Note: Background images in December 2002 and January 2003 journal entries are selected from Frances Ku's collection of her original watercolours.
Old colleagues die hard
I spotted his name on the conference programme after I had decided to attend as a session chairperson. Four years ago, we never got the chance to say goodbye as he had moved back to Germany. But I remember him as the project manager who was anxious to please the Queen Bee. To deliver the final product, he needed every team member's suppport and commitment. Unfortunately I wasn't so easily appeased. He had assessed me as having "a unique way of pissing people off."
I knew he saw me enter into the session he was chairing after it had already begun. I left before it ended to attend another session. But I returned at the end just to say hello.
He glanced at my name tag, which read "Anne Ku, analyticalQ" and mispronounced my first name. I let that pass.
From his bio, I had read that he was now head of the branch of a Norwegian energy company. So I asked if he was now based in Amsterdam. He replied that he also covered Germany. Had he misheard me or did he want to stick to business? I wanted to enquire his general well-being, not where he was in his career or in his company.
Somehow I felt he was distracted or reluctant to talk to me. It was difficult to carry on a conversation after more than four years of silence. I wanted to explain how I left the company we were both employed in. I wanted to apologise for not being able to say goodbye.
It was impossible to have a conversation with someone who seemed so distant. Did he have a long day? Did he not want to know anything about where I've moved on to? Why did I feel such a sense of reluctance?
Old colleagues die hard. But how you remember and feel about those you worked with --- these feelings never die.
4 December 2002 Wednesday
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