How to Derail a Meeting

I inadvertently started something beautiful and terrible at work today.

I have a regular 8:30 meeting, which we have because someone got the idea that daily team meetings were a great idea. That person doesn’t attend the meetings, mind you.

At any rate, I made an off-hand comment that the US could be divided up into basically four parts: the West coast, which is civilization, two cities in the East coast (NY and DC), “granaries” and “industrial”.

I may have been doing this specifically to tweak someone who identifies strongly with his hometown in the “industrial” part of that.

He, predictably, accused me of painting vast swaths of the country with too wide a brush, and I acknowledged his accusation as fair and amended my definition to include “cheese-producing states”.

There was a pause, and someone else at the table was roused from their morning coma just enough to contribute, as follows: “I went to a cheese factory this weekend. It was pretty neat.”

The rest of the meeting was spent in a hearty debate over the relative qualities of different varieties of cheese and their production methods. At one point, two people had the wikipedia article on “rennet” open to provide authority to their firmly-held convictions. 

Nothing else work-related was accomplished.

It was the best meeting I’ve had all year.

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