I’m in a meeting, another meeting, a meeting in a day of meetings. I feel like I’ve been here for hours, sitting in the same red chair with the chrome legs, leaning on the same light wood conference table. I have been here for hours, in one meeting after another.
It’s warm and it’s getting hotter. It’s mild outside but it’s getting hotter in here. The windows are open but the slightest of drafts isn’t making a difference as the blinds are partly drawn, drawn to keep out the bright sun that is blaring on the large south facing windows. I can here the drone of a bee through the open window and the hum of the cars in the car park below as they search for a vacant space. I can see the bee through the slats of the blinds, a red-tailed bumblebee that is hovering clumsily around the gaping window, attracted no doubt by the warm air that is being drawn out of the room in which we are meeting. It’s getting hotter, the air is stifling and I twist in my chair, the red chair with the chrome legs and run my finger around my collar, looking for a little respite. Below I can hear the slam of a car door, a ripple of conversation and a cackle of laughter.
I shift my weight and try to focus on the meeting but the room is full, too full. There are eight or ten of us in the room that is only comfortable with half that number, breathing out warm and stale breath, heating up the room, sucking out the oxygen and leaving the air thick and stifling. There are half a dozen laptops open like clams on the top of the conference table, their fans humming and pumping hot air into the already warm room and it’s getting hotter, much hotter.
The agenda is moving but now the projector is coming out and is switched on, someone is going to make a presentation. Everyone shuffles round to make way for the white square that is cast against the light grey walls and I can feel their claustrophobic presence, dripping heat through their pores, through their follicles and from their orifices, adding to the hot dry air from the laptops and now the projector is making its contribution, its fan whirring, pushing its own mistral wind across the light wood conference table and round my hot and uncomfortable body. The blinds have been closed now, fully closed to keep the light out so people can see the images thrown out by the projector.
Now there is no breeze, not even the slight breeze from the open windows but I can still feel the heat from the sun baking the glass and heating the gap behind the blinds, creating a furnace that is heating up the room, radiating, convecting and I am slowly roasting. It’s too much for me now, the pictures are blurred and meaningless, the words are like the noise of a car radio that you can hear when it pulls up to the lights, all bass and no treble and I’m feeling nauseous, light headed and trapped in that dark, hot and unpleasant cramped room.
But suddenly it’s over, the projector is packed away, the laptops are shut and the door is opened and like a fridge door I can feel the cool refreshing current flowing in and I breathe, deeply, filling my lungs with a draught of fresh air that clears my head and settles my stomach. I can feel myself cooling down from a boil to a simmer. I close my notebook, put the top back on my pen, stand up and push back my chair, the red chair with the chrome legs, stretch myself and get ready to go. I have to get off to my next meeting.