Yesterday I went for a meeting (which I seem to be doing a LOT of in my lovely new job) in London's fashionable SHOREDITCH area of London. The meeting itself was a DELIGHT but CRIKEY it wasn't half a palaver getting into it.
For LO! being in Shoreditch meant it was in one of these modern WORKSPACE spaces, which aren't boring old traditional offices like what the likes of me work in, but EXCITING new fangled ZONES with Breakout Areas and Free Coffee and thrillingly different ways of doing things. One of their new ways of doing things was NOT to say the name of the building anywhere on the front of it, for instance, or to say what companies were based there. I guess not knowing if you have come to the right place is a brilliant way of encouraging original thought.
I would have ASKED if I was in the right place, but I could not actually GET IN. I mean, I got through the door OK but then there were GATES to stop intruders entering the THORT CULTURE. Here in the boring old-fashioned world of DULLNESS we have things like RECEPTION DESKS and/or STAFF at such gates to welcome/help visitors, but here there was nothing so fuddy duddy. I could see a desk about twenty feet away, on the other side of the gates, but there was no way to GET to it, and the person sitting there was studiously NOT looking in my direction, so eventually I had to flag down one of the thrusting young types who were zooming through the gates with their staff passes.
"How do you get in?" I asked.
"With my card!" he said.
"How does ONE get in?" I clarified, and he went over to the desk beyond the gates and pointed me out. Someone opened a gate for me to come through, and then QUICKLY LOOKED DOWN again as I approached. I had no idea where in the building to go next so was forced to impose my OLDE WORLDE ideas of communication upon him. I said I had come to see somebody and he presented me with a TABLET, which asked me to enter my details and the name of the person I'd come to see. This was all fine, except it would only accept certain people's names, who were registered as full time workers there, whereas the person I wanted was part-time. His company rented most of a FLOOR there, but that was not good enough, as it had to be a specific name.
I asked for help, several times, until he deigned to respond, and then called over - amazingly - THE RECEPTIONIST. She was an actual person who was standing even further away from the gates, chatting to somebody, and was not happy to be disturbed by a request to actually RECEIVE somebody. When she eventually came over to speak to me I felt OBLIGATED to try and find out how this was all MEANT to work. Surely, with my old-fashioned ideas and practices, I was missing something?
"How are you supposed to get in?" I asked.
"Through the gates," she said, looking at me like I was an UTTER FOOL.
"But what if you haven't got a card to get through?"
"You ask at Reception."
"But that's on the other side of the gates."
This appeared to be the most obvious, stupid, thing an individual has ever uttered. "Yes," she said, as if talking to a baby who had just seen a sheep and said "MOO."
"So how do you get through the gates to ask reception to let you through the gates?"
APPARENTLY either nobody had EVER visited before OR they were all Olympic High Jumpers, as she visibly BOGGLED at this question. Eventually she said "Well, then you just wave and we'll come and see you?"
"But I was stood there for ten minutes trying to get through, and nobody saw me," I said, NOT adding "Because you were round the corner chatting to someone and your colleague was staring anywhere but at the door" because I am POLITE.
She then said that most wonderful of phrases which never fails to quell discontent and spread a mood of lighthearted JOY to all concerned: "Well it's always worked before."
Honestly, it was all I could do not to burst into SONG and SCATTER PETALS around the general area at such a helpful remark. In no way did I have to contain myself from going on a DESTRUCTIVE RAMPAGE, casting thousands of pounds worth of edgy, ergonomic furniture around in the CHAOS. If I had, I might have hurt some of the PROBABLY THOUSANDS of other visitors who had failed to get in and had instead formed their own communities of the lost and unmet outside.
What happened instead was that the person I HAD come to see arrived, said "Hello, I think you've come to meet me," and led me upstairs to be confused by funky coffee machines instead.
Several hours later, when I left, the gates opened automatically to let me out. I was almost disappointed.