Last week was a loooongg week. For middle managers most weeks are long and you can’t work at a large U.S. art museum without expecting to have to put out (metaphorical) fires on a daily basis–middle managers don’t get paid to have fun, we get paid to do our jobs, to manage. When it is fun, that’s a bonus.
This past Friday, I and three of my colleagues determined to have a spur-of-the-moment debriefing session of the week and combine it with an after-hours happy hour. Rather than going to our local stammtisch, we decided to have the get together at our home for a variety of reasons. The food, liquor, and wireless service are all free, and, in any event, I needed to be home on Friday evening to chaperone three teenagers getting ready for a dance that evening.
In addition, I don’t have to call my wife and ask her to get things ready–I am my own wife (take that MC Escher) and knew the refrigerator had enough in it to provide snacks for colleagues as well as hungry teenagers. Only thing I needed to do was to alert the patient, long-suffering spouse (PLSS) who is used to coming home and finding all sorts of people or various ages cluttering up his hearth and home.
For example, a few months ago a bunch of us got together and everyone brought an appetizer that their parents would have served. EZ Cheese was much in evidence, vienna sausages, anything made with philadelphia cream cheese, and lots of olives. My favorite was Greg’s contribution, he said the only appetizers he remembered growing up were martinis and cigarettes–ah those were the days.
This past Friday was different. We–my colleagues and I–arrived in four different cars, soon after the work day ended. We lasted the better part of an hour–having cocktails and canapes–before it became necessary for every one to fetch their laptops (three Dells and one Mac) out of their cars (two hybrids, a Saturn, and an Audi) and fire them up. In the meantime, I excused myself for 20 minutes or so to go pick-up one teenager, while my husband picked up his son and heir and a friend.
When Curt walked in the door with Nick and Matt–Livvy the Hottest (honestly, that’s what they call her) was in the family room glued to her Facebook account on Nick’s computer. Matt and Nick didn’t hesitate for a moment but joined her at the monitor. Curt walked up stairs to the living room to discover the four of us–each with our laptops open, variously lounging or draped over pieces of furniture, talking to one another about work (as a group), ripping cds, googling the names of bands, and dealing with those 11th hour, Friday after 5pm emergencies. And, as if that weren’t enough, in addition to our group conversations, we were having individual “meta” conversations with one another via Skype and/or pacing around the house trying to get reception on cell phones. We weren’t being anti-social, we were “net working” on multiple levels–it was a very social evening.
Curt (PLSS) got himself a single malt scotch–he’d had a long week too–and settled down on the couch to watch the madness around him. Curt works in private equity, he and his colleages have computers, they just aren’t as attached to their computers as I and my colleagues are to ours.
I’m not sure why I wanted to blog about this, and I’m not sure this anecdote says much about anything other than a sub-section of tired people at the end of the week.
Oscar Wilde once said, “Conversation should touch everything, but should concentrate itself on nothing.”
Last Friday was the perfect end to the week.