Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


The Glass Building, Part Two.

Kate, Hamish and Vijay are visiting a major client at its CBD glass tower headquarters to present a new campaign. After being brusquely issued with ID like cows being branded, having an argument about nothing in particular and sitting around in an uncomfortable waiting area, they had to hurriedly reschedule the meeting because Vijay the writer had forgotten the scripts - even though, technically, it was Kate the account manager's responsibility.

Four hours later, Kate, Hamish and Vijay endure the reception charade again.

After about fifteen minutes a young blonde-haired man wearing a pinstripe suit and a red tie bustles across the acres of marble, gushing 'Hi! So glad you could make it!' which, given the rescheduling, sounds sarcastic, but you can never tell with clients.

It is Charles, vice-president of marketing, international consumables, supermarket lines, drygoods, major brands and house brands. Yes, that is his title. Despite the designation, Charles is just another corporate drone who puts together boring powerpoint presentations, hangs out in the kitchen over-snacking on biscuits and wastes much of the day on Facebook. What makes him important to the agency is that he also happens to control a six million dollar budget.

KATE: Great to see you, Charles! Sorry we had to reschedule. The writer forgot the scripts.

CHARLES: Yes, they often do that. All that creativity and then they forget the most basic things. Come on up!

They walk to a bank of twenty elevators, ten along each side. One arrives – the one at the far end - and opens with a ding. They head towards it, but it shuts and departs. Another ding, another walk, another door shuts in their face. After about five minutes of this nonsense they capture a lift. The ride to the eighty-ninth floor is interrupted about thirty times by office workers with armfuls of files getting in at one level and out at the next.

CHARLES: I don't know why they don't just organise people to work on their own level.

KATE: They could use the stairs.

CHARLES: Are you kidding? Then they'd be too exhausted to go to the gym after work.

KATE: Says it all about modern life, really. Ignore the stairs at work and then go and pay hundreds of dollars to get onto a stair machine in some gym and stare at a wall for an hour while you sweat.

The four finally arrive at the eighty-ninth floor, trooping out of the elevator and along a corridor to double glass doors activated by an intercom. Charles picks up the phone, hits 9, and delivers the secret security phrase which is 'Can you open the door please?' The door emits a click, and they go through, eventually arriving at another door titled 'The Darling Downs Room'. Another sign on the door reads: 'Please observe all safety precautions and seating protocols when holding meetings in this room. Please remove all takeaway coffee cups from this room after meetings. Please unplug and remove all computers and projection equipment after meetings. Maximum room capacity 20 persons. Additional chairs available from services: call 1321. For fire warden call 1432. Telephone and internet available in this room: call I.T. services on 4352.'

Beneath that, another sign reads: 'Room booked'.

CHARLES: Damn. The room's already booked. We'll have to go to another meeting room. There's one on eighty-eight.

KATE (PASTED-ON ACCOUNT SERVICE SMILE NO LONGER REACHES HER BLUE EYES): That's OK. I love walking around large buildings all afternoon.

VIJAY (QUIETLY, TO HAMISH): I love advertising. I love clients. I love meetings. I love it when account service people get angry.

HAMISH: Shut the fuck up, Vijay.


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