When an absent-minded person has a speaking engagement

Saturday I spoke at Bayside of Central Roseville’s women’s event. Things did not go as I expected.

I knew I had to be at the community center by 8:30 am, so I packed up what I could the night before. I made myself a list of what to pack up on Saturday. Then, because I hadn’t been feeling well all day, I went to bed early.

Saturday morning I got up and, being a forgetful person, forgot to look at my list, picked up everything and headed blissfully out the door.

It wasn’t until half an hour later of driving, as I almost reached Roseville, that suddenly I realized I forgot my AVI/DVI convertor, which allows me to plug my Mac computer into a video projector. I was horrified as my presentation is heavily dependent upon PowerPoint because there are a lot of pictures and examples.

Thus the adventure began:

  • Exited and called my husband. He was already heading out of town to the Bay Area.
  • Tried to surf my phone to find out when Fry’s opened. Thought if I don’t speak til 9:20, maybe there is time for me to go buy a convertor. No luck. Couldn’t find it online.
  • Called a friend to ask for help finding the time Fry’s opens.
  • Just then the event coordinator called me to say that a Little League game had been scheduled that morning so parking was crazy. She asked me if I needed anything. I said an AVI/DVI convertor. A lady nearby overheard her and said they already had the cable.
  • I happily proceeded to the facility… until I was suddenly horrified to realize I had forgotten my power cable!
  • Calculating mentally my quickly depleting battery, I was trying to figure out if my laptop would last powering a video projector all morning.
  • Answer was no.
  • Panic started to set in.
  • Arrived at the community center. Found a parking space.
  • Went to set up my laptop and they gave me the cable. It was an AVI to AVI cable. Not the right cable.
  • Back to not the right cable AND no power cord. Panic started setting in again.
  • Suddenly remembered I was by Bayside of Granite Bay, where I used to work.
  • Called up my friend Trent, who does tech there. He was the first person I thought of who had the same laptop as me.
  • Yay! Trent picked up the phone and said he could lend it to me and would stop by!
  • Tried to set up what I could. Event started.
  • Coordinator came over and asked if I had handouts.
  • Looked around. No handouts. I had left them at home.
  • Trent arrived just a few minutes before I went up to speak. I connected everything.
  • Video projector didn’t work. Couldn’t get it to work though I checked all the connections and pushed all the buttons.
  • Gave up and took down their video projector and brought mine. (The one thing I did right — bring my projector just in case!)
  • The projector worked fine! Yay!
  • Gave my presentation. Had to improvise on the fly as I had to cut out a part that was handout-dependent. Was a bit unnerving to have everyone staring at me the whole time as I am used to people writing and scribbling much of the time.
  • Between the memory loss, scrambling for solutions, fixing technical problems, not having handouts and improvising my talk on the fly, I was in a pretty frazzled state!
  • However, God provided, gave me peace (I don’t think they knew how stressed I really was!), and I hope the talk was helpful. In any case, I got to meet some really great people there!

After the talk, I went by Bayside to drop off the borrowed items to Trent. While I was there, the phone rang.

It was the coordinator: “Did you leave your jacket here?”

I did.

So this is the story of my life…people think I am organized but in reality it’s a coping mechanism so I can survive my natural state of absent-mindedness.

One of the topics I was teaching on? How forgetful people can be more organized.

I speak from experience.

A Yee

Angela Yee is a professional designer (graphic design, stage design, interior design — angelayeedesign.com) and teaches leadership skills at strategysketchnotes.com.

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  1. corriespondent - April 1, 2009

    How stressful!! But quite funny in retrospect.

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