My weekends start on Thursday whenever I get home from work. It's nice because I always have a 3 day weekend and there's always opportunity to travel. Since it was my first weekend here without jetlag, however, I opted to stay close to the city.
I was not particularly looking forward to work on Thursday. I was tired from the stressful first week and was just ready to take a nap or sleep in. Because of this, I dragged my feet a little on the way into the office and didn't arrive until 9:45, when I'm supposed to be there at 9. The funny thing is, being 10 minutes late for the bus stop and getting there at 8 am instead of 7:50 am, I consequently made myself 45 minutes late. Hm. As soon as I got there I was bombarded with busy work. Thankfully, though, I was also cordially invited to the bi-weekly publisher's meeting in the New Island office. I was eager to go because this kind of thing is most like what I think I want to do with my life. I walked with Mariel, an assistant sales manager at Brookside, up the creaky -- and steep -- stairs to the New Island Office at 10. Along the way, she was filling me in on the usual long winded and hostile meetings that lasted for up to 6 hours at a time. Upon reaching the bay, she, Inka (the production manager), and I prepared for the long haul by getting tea, going to the bathroom, and doing stretches (okay I'm exaggerating). Deidre (the managing editor) then beckoned us into her office to begin the meeting. We were the first there and had our choice of antique wooden chairs that looked like they were from a dining room in the 19th century. Atop an equally antique wooden table, around which we were seated, sat piles of large sheets of paper. Upon further inspection, I realized these were extensive lists of all the books we were coming out with or had just published. It was at least 10 pages long, single spaced, 10 point font. We were about to go through every single book on that list and discuss it in great length. I was glad I had my tea.
After we picked our seats I sat swinging my legs (because they didn't reach the ground from the one I was sitting on) in anticipation. What would it be like? What would I do if I had to pee? Would they ask my opinion? What would I say if they did?
The boss, Edwin, came in next and greeted us all with a big toothy smile. I could see his one silver tooth glinting from the back of his mouth. His smiles make me smile. As we waited for Conor and Tom, who were both grumpy (understatement: Tom was devastated and depressed) because Liverpool had lost the European Cup Finals the night before, giving the title to the (undeserving) Milan, Edwin told us about the furniture in the room. Since the office doubles as his house, a lot of the furniture that isn't officy is his own. It had been his great-grandmother's and we were not allowed to put our cups on it. I placed mine in my lap and opened my eyes and ears to my first publishing meeting.
It went pretty smoothly, as I later found they were usually much longer and everyone was usually more disagreeable, and I didn't utter a sound the entire time. The entire meeting was over my head. Not only had I never read or heard of any of the books they were discussing (I even had to shake my head with shame when they asked if I had read Angela's Ashes), but I didn't fully understand the process or jargon they were using. I didn't want the meeting to last 6 hours, so I kept my questions to myself. Some of the things we covered were pricing and repricing of books, how many of one book to publish, what size the book should be, if it should be hardback or paperback, a few book covers Inka had been working on, a few manuscripts Edwin and Deidre had read, etc. The meeting was from 10-12:40, so it was like being in a class. I spent the entire time watching Edwin's (who was next to me) upper lip hair flutter with his rapid speech (he has a goatee). When someone else spoke, I would look at them. At times I felt as if I was watching a tennis match because most of the conversation was between Deidre, sitting on my left, and Edwin, sitting on my right.
After getting home from work I made myself some disgusting soup and rice, which I ended up discarding and eating cereal and carrot sticks. My flatmate informed me we were going out, so I had about 45 mins to get ready to go. To keep it simple, we went to a familiar pub downtown and stayed very very late. Merry times were had. And so began my weekend.