Registration and Coffee – Friday Fictioneers, September 2018

Copyright Priorhouse

They’re milling around like dogs, sniffing out each other’s credentials, ranking them on a scale of business relevance.

Apparently I’ve established my commercial value at the registration desk, as I stand alone, watching the speaker, cool, ice-blond, elegant, drifting gracefully between enclaves.

A bell rings, the speaker vanishes, delegates shuffle towards the auditorium.

In the adjacent cloakroom cubicle, someone is painfully, vocally retching.  When the speaker emerges, we exchange furtive glances at the basins.


She nods.


She takes one and leaves.

Later, mingling again, she cuts me dead.

Wrong credentials, wrong place, wrong time.

Story of my career.

This photo reminded me of a million conferences (hyperbole, moi?) that I must have attended throughout my career.  Never an enthusiastic networker, how I hated that stage of the proceedings.  Thanks again to someone who is positively relishing her second career, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, our esteemed leader, who still finds the time for Friday Fictioneers.

About Sandra

I used to cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and wrote fiction and poetry. Now I live on the beautiful Dorset coast, enjoying the luxury of being able to have a cat, cultivating an extensive garden and getting involved in the community. I still write fiction, but only when the spirit moves me - which isn't as often as before. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in Friday Fictioneers, Just Sayin'. Bookmark the permalink.

72 Responses to Registration and Coffee – Friday Fictioneers, September 2018

  1. Sue says:

    Ooooh! And so true


  2. neilmacdon says:

    I loved the use of “credentials”


  3. Dear Sandra,

    I felt the MC’s pain. On the outside looking in. Brilliant is the word I give to your first line. I can just imagine them sniffing each others…um…credentials. Brava!




  4. ceayr says:

    Another small masterpiece, Sandra.
    So much in so little, how we despise the speaker!


  5. Excellent tension and atmosphere in this piece.


  6. Anita says:

    I love the first line. That’s how it goes! First impression followed by a quick relevance ranking!


  7. Iain Kelly says:

    She can’t allow anyone to see behind that confident exterior. Many of us do the same everyday. A shame he was the one to catch that glimpse.


  8. Dale says:

    And that’s how it goes for some, isn’t it? Look down on those “beneath” your station, even when they have shown you a kindness.
    So very well done.


  9. trentpmcd says:

    Very well done. Like a lot of others, I love that first line. I think it sums up some business conferences quite well.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. pennygadd51 says:

    Such elegant writing, Sandra, and such dry wit. I loved it!


  11. granonine says:

    Reading this was like watching a little vignette of the way it works in business. Clearly, the caste system exists everywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Prior... says:

    ouch – could feel the sting.
    and I hate when i am in a room full of PhD’s because this is exactly what happens – they are

    “sniffing out each other’s credentials”
    I like the way you phrased things


  13. michael1148humphris says:

    what great images you created, I am just glad to not attend such events these days


  14. Having seen the weakness in someone else is rarely a good thing… I’m glad not to have to attend to that type of conferences.


  15. Ive been to conferences like that, i’m only here for the tea and biscuits, oh and lunch and a bit of a grumble!


  16. 4963andypop says:

    No one seems to want to own up to their own embarrassment,or shared humanity, in a world based on how many letters are after your name.


  17. You’d expect the “speaker” to show some humanity after being given a peppermint and kindness. Alas, it’s still cutthroat. Love *the sniffing of credentials*.


  18. Abhijit Ray says:

    Sniffing credentials! Too good!


  19. That’s painfully realistic Sandra.


  20. draliman says:

    Only good for an emergency peppermint. Story of my life 🙂


  21. Standing alone – for now. So often the least likely succeed in time


  22. James McEwan says:

    To some we are all just blips on their peripheral vision. So true.


  23. Liz Young says:

    Excellent – and a true indictment of business values.


  24. Rowena says:

    Beautifully written Sandra with incredible characterization. I’ve worked as a Marketing Manager and I’m a natural networker and really enjoy linking people up. However, in my most recent job I was the Marketing Manager of an IT Company. I went to networking events and as soon as people found out I worked for an IT company, the conversation stopped dead in its tracks and I was suddenly in the same boring boat as the accountants. Trust me. I was quick to point out that I was an the marketing side and very non-technical. It was an awful feeling. On the other hand, I loved the free lunches…
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 2 people

  25. plaridel says:

    i guess it wasn’t her day. better luck next time. 🙂


  26. subroto says:

    Ah yes, we’ve all met someone like that. They should be avoided, even in mint condition.


  27. Sarah Ann says:

    Wonderfully done. A pity your MC lacks the credentials and a pity the speaker takes but never gives. A sad indictment of the world some inhabit.


  28. jillyfunnell says:

    You have painted a vivid word picture of everything that is wrong in that kind of skewed values world.


  29. Ellie Scott says:

    An accurate and biting portrayal of these horrendous events, and like everyone else I love that opening line – brilliant!


  30. Been there, done that too many times. You painted it almost too well, nicely done.


  31. elappleby says:

    The first line brought back my own memories of similar events and the second line had me laughing out loud! These events always feel a little bit too much like the first day at a new school. Brilliantly told though 🙂


  32. Oh my, this reminds me of the old saying, “familiarity breeds contempt.” She was in the wrong place at the wrong time for sure. A vivid scene I certainly could relate to. =)


  33. Always being on the outside looking in is an incredibly hard place to be. Especially when you know you’ve got what it takes! You captured that a so much more in your story.


  34. lisarey1990 says:

    Excellent atmosphere.


  35. Your story sums up the reasons I decline to attend conferences whenever possible. You touched a nerve.


  36. Well done! Fortunately, I’ve also been in quite a few conferences where (I hope) people felt a bit more welcome than that and the speakers were less haughty … Nicely done, though! Na’ama
    My entry, if interested:


  37. Excellent piece, Sandra. I’ve been there a few hundred times myself. I never was much good at “small talk” or mingling–plus, my credentials weren’t very impressive either.


  38. They say children are cruel.
    Thought provoking story.


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