l i l e p h y t e

January 27th, 14:30 | You think *you're* tired?

Never let it be said that Workplace's sales force is boring and corporate -- those people can drink me under the table, and proved it, two nights in a row.

Let's back up a little to, say, last week, where at the very last minute, my manager informs me that the presence of myself and my teamlead would be A Good Thing at the sales pep rally coming up in Montreal. This is not good timing; we're already short-handed, and can't really afford to send two people gadding off to la belle province but, because he's our manager, we do.

So, I haggle with our corporate travel agent and inform her (politely) that there's no way in Hell I'm taking Air Canada, and that if my ass is parked on anything other than a WestJet craft out to Montreal, she's going to be very unhappy. There may have been mention of Prometheus and his forever-regenerating, forever-pecked-at liver. Maybe. Anyhow, the woman is very nice and accomodating, so I'm booked, I have a hotel, I leave at 6am on Wednesday, have my flight delayed (but it's okay -- Toronto and Montreal have my favourite airports because they have no armrests on their seats to prevent you from stretching out and sleeping), get to town, register for the con, wait three hours for my room to be ready.

Day One is pep rally-y. There are awards, there are meaningless speeches filled with incomprehensible revenue figures from high-up execs. There is a hotel-catered dinner, and acrobats. Then there is Free Time.

I feel the need to interrup myself here to explain that at Workplace, there are teams a lot like mine supporting other families of products sitting vaguely in the same physical area of the floor, but we don't really hang out much. We all know each other, we'll occasionally drop by another area and chat but there's no real bonding going on. (Although, because our team is the youngest and loudest, the others do tend to listen in on us -- we've been told we're like a radio station for Workplace. It's both flattering and unsettling.) Further note: the majority of the people on said teams are in their 30s to 40s. The young'uns are mostly on a different set of teams which are on another floor, and we very rarely see those guys.

So. After the dinner, an unofficial mission is set to get one of the, uh, more socially awkward coworkers tanked. We all went out, which was nice, and started him off on tequila (because we're kind and gentle that way). He held up remarkably well (although I expected him to, really; hidden depths and all that) and at some point (that point would be when the bar decided to show competitive bowling instead of the second game of the hockey double-header), the young'uns decided that it was high time we high-tailed it to a McGill bar, and enjoy the cheap beer and scantily-clad frosh that inhabit any proper student bar on a Wednesday night.

(The next day, I was informed that the guys felt kind of old (none of these guys are over 27); I found that odd. I felt old in that yes, I was physically older than everyone there, and wearing about three layers more than the average girl there, but I guess I still think of myself in my head as a student because... I didn't feel that out of place. (Is that because I can shake it like I mean it, in heels, even when trashed, unlike some of the froshettes? Quite possibly.) Of course, they did choose a *frosh* bar rather than a more upper-year place but... the dirtiness probably had some small appeal...)

At some point in the wee hours, we stumbled back to our hotel, stopping on the way at McDonald's, where one of the guys was shocked, despite my warning him beforehand, that they do not actually serve poutine in McDonald's, even though they're in Quebec. Honestly. (It was okay; we got McNuggets instead.) On the earlier admonishments of my teamlead, I was escorted all the way to my hotel room door by these exemplary young men (who also formed a little wall around me on the dancefloor to protect me from sleazy McGill students -- seriously, considering I was like cougar-aged, relatively, should they really have been groping me? For shame -- or, alternately, the wall was to protect the sleazy McGill students from my drunken wrath; probably the former though).

Anyway, so we got home, I got escorted, I stumbled over to my laptop and blearily began trying to answer work emails that the team couldn't handle (see above comments about short-staffedness). At this point, I would like to clarify that I could read my screen and had spent about three minutes trying to puzzle out what the first email was actually asking when one of my escorts called (presumably to make sure I wasn't passed out in a puddle of my own vomit?) and advised me to leave the email for the next morning.

I may be stubborn, but I'm not completely impervious to good advice, so I promptly passed out, and woke up the next morning to answer the emails, shower and dress for a 7h15 am meeting. Who does that?! It's a sales pep rally in Montreal, and the tech guys booked a mandatory 7h15 meeting?? What were they thinking??

Well. My hair may have been wet, but I was there, and starving, and the rest of the day was actually pretty interesting. Far more technical than I'd been expecting. It was a long day though. 10 hours long. 10 hours on no sleep and a hangover long. One of the young'uns who'd been at the student bar with us actually didn't make it to any of the morning sessions; I was quite worried for him.

After the conference, we had about an hour to ourselves, during which time I ran upstairs and did more email coverage, before quickly primping (no jeans! what was I to wear??) and running back down. Workplace took us to a very classy restaurant in Old Montreal, where I had the best steak ever, and then we were bussed off to a club where, laden with our neon green wristbands, we were treated to an open bar.

I'm sure you can see where this is going. Yes?

Right, so for this evening, the individual product families kept to their own, so I was pretty much the only youngling in the group, although it was fun getting to know some of the people I know of but never get to meet. At some point approximately 4 drinks into the night, I started talking to the DJ at the club, who, honestly, is the best DJ I've ever met -- he gauged the age group (even as it changed) perfectly, and honestly played some of the best stuff I've ever heard in a club. He was also extremely friendly and very open to requests. Around 6 drinks into the evening, some people from other product families trickled in from their own events, and one of the previous night's younglings showed up. We spent some time trying to think of good songs to request (we peaked with Livin' on a Prayer -- the DJ kept one-upping us before we could think of good songs to suggest) and watched the local gals dancing on the bar. (More jean envy from me -- if I hadn't been in dress pants, I would have been up there too.) I got hit on, much to my teamlead's fake horror ("I leave for five minutes!..."), by not one, by two separate local boys (seriously -- I got hit on in French! In a bar!), before proceeding to appoint the youngling as my personal Shield Against Further Advances, and we spent most of the rest of the night out-doing the sales folks on the floor with our fancy moves. (See? Told you I can dance even when I'm hammered out of my tree.)

One cab ride, no McDonald's, and a mad rush to my room to throw up later, I was in bed, faintly dreading, despite my slumber, my early ("early") flight the next day. (Happily I am a girlguide and had the foresight to both floss and pack my suitcase before we hit the town.)

I felt surprisingly sprightly 45 minutes (or what felt like it anyway) later when I woke up, ran around the hotel leaving people notes thanking them for hauling my drunk ass home, then clambered into a cab and proceeded to enjoy one of the smoothest sets of travel connections ever. The second my cab started pulling away from the curb outside my building? I threw up into the airline's "courtesy bag" (see? girlguide) outside the doors to our apartment, probably in full view of the concierge. Classy.

Needless to say, I've spent the rest of the day recovering -- hurray for alphabet soup! and doing laundry, unpacking, etc. My teamlead came to my rescue so I didn't have to work till late, which was nice, because right about now, I have a very pressing appointment with sleep...

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