I am sitting in a fortunate position today; I have a really good view out of the window. Spring is on the way at last, and I can see a burgeoning of buds on the trees. The sun, an almost forgotten addition to the sky, is breaking through the clouds. The meeting room is warm, I ease back in my chair, stretching my legs out. I feel a bit sleepy and have to stifle a yawn. My eyes feel heavy, I just fancy drifting off for a while. I snap back to attention as my colleague nudges me surreptitiously, trying to give me a pile of spreadsheets “Take one and pass it on” she hisses. The paper is A3 and covered with numbers and percentages. There are blocks of colour: green, yellow and red. I know this document is supposed to mean something to me, but right now it just looks like an incomprehensible jumble of information. The chair of the meeting is getting quite excited now, pointing and jabbering - especially at the red boxes. Apparently there is some kind of problem with these boxes. Funny, I always liked the colour red; thought it suited me. It reminds me of cheerful things: pillar boxes, robins, dramatic sunsets. A patch of red somewhere. Isn’t that what photographers seek out to give their compositions a focus? In this connection, the colour is bad news. So much so, that I see the chairperson looking a bit pink about the gills himself. He has also turned up the volume; his voice is so loud it is hurting my ears.
I look round the table, all the other attendees look rather dejected. They are transfixed by the information on the sheet. One person seems ready to burst into tears. I feel cross rather than upset. Is this what work has become? Dominated by statistics - the accuracy of which is definitely uncertain. I excuse myself, I need what is now termed a “comfort break”. On the way past the reception, currently unattended, I spy a patch of red on the wall. I feel myself almost magnetically drawn to this, as I said, I always liked the colour.
The sound of the fire alarm is excruciating but it has an immediate and gratifying effect of emptying the conference room in seconds, as we rush outside to the muster point. As the minutes tick past and we wait for the appearance of the fire service, the group begin to visibly relax. Some find a seat on the wall, others tentatively try out the grass. Gradually the tension of the board room is replaced by chatter and laughter as we welcome the return of the sun, basking in its warmth.