You watch those MPs and whatwhat who always veer from one opinion to another yelling about being misquoted despite clear video evidence and you think it’s so easy being them.


Today, I got a first hand lesson in the delicate art of fence-sitting.

Step 1: Find a fence

In my case, the fence was found for me. My dearest boss usually handles all printing press matters, but he had a business trip, so I had to sit in for him. Since it was my first day, he *cough*cough*generously* escorted me right up to the printing press and instructed them what to do. My role was to stand around looking pretty. Except I couldn’t really, because this press belongs to people-from-a-certain-geographical-location, and people-from-that-certain-geographical-location are impartial to *cough*cough*nubian*beauty*

Step 2: Find a vantage point

Sitting on the fence requires that you have a good view of both sides, so that you can lean to the right [one] as appropriate. I found a nice vantage point – a lady in a  bright yellow suit who offered me tea, and kindly told me what she dared not tell my boss  i.e that the designer was not expected for at least another hour.

Step 3: Find something fun to watch

Well, first I went to Mayfair, a sort of mini-mall, to pick a fight with the photographer. Long story. He wasn’t there yet, so I went browsing at Shoprite. Then I checked back with the Printer. Nada.

Then I went to Shoppers for more browsing, mostly in the facial aisle, Veet have a mini-pack? Cute. Ended up buying a CD holder and some cutlery. Back to the Printer. Bilaz.

Then I went hunting for food. Azam mango juice and not-too-good samosas. **As I write, my tummy is hurting. crap!** Back to Printers. Still no designer. I finally accepted the cup of tea.

Step 4: Smile for the camera

The designer finally arrived, and I had to smile all pretty and pretend not to be upset. No, I don’t mind that you kept me waiting three hours. Yes, I know my boss is on a plane somewhere. Of course I understand. You can’t be expected to come in early on Saturday. Who me? Nah, I didn’t have anything better to do. I mean it’s Saturday, right?

Step 5: Play nice

After several more idle hours where I read a rather scary but fascinating book [see me sideways for details] I got the first proofs. All I had to do was skim them and approve, right? Easy.

Not-so-easy. First, they’re in two different colours. i report, they fix. Then, the chapter icons are missing. i report, they fix. Then, the images are blurry. i report they fix…

Aw hell no. You fixed the resolution by killing the backgroud. You can’t be serious. Put back my background. You can’t? Why not? Ati my PDF is hwat?

Step 6: Act blonde

You see, we have a little problem. It’s the doofuses in my office, see, they messed the PDF file. Yes, I can see the mistake is ours, clearly. Entirely our fault. But see, the first proof, that was soooo cool. Can’t you just fix the rest of it like you fixed the first one? Pretty please? I even have my bright yellow t-shirt and my nudey jeans. Oh you will? Thaaaanks! I could almost kiss you right now. Almost.

Step 7: From Blonde to geek in 6 seconds or less

Ok, so what happened here is that you didn’t actually fiiix it, you just printed it from the Indd file? I see. And when you swop to PDF the background comes back? Aha. And you can’t PDF the Indd files yourself? Aaah I see, but if we put they whole thing in Jpeg, then it’ll all be okay. Greaaaaat. Could we do that today? Pretty please? I’ll be soooo grateful **batting non-existent eyelashes**

Step 8: Deal with his boss

He’s called the Pre-press manager. Crap, Management. Of course he wasn’t buying my innocent eye-lash batting tactics. His explanation is simple. Go back to the office, get your people to change it to jpeg, and label each document separately, put it in one file, and come back.

Interlude 1: The pro

In the middle of talking to Management, the owner comes in. He susses out the situation, and while I am yelling and ranting and trying to be smart, hysterical and damselly all at the same time, he speaks softly and calmly, looking all smart and dignified, and gives me the same solution: Go play jpeg.

Except I can’t get mad at him coz he’s so soft and sweet and mature, and he’s got this cool unruffled thing going. The man must be, what, fifty? And he looks great. When I grow up, I want to talk just like that.

Interlude 2: the con

The printers are already closed – I actually have to sneak out through the escape hatch in the basement. So while I have been given cards and phone numbers, I’ve also been advised to leave the CD with the watchman when I get back. Ate ke?!

Step 9: Cover your derriere

I rush back to the office, pretty pissed. Had tried calling the boss to explain, but he’s mteja. So I get to work and explain the saga to our designers, all the while assuming it was their mistake. Oopsie! We open the file and lo and behold … it works fine! So clearly, it’s the Printers that have an issue, though I’m yet to figure out what. Something to do with low resolution printers, according to our people. Except … low resolution printing … on a Mac monitor?

Step 10 : The fence

I now proceed to tippie-toe riiight there on the fence and join the workmates in bashing the printers. Sigh. This goes on for quite a while until I can get my files jpegged. We bash the printers for not jpegging it themselves, and go on and on about how indesign files cannot be meshed 20-in-1 like pirate DVDs [or … say … PDF files?] Boss calls in the midst of the chaos and more bashing ensues.

Step 11 …

Well, I got my jpegged file. It took bashing, pleading, and three calls from the boss. But it’s to late to do anything but blog right now. I guess we shall see what to do on the morrow … since the Printer Guy has said he’ll be up late and I should go by in the morning and … yes … leave the CD with the watchman. Sigh.

Off to watch some TV. Laters!

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12 thoughts on “The art of fence-sitting

  1. Dang. And I thought I had bad days!

    Pet peeve: Client sends me crappy JPG. I ask for a hi-res alternative, and client takes [initial] crappy JPG, pastes it into Photoshop and saves it, then sends it over. What, is Photoshop supposed to magically make it hi-res Hindiot!

    Hope the project worked out alright. Finally got your JPEGs pegged and your PDFs p-straightened out?

    yep. I went back the next day, & the watchie gave me some major ATT, but it all worked out in the end. AND the Pre-press guy from-that-geographical-location even checked me out, so yay!!

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