Friday, May 4, 2012

Leatherbound 33: Remembering a "walk on part in the war"

I wrote this in an airport. In 2005.

I had a day in Melbourne as a layover from some presentations I had done in NZ. I had allocated the day to go to the Fawkner manufacturing plant of my ex employer. It's where the marketing managers of my company worked, on 20 acres of extruders, printing presses and sealing machines. Where on week long training courses after learning, drinking and telling war stories we might go into the Victoria Sales (VicSales) office and the plant.

Four years before, I had walked in and out of client offices, and theirs, with these guys and survived all sorts of screaming matches - with them and the clients. And I loved them all like brothers. That day, I had arranged a few days before to meet one of the best guys on site, from marketing. I'd caught a taxi out to the manufacturing plant, but had found that he'd had to race out to a customer plant for an emergency, and presumably to get yelled at or threatened.

So I got one of the production planners, Joe Navaratnam, who came out and chatted to me for an hour in the front office reception area. No walking into the bag plant or the production planning area. Even the guys in Vic Sales were out on the job.

So with clarity, a little sadness, and no desire to go back, I invoked a line from Pink Floyd's "wish you were here". At that time I wasn't working where I do a lot of my work now. And when I talk about "kids" I don't mean students.

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