Bunch Of Stuff That Happened

This article was one of my MicroSoft Small Business Forum pieces.

I have a good life. I’m completely aware of this fact, and daily turn my face to the sky and thank the Powers That Be for my great good fortune. I’ve created for myself a career that is fun, somewhat profitable, flexible, never boring, full of adventure, and sometimes even a bit sexy.

And sometimes all those aspects collide into something resembling comedy.

Next month, the University at which I’m a professor is hosting something called “International Development Week”, during which we will feature several events and many big name speakers around the themes of Human Rights and Global Development. Our keynote speakers include, among others, Canadian political stalwarts Maude Barlow, Lloyd Axworthy and scion Alexandre Trudeau.

As a member of the advisory committee to the event, it’s my great honour to liaise (when I can) with potential speakers and contributors. Thus, last week I found myself booked for an appointment with the new ambassador from one of Canada’s key allies, a gentleman who I hoped would agree to join the ranks of our top tier presenters.

Well, our meeting at the embassy fell on the coldest day of the year… and during a week when my every waking hour had been spoken for, thus I was unable to tend to some basic personal needs, like laundry. It also occurred in the middle of a transit strike here in Ottawa, a city-wide crisis that has created a fair amount of trauma, chaos and woe.

So I found myself running late for this very important meeting with a foreign dignitary. Stupidly having no clean clothes of suitable quality (remember, no time for laundry!) I threw on the only clean pair of dress pants I had available —and they had a gaping hole in their crotch! But at least they were dark grey, as were the long underwear I intended to wear under them.

I had intended to walk to the embassy, given the bus strike. But I was running late, so I turned to my environmentally friendly alternative: I booked a car with the car-sharing organization of which I’m a member. I rushed to the lot to get the car, and found, due to the unbelievable cold, that the windshield was covered with a half a centimetre of solid ice. And, of course, the car was devoid of both an ice scraper and windshield wiper fluid.

Having no time to acquire either a scraper or more fluid, and taxis being rarer than extinct animal species in this time of transit woes, I did the only thing I could: I drove the car with my head sticking out of the driver-side window, all the way to the embassy in -38 Celcius weather.

The good news is that I made it to the embassy on time, and even managed to remember to keep my legs crossed the whole time, lest I flash the ambassador with my crotchless pants.

And, oh yes, he agreed to take part in our event.

Is there a lesson to this story? Not really. As Homer Simpson once said, it’s just a bunch of stuff that happened.