A funny thing happened on the way to…
Just over a month ago, I was booked to attend a training course. The course was in my diary for Friday, so I took time out on the Thursday to complete the pre-course homework. I got everything together in a folder – a nice leather bound thing I got to impress people at meetings. I remembered to take it all home. I was ready.
Friday morning, I got up early. I knew that I needed too, because the course was due to start at 9:00, half an hour before my normal start of day, and I needed to leave long enough to find the room where the training was taking place.
It turned out I had plenty of time to spare before I needed to leave. So, I checked that I had everything I needed. I had. I was ready. I noticed that I looked good, too, in a suit fresh suit. It just so happened that my good lady was taking my son, JB, to the dentist that day, so I even had time to spare to help her to get him ready, too. My wife offered to drive me to the office, but I refused: I had left plenty of time, and it was a lovely day to walk.
With my nice leather folder tucked under one arm, I carried my son out to the car. In order to strap JB safely in the car seat, I needed to put the folder down. I popped it on the roof of the car, making a mental note to retrieve it before my wife left. I have watched cars drive away with briefcases on the roof, but I was determined not to make that mistake. I said my fairwells, and I set off for the training centre.
Half way along my own street, I realised that something was terribly, disastrously wrong. I had no folder. I was gone! Of course: the roof of the car. Idiot!
Right. What to do? I needed a plan.
I ran back up the road to where the car had been. The folder was not on the ground, so it must still be on the car. The route my wife happened to be taking was in the general direction of the office. Traffic is heavy in the morning. There was a chance I would catch her. If I ran.
So, I ran. I am not especually fit, but nevertheless, I ran.
As I had guessed, I eventually, caught up with the car. I had been looking out for the fallen folder, but as I had not seen it , so there was a good chance it was still on the roof of the car.
But it was gone.
My folder was gone. My stationary was gone. My homework was gone.
Right. I needed a new plan.
I had taken a slight detour to follow the car, but I still had just enough time to get to the training centre by 9:00. If I ran.
But, could I turn up without my homework? Possibly. I had written it just the day before. It had not taken long. I knew roughly what I had written. I could reproduce it reasonably quickly if I needed to.
Could I turn up without stationary? Not really, but there is are some shops on the way. Perhaps I could buy a pen and some paper.
Now I had a plan.
So, I ran.
On the way I tried a couple of shops for paper and pen. By now I was cutting things very fine, but eventually I found some replacement stationary: not perfect, but good enough.
I arrived at the building that houses the training suit with just a minute or so to spare. Glancing fitfully at the time, I endured the queue of people at reception. Eventually, it was my turn. I asked where I would find the training suite.
“Third floor, other end of the building.”, stated the receptionist, cheerily.
I ran to the other end of the building. I considered the lift, but estimated that I could easily beat it upstairs. So up I ran.
At last I arrived outside the room where the training was scheduled. Of course, by this time I no longer looked quite as sharp as I had first thing. I was panting, pink, sweaty, untidy, my legs were wobbly, my lungs hurt, I had lost my homework and I had sub-standard stationary. But I was there, and it was only a few minutes after 9:00. So, I took a moment to catch my breath, and tried the handle of the training room’s door.
It was locked.
I tried again: still locked.
I wandered up and down the corridor to see if anyone else was about: nobody.
I listened at adjacent doors, to see if there was anyone I could ask: silence.
I even tried calling the trainer’s office on my mobile, but I couldn’t get through. I was utterly baffled.
Eventually, I went back to reception to ask what was going on. At least there was no queue this time. The lady at reception cheerily informed me that the course had taken place on the previous day. The Thursday, not the Friday. Apparently, weeks before, I had simply entered the wrong day in my diary.
So, I dragged myself back to the office to explain my “adventure” to my manager. I was only a little late for my usual 9:30 start. I asked him to re-book me on the course. It appears I really needed it. Why? What was it on? Time management.
And yes, I do still look out for my nice leather folder whenever we drive that way. I have yet to find it.
“making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16)