What Did You Do Before

The old man sat next to me on the slow train into London. Like so many others on board I was passing time staring at a tiny screen.

The old man asked, ‘What did you do before you had a mobile phone?’ ‘I stared out of the window, read, sketched, wrote and sometimes talked’ I said, and so, twenty five minutes before reaching Victoria station, our conversation began.

The old man studied American history, ‘Abraham Lincoln forever, and all that,’ he said. Turns out he’s a Packers fan and so we talked of American football, cheese heads, Vikings, Broncos, Seahawks, Raiders and more. ‘I’ve never been to the United States’ the old man told me, and I explained that’s where I was journeying to. ‘I like the sound of Baton Rouge, it has a nice name’, he said. Somewhat surprised I replied ‘that’s where I’m heading.’

We talked about the trip I took to New York City with my late father. I told the old man about the sights we saw and added, ‘we even went to see the ice hockey.’ ‘The Rangers?’ Asked the old man. ‘Indeed’ I said, and we spoke of sport and our separate experiences of listening to US forces radio bouncing crackly live signals from various sports on the medium wave.

With Victoria approaching, and with twenty five minutes passing like twenty five seconds, we shook hands and wished each other well. He continued his journey to the midlands to watch Wolverhampton Wanderers take on Peterborough, and I headed for the airport, to catch my flight to Baton Rouge.

What did you do before you had a mobile phone?

Baton Rouge or Bust!

I had a fantastic time in Louisiana earlier this year. It’s a friendly supportive place and the encouragement I got from people at the Louisiana SHRM conference helped me step out of my comfort zone and have a lot of fun. I knew, even as I boarded the bus from Baton Rouge to spend a couple of days in New Orleans, that I wanted to return.

At the end of July, I spotted a note on Facebook from Neil Morrison which read, ‘2014 I want to do a US HR tour…’. I put two and two together and thought, I should ask Neil if he wants to pitch for the Louisiana 2014 gig with me. Ask I did, and he kindly agreed, and Louisiana accepted our offer. Should you happen to be in the Baton Rouge area April 7th and 8th 2014, we look forward to seeing you.

Here’s a very short extract of how things went last time. If you like bloopers – it’s worth paying attention around 22 seconds in 😉

Have a great weekend