have his cell number? Call him back!"

I put my head on the table, embarassed for us and for Sandy. How? Sandy is like Fred fucking Rogers! I overhear Jann explain that evidently he had words with the security guy, had to leave the parking lot. And suddenly...

...I couldn't stop laughing.

I started laughing into my hands and couldn't stop. I'd muffle it down some, but it would bubble up again. I was able to keep it quiet, but I just couldn't stop laughing. My eyes were watering and my lips hurt from pressing them together, trying not to burst out. I let out a small but audible chuckle, then looked around the room to see if anyone noticed. Not so much--everyone was huddled around Jann and her cell phone: "Tell him to drive over and park by the Atkins Building! We'll sneak him in here through the steam tunnel under the street! Who's gonna walk with him? If Marco catches him in here, he'll throw him out again! No he won't! Yes he will! Tell him to park in the contractor's parking lot!"

I suddenly lock eyes with Merrill. His eyes were wet, lips mashed together. Neither of us spoke or flinched, but holy shit I nearly started cracking up again.

We finally smuggled Sandy into the building through the steam/utility tunnel a block away. He came in and helped the packed room full of indecisive medical professionals come to a decision about what they wanted in which rooms. He wowed them with his 3D presentation, thanked them for their time, told them they'd have pricing next week, and then we adjourned to join Merrill in his department. After answering a few questions and setting up a time for Merrill and me to talk next week, Sandy packed up his laptop and apologized profusely to Merrill and us. "That's so not me," he said. "I'm very much the professional. It was just a case of some wires getting crossed and I acted up and I sincerely apologize. It will never happen again."

Merrill chuckled and shook Sandy's hand. "Don't worry about it--Marco brings that out in everyone."

This whole thing has amused me all day, so much that I called Sandy a couple of hours later to thank him for a) cracking me up and b) for doing to MHRC what I've wanted to do after the shit they've put me through in the past few days. Turns out this parking thing was a policy set by--guess who?--CEO Plankton, who decided to finally to enforce it a month after he instituted it. I told Sandy that all he did was say what I've been thinking all week. I could barely talk to him for laughing again. I'm grinning like an idiot right now, actually.

Guess I don't need those fancy bras I bought last week after all. I've been laughing my tits off all day.


ms. kitty said...

What a story! I'm laughing too! TGIF!

Anonymous said...

Ever since i found your blog the other day, I find myself cracking up as I remember bits and pieces throughout the day.
I work with an architect here in the Atlanta area that is so you. Anywho, I sent you an email offering services to replace your buddy Skippy from April
Let me know if there is any interest.

Oh yeah, thanks for continued laughs.

faded said...

Since this is a hospital maybe the surgeons can take CEO Plankton for a little surgery and rearrange his digestive tract. When they are done the crap will come out of his butt and not his mouth.

I ran into a problem with security like your friend did. My partner and I were going the world headquarters of General Eclectic corp. My partner and I had each traveled more that 1,000 miles each to get there. I came from Pinkville and he came from Chico. We were to present to a group of facility managers who had come from around the world.

We could not get on campus because nobody told security we were coming to the meeting.

We were finally admitted and the meeting went well. Some days you just scratch your head.

Mile High Pixie said...

Thanks, Rev Kit! I'm glad I could make you laugh!

Faded, I'm not sure they have a colonoscope long enough or big enough to help CEO Plankton find his head up his ass.

Doggett: Thanks for the contact! I'll keep it for my next project and pass it on to my fellow archipeeps.

BaxtersMum said...

haha ha ha ha

it is true - the same people work everywhere, just with different names.

I believe I have worked for Plankton and with Sandy.

ha ha ha