Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Rose By Any Other Name

The team that Haas sent to the Idea Village this year is by any measure a diverse group. The team boasts only one whitey and he's bald and not even American. While last year's team was similarly diverse, see if you can pick what separates Haas NOEW 2010 from 2009. Let me help: the male to female ratio. There's no rhyme or reason to it, this year there are simply more men than women on the team—a lot more. The ratio is seven to one. Spare a thought for our lone woman, Carmen, forced to spend a week locked away in an office with seven boisterous men, many of whom have poor hygiene habits and eat too many onions and too much spicy food.

Back in Berkeley when it dawned on us just how far out of whack our gender balance was going to be, we set about cooking up a decent name for our team. It was fodder for a bit of fun. Here were a few of the ideas we conceived. Don't dwell on them too long. Hold them in your mind for a moment and then think about how we arrived at our preferred option.

The Suburban Lawns, The Stinkin' Hippies, The Left Coast Tree Huggers, Gold Mansachs...

Each name was supposed to be evocative of something (except the Suburban Lawns thing which is just totally meaningless) and the list went on a few longer, but ultimately the team settled on a winner: Carmie-C and the Sensuous Seven. It captures the team well. Led by the incomparable Carmen Chan, the remaining assemblage of seven men immediately responded to her woman's touch and rapidly accepted her direction. She's a natural in the role.

Team mom, Carmie-C, seeks midnight solace in a delicious dessert

Now maybe you can guess the dynamic that eventually emerged as the week in New Orleans wore on. The Sensuous Seven, at least those who are accustomed to life with our significant others, came to view Carmen as the team mom. It's not fair and none of us would openly admit that they wanted the interpersonal dynamics to go that way but that's sort of how things played out. Carmen's a born leader, and for most us the first woman whose leadership we learned to follow was our mothers. It's sad but it's true. So true. We're weak. Somehow us menfolk are conditioned to slot into deeply ingrained roles when the situation demands it. Let's see how she's able to push, shove and kick us towards our deadline tomorrow. I'll not-so-live blog the end.

We finished dinner downstairs at Capdeville a couple of hours ago. Back then the end seemed nigh. Now it's nearly midnight on Thursday and we're probably kidding ourselves if we think we're done. Carmie-C and the Sensuous Seven are preparing to practice our presentations. We're tired, a bit cranky and each one of us is eager to get back to the hotel and sleep. Nonetheless, we're determined to squeeze in a round of practice. Let's see how we go.

Goddammit, it's 3:35am. We're still here and I'm not sure when we'll be done. I just heard someone mention something about light bulbs. Who's going to make it to breakfast?

Sometime around 3am shit got weird and Rohan busted out the Rambo strap. He was obviously confused.

We're at 3:55am now and eyelids are dropping heavily. We need to get out of here and actually get some rest. Things are getting weird in here. Too long cooped up in a room does not do a mind good.

Holy crap! It's 4:22am and I'm done. I'm just browsing and paying no attention whatsoever. I need to get out of here. Here's the deal: I'm going to back to the hotel for about three hours' worth of sleep. I'll make it to the morning session at the World War II memorial. As for the rest of the team, who knows?

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