I'm in another big city in China. It doesn't matter which. I'm not here for pleasure (I generally don't find cities "pleasant" to start with). I'm here for work; a account planning workshop to be specific.
Over the next three days, I will be sitting in the same windowless conference room listening to our account managers* present a detailed review of their accounts. Every. Little. Detail. (Note: we call them something else but it takes too long to explain this. Basically we’re “special.”)
There’s probably a laundry list of things I could write at length about for my situation; the long hours, the bad coffee (Starbucks, gross), my inability to understand xx% of the conversations due to the language barrier, and on and on (andonandonandonandon)
But there’s one thing that pulls all these workshop discomforts together: the Office Scuzz
Office Scuzz is that layer of filth that saturates your body and mind when you’ve been working too long, drank too much shitty coffee, and haven’t had a proper meal (i.e. anything and a glass of bourbon). Your eyes feel heavy and glazed from constantly focusing and refocusing on presentation screens, open inboxes and from taping them open with scotch tape in a failed attempt to stay awake. Your skin is crawling from the room temperature that somehow seems too hot and too cold at the same time. Your pores are clogged and greasy from the crap food and stifling ventilation. The entire inside of your mouth has been scalded with 2nd degree burns from trying to chug gallons of coffee fast enough in the hope that it bypasses your major tastebuds so that you might, one day, use them to taste real food once again. Speaking of food, as a result of the workshop diet you’ve been subjected to, your bowels are either completed evacuated or more clogged than Beijing traffic during rush hour.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for Office Scuzz. It’s a condition that can only be relieved with time (a lot of time) away from the office. I’ve tried to rid myself of the scuzz numerous times with less than stellar results. Drinking heavily (surprisingly) is not helpful. The booze seeping out of your pores the day after binge drinking tends to mix with the Scuzz and form a deadly concoction of nausea and “ickiness” that can’t be removed with anything short of a brillo pad and industrial cleaners and an alcohol-enhanced tolerance for scrubbing yourself with a brillo pad and industrial cleaners. It’s a vicious cycle, y’see? Exercise would seem like a logical, safe, and healthy way of shaking the mental (and sometimes literal) cobwebs off. But the types of exercise activities I participate in are generally reckless and rife with opportunities to hurt myself. I’m sure it’s me and not the sports, but even still sitting in a meeting room dealing with post-bike-crash road rash, ripped blisters/flappers from overgripping on a climb, or the fileted soles of my feet from “barefoot” running too-far-too-“fast”/soon isn’t that much fun and hardly seems worth it. I also tried hypnotizing myself, but can’t stand the sound of my own voice (have you ever heard it?!)
Blog writing seems to help ease the condition a bit, but tends to have a serious effect on productivity and comprehension skills (things this Idiot generally runs low on to begin with).
PS – If you haven’t noticed, I complained about the tedium of sitting in a conference room and then pursued another form of it by listing all the ways said tedium affects me. Your mind is blown isn’t it? Mine isn’t. It’s a puddle of mush covered in Office Scuzz.