This photograph was taken in St. James Park, Toronto during the Occupy Toronto movement back in 2011. Jeez, time flies.
I chose this photograph because the other night, I was out at our local pub for a few pops with some other dread-filled parents of newly forming teenagers. This in itself reminds me of another story of someone I worked with many years ago. He was nice. Well sort of, in an as-long-as-we-agree-that-I’m better-smarter-and-more-powerful-than-you-we-will-get-along-swimmingly kind of way. While I wouldn’t say he made my life miserable, there was a tedious preamble that had to occur before I could ask him to agree with something that everyone else was already on board with.
Which reminds me of another office dynamic that it’s hard to miss. Do you have Leadership meetings, attended by the heads of each department? When I first began to attend, I naively brought something up and asked my colleagues for input, which invariably led to a hung jury, even if it was something we were required to do by law. I very quickly learned that the best way to gain approval was to meet with each Leadership member separately and prior to the meeting, to gain their approval. Once everyone had given thumbs up, it would get brought up in front of everyone, sometimes attributed to a “forward thinker” other than me, and the gavel would be banged.
Anyway, I digress. First about the man who was tedious. Misfortune arose and he no longer had power, he was on the way down and those that remembered his snubs on the way up, or at the top, found it harder to be sympathetic. It was the same with a boss who tormented me with his arbitrary “that’s the way it is”-ness. After he left and I saw his unclipped toenails hanging out of ugly sandals, I understood better the precarious position power holds.
Which leads me back to this karmic on-the-way-up, on-the-way-down thing, that believe it or not, is related to the pub chat and the tent. We were talking about how we know these teenagers are just about to hit us on the way up while we’re on the way down. And it ain’t going to be pretty, there will be payment. I can smell it as well as I can smell rain on hot pavement in July.
The tents? That night in the pub, we all had stories of our character (read: frontal lobe) still forming, making us a bit more interesting. Mine was about traveling to Vancouver Island from Port Angeles, Washington. Using all focus to reach the ferry on time, we neglected to think about money (presumably we didn’t have credit cards then, or more likely, they were maxed out). When we arrived, we didn’t have enough money for the bus to the camping facility and it was too dark to walk, so we casually set up shop in Beacon Hill Park, the Victoria equivalent of Central Park. Undeterred by roving Mounties, we slept soundly, smugly performing our ablutions in the bus station bathroom the following morning. With the money we saved on two nights of camping, we bought ourselves a cream tea for two.