I work in IT. That is, that I attempt to solve people’s technical challenges. Presentation audio/visual work (AV) is my least favorite part of IT. Anything technical involving a presentation in front of people, more specifically clients, has a huge potential for screw up. Projector bulbs can (and will) burn out, USB memory sticks can (and will) lose their drive partition, and public address sound systems can (and will) give ear-piercing feedback. About the only thing worse than doing AV in your own office is doing it offsite instead.
A few weeks ago my employer was hosting their annual charity golf tournament. I’d been at the same golf course one year before, in its club house banquet room, fighting with its sound system, irked to discover it was insufficient to drive sound for the charity’s multimedia presentation. Fast forward one year later… and I’m going to the same club house, but this time trying to improve options for multimedia sound.
For a few weeks, I tinker with computer speakers around the office. It occurs to me that we could rent some AV equipment, but the point of the tournament is charity. The more money spent means less money for charity, Calgary’s Homeless Foundation. To make matters worse, I hear that this year the golf course has been nickel and diming for all the extras. This just strengthens my resolve to find a no-cost option.
At home, I happen across my wife’s old JVC KaBoom Box. When Karen taught aerobics in Ottawa, she used to haul it along to community centres and gymnasiums. It’s gun-grey ugly, but if memory serves me right, the sound output is awesome! I test the AUX port and its 52 watt speakers don’t disappoint! But wait, what’s this black gunk on my hand? The rubber guards on the speaker ends are sticky? I can’t for the life of me figure out what happened to it.
After a bit of research on the net, I discover that other JVC owners have encountered something similar sticky situations. Chemically, the rubber ends on the stereo became unstable during the last decade . I end up taking the stereo apart and scrubbing the rubber goo from the speaker guards for a good couple hours. Thank goodness for Sunlight soap and scouring pads. Now the boombox isn’t just ugly, now it looks vintage ugly with a distressed finish. More importantly, using the JVC the presentation at the golf tournament goes off without a hitch. The president of the charity even thanks me for making the presentation run so smoothly.
I’ve been trying to put my finger on the word for some time now. I couldn’t figure out what was happening between a couple beloved friends and co-workers at my not-so-loved Purple Prison. Like the JVC’s rubber speakers, my friendship with these co-workers has been changing. What was once solid now seems to have broken down and disappeared.
I’ve heard it once said that some friendships only last for a season. School friends fill my mind when I think of seasonal friendships. A while back, I’d written an entry about being stuck on a Deserted Island. In the article, I’d named two co-workers who I held in high regard. and even indicated that we had really gelled. It seems that was also for a season because somewhere along the way, the gel was dissolved. I still think well of both people, but am a bit lost to know or understand entirely what happened.
Previously, I had written seven reasons why I wanted them there on that desert island with me; Sense of humor, transparency, sensitivity, empathy, common interests, diversity, and trust. From my list of seven, almost anything could be removed without huge implications, except for the last. When trust erodes between friends, the rest become difficult, strained, contrived, and too often impossible.
And maybe there’s the lesson. At this point, not blame nor cause really matter any more. When trust dissolves, the friendship, the closeness of the friendship, pretty much ends. It was a great for a season, but saddly, even the best of seasons come to a close.