I came into work last Monday morning and found out that I had a full slate of appointments scheduled. Everyone in my office had taken the day off except for my administrative assistant who had planned on coming into the office around noon. So for fun, my staff loaded up my schedule like the main runway at Logan airport. One appointment right after the other and at times, one over the other while another tries to slide in underneath. I was the only one in the office and by the looks of my schedule; it appeared the morning was going to be a challenge, but I was up to the task at hand.
It was hectic. Every time I peered out of my office door, it seemed like there were five more people waiting to meet with me. It was beginning to feel like a daunting task, but I was determined to show my staff that I could rise to the challenge. I had decided early on in the day that I was going to meet every appointment they had scheduled for me; on time and without delay. My goal was to clear my schedule, as well as my reception area, by the time my administrative assistant came into the office. It was because of this little internal game of cat and mouse that I was playing with my staff that the inevitable was about to happen.
I had just about cleared the first barrage of meetings when my 10:30 a.m. appointment called to cancel. This break in the action gave me a minute to re-group and make a couple of quick phone calls before the next barrage of people arrived, but it also meant that I was going to have enough time to meet with my other 10:30 a.m. appointment who was supposed to come in at 10:45 a.m.; it was a nice attempt on my staffs behalf to try and trip me up, but double booking the schedule was old school!
I quickly went back to my office, shifted a couple of things around on my desk and went to sit down in my chair. My chair?! My Chair?! Where was my chair?! The instantaneous shock of fear that went up my spine like a chill on a cold winter’s night shot through my body. The chair was not where it was supposed to be, it was a couple of feet further back and I was already on my way down into the sitting position. I was not going to fall and land on my butt in the middle of my office; it just wasn’t going to happen, not today!
Somehow, as I was falling down, I grabbed the arms of the chair and pulled the chair as hard as I could towards me. But at the same time, I must have pushed with my feet to get my body up over the seat of the chair in time to save myself from falling on the floor. BIG MISTAKE!!!
I knew enough about physics and I have watched enough of those hilarious home videos television shows to know that two objects coming at each other from different directions at varying rates of velocity are going to create a collision. I knew this fact. I had learned this lesson way too many times in the past to be making this mistake now but apparently, the lesson never sunk in and I was about to learn it all over again; the hard way!
My body was hurtling backwards towards the chair and the chair was racing quickly towards me because I had pulled the chair with my arms. The fact that the chair had casters made the impending doom that much more inescapable because the wheels underneath the chair had given the seat a good rush of speed. And then I landed in the seat and for a nanosecond everything seemed to be okay. And then I felt it. It was like I was in a slow motion action scene from the Matrix as my head started to go backwards and my feet were being propelled upward into the air. I could almost see the commercial now… “Office chair: $99… New shoes: $50… Dumb ass executive being flipped over in his chair: priceless!”… and that was what the look on my face must have been; priceless!
I was airborne for a short time but it felt much longer than it really was. My head and shoulders hit the floor first as my body crashed down over me and that was when I realized the most horrifying part of my day; the chair was still in the air. I put my hands over my head and prayed to God that the chair would not break anything or me on its descent. A few moments later I felt the head rest land on my back. The wheel mechanism and the base of the chair landed off to the side of me, out of harms way. I waited for a second and then I slowly looked up for a status report of the damage. My computer? Check. My phone? Check. My printer? Check. My desk? Check. As luck would have it, everything was okay and still in one piece.
There was someone in the reception area. I think I muttered, “Be with you in a minute” as I picked myself up off the floor, dusted myself off, took a chair from the small conference table in my office and slid it behind my desk before I headed out to greet my 10:45 a.m. appointment. My pride was bruised, but my body and my office were still intact.
I actually cleared my schedule of every appointment before my administrative assistant came in at noon. I had accomplished what I had set out to do; I had beaten my staff members at their own game. When my administrative assistant arrived, I ordered a new chair because I had broken mine in half. I had to explain exactly what had happened and I suffered through the past week and a half in a very stiff, unfriendly chair that goes with the small conference table in my office but I had won the game and for now, that was all that mattered.
Well, today, I got my new chair delivered. The seat is a little higher than I usually like it, but I will make do with the change in height. And all I could say was “Thank God that no one was here to literally laugh at me when it happened.” I have had to tell some people in my organization about what happened to my original chair and even though it is a painful story to tell to my employees, I must admit, it would have been a thousand times funnier and a thousand times more embarrassing if anyone had actually witnessed the events of the day in person.