I was working with someone from RL. They weren’t my boss or in my chain but was a director. They came to me and said, “Hey, Mike, I’d like you to come with me on a business trip.” (He always called me Mike, when I’m one of those who goes by Michael.) I was surprised, a little flattered. He explained briefly that we were going to corporate headquarters. Then, we were side by side walking with our luggage, then, poof, we were there. Now it gets crazy.
I was wearing business casual but I’d brought a suit for some serious meetings. First I checked in. I disovered that my room, a large space with several beds, no closets but racks for clothes, and a large bathroom seemed to already be occupied. I thought that a little strange but guessed it was due to budget cutbacks. As I unpacked my clothes and hastened out go to meetings, a young woman dressed in shorts and halter tops.
After an awkward silence, I approached her and mentioned that I’d been assigned this room. Yes, she replied, she lived here. I clarified that she wasn’t just staying in the room for a meeting; no, she lived here with her co-worker. He arrived then, and we exchanged names. Then they started talking about their business while she took out an ironing board and iron and ironed clothes.
Outside, I discovered that I should be wearing a suit for this meeting, because I’d been in the same clothes for two days. Knowing I was due to be here three more days, I went back to the room. The other two weren’t there. I pulled out my suit. It had huge wrinkles on it. I found the iron but couldn’t fine the ironing board. Impatiently, I decided that I didn’t need it and dried ironing my suit on the bed. It wasn’t going well. As it progressed, the guy returned and watched me while he did other things. His presence flustered me.
After ironing it, I dropped my suit into a muddy puddle. Yes, our room’s floor was suddenly a pot-holed, cracked piece of asphalt. Trying to get mud off that part of the suit, I dipped another section and muddied it. I now discovered that I was doing this outside. It was cold and icy. My roommates came by and asked why I was ironing my suit outside. As I struggled to reply, they mentioned how strange it was to see someone wearing a suit. Neither of them ever wore one.