People start filtering in and helping themselves to coffee. Against the backdrop of cups and running water, I hear a tenor voice with burred edges: "I'm Ken" and make my way to him, to get his initial reactions from the team draft so that I can finesse his concerns into my presentation.
Someone stops by and brushes my hand: "It's Carol" she whispers, "I'll catch you later." I grasp her hand slightly. It would be so relaxing to go to lunch with Carol after the meeting and catch up--we're good friends and we just haven't had a chance to get together lately. While I talk with Ken about the intricacies of the California position and his concerns over recent court cases over the interrelationships between groundwater banking and beneficial instream flow rights, I silently spell out into Carol's hand: "Wanna go to Jack's Deli after this?". She spells back "Sure, meet me at the lobby. Noon. Gotta great new novel you'll just love." I feel the corners of my mouth rise in a secret expression of anticipation.
Brian comes in and hands me one of the packets that we are going to go over. He says he has passed them out with the new hydrographs. For Ken's benefit, he says that they reflect data just received that morning. Ken commends his speed and professionalism, and then they lapse into sports.
While they dissect the pitifully poor showing of the Tigers last night and wouldn't it be great if we could just trade Harlan for just about anyone else, I excuse myself and very quietly go round the room to feel to make sure that the packets are right side up, with the title clearly braised in front. I'm always a bit nervous about these details, and Brian doesn't care how they are presented, but these impressions do make a difference. I keep lending him the self-help books on it, but the words haven't sunk in yet.