Cat got my tongue


I’ve never really verbalised the word tu lan before, but today I’m afraid only this Hokkien vulgarity which literally means “poke dick” can sum up how I feel. Actually, I think it also needs “fucking”, “tok gong” and “boh way gong” in front of it to really put things into perspective.

I had arranged to go to North Wales for a business meeting with my senior colleague. We had to catch the 0720 train so we agreed to meet at the station at 0710. Given the fact she had missed one important meeting earlier in the year due to her haphazard nature, I rang her at 0620 to make sure she was awake.

At 0713, she was still nowhere in sight. I rang her and she told me she was still at home waiting for the taxi. What’s worse, she hadn’t got any cash so she needed to go to the cash point to draw money to pay the driver.

Looking at the time, I told her there was no way she could make it to the station in 6 minutes, use the ATM, pay her cab fare and still be able to catch the train. But she kept insisting she was just round the corner. With two minutes left to go, I had to make the decision- to go to this presentation alone, or we both miss it together.

It’s amazing how much can go through your mind in a matter of seconds when you are under stress. I even had time to consider all these: If we both didn’t go, the company would have wasted £40 on our travel expenses.  If I went alone, I wouldn’t know what to say because I wasn’t prepared to give the main presentation. Could I not do this? But the people in North Wales were expecting us and it would just looked very bad on us if we cancelled.

So I made a dash for the train. The conductor had actually locked the train doors and blew the whistle, but he heard and saw me running clumsily in my high heels along the platform, shouting, “Wait!” and very kindly let me on board. As the train pulled away and I tried to catch my breath, she phoned to say she’d just arrived at the station. I told her it was too late, we’d left.

And then I lost it. I said I was very disappointed, very angry and I had reminded her days ago about the timing of the train. I even called her in the morning to make sure she wasn’t still asleep. She is someone more senior and I feel almost embarrassed doing such things. She said she’d try to catch another train or make other travel arrangements and I told her to forget it, it took 3 hours to get up to the North and the trains were by no way frequent.

She kept dishing up reasons or excuses on why she couldn’t make it, and offered ways to make amends, but I really wasn’t interested. The bottomline was that she didn’t deliver and that couldn’t be changed no matter how valid the reason was. Then I told her I didn’t want to talk to her anymore and hung up.

So there I was, breathless in my seat, armed with a heavy projector which was going to be absolutely useless since the person who was supposed to bring the laptop didn’t show up. I had no laptop, no powerpoint, I wasn’t expected to present the concept of the youth website to people from the town council, let alone all on my freaking own. God knows why I went on the train and why I thought I’d be able to pull this off.

The only good thing was I had 3 hours to think of a solution. So I looked through my notes from a previous presentation I attended with my CEO and studied the information booklets I brought along. I convinced myself that I actually did know all the stuff, I just hadn’t done it before all on my own, without amnunition or support, or sufficient prepping.

In the end, I was lucky to have gotten away with a very friendly and easy-going audience. There were only two of them instead of the usual large group who sat around the boardroom table in an airless meeting room, tapping their pens on thick notebooks.

I talked them through the project at their office desks in an informal setting, sharing cups of tea and biscuits. I managed to convince them and myself I knew what I was doing, and the meeting, given the horrible circumstances, actually went very well.

I remained traumatised and affected on the journey back. She kept phoning me but her actions had really left me so speechless I told her to back off and let me have some space. I just needed to calm down and I wasn’t ready to talk.

My bosses phoned and I frankly admitted to them that she was making it very difficult for me to do my job right and I couldn’t continue working like this. One of them said if he were me, he would have gotten off the train halfway and headed back.

I don’t expect anyone to give me a pat on my back telling me how well I’ve handled the situation. All I want is somebody to wake this lady up and make her get her act together!

This evening when I got home, I got an email from her asking to meet up to iron things out. I was thinking if I should say yes but not show up. You see, sometimes when my vindictive side takes control, I just want to serve them their own dish, behave the way they behave, tell the lies they do, not care the way they don’t.

But then call me stupid or overly-righteous, no matter how fucking tok gong boh way gong tu lan (poke dick angry in a super speechless way) I get, I always manage to stop myself in time and say: No, I won’t stoop down to that level.

Explore posts in the same categories: Drama, Travel, Work

4 Comments on “Cat got my tongue”

  1. Sarah Says:

    It’s kinda sad how alot of people get away with things like these they’re whole life. The term once bitten twice shy doesn’t apply at all. It’s probably just luck.

    Totally understand where you’re coming from. Unfortunately, as what I remember of the UK is that the gift of the gap usually wins the day.

    I think what you did was awesome and I’m not sure if I would have been brave enough to do the same. =)

  2. Sarah Says:

    OOO i think I meant gab. Gift of the gab. Which right now, I obviously DO NOT HAVE. hahaha..

  3. Chillie's Mom Says:

    I am so proud of you. Believe in yourself babe, you can do wonders. Well done. So very proud of you. Just in case you run out, KNNPCB also helps.

  4. izchan Says:

    Never ever stoop to their level.
    Always remember that you are what you do.

    *Salute*


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