Mediating the tortoise and the hare.

Here’s one of the dichotomies of my job:

I work with promoters and agents, who all move rapidly. They need their answers immediately and their money even faster. How quickly can we make this happen?

I also work with volunteer-run arts organizations, who all move slowly. They don’t respond to messages and take every decision to a committee. How long can we string out the process?

I can usually maneuver between the two paces fairly well, but once in a while they collide and leave my head spinning.

This week, for instance, a promoter wanted to book a certain artist on a certain date. That date was being held by the local community theater.

The promoter wanted me to ask if the theater was willing to release the date. Right away.

I left a message for the community theater’s production manager.

In the time it took her to call me back, the promoter called six times. Did I have an answer yet? He needed to send the offer in now or he was going to lose the date. Had they called back? Could I just give him the date without talking to them? Had I heard from them? Could I hurry them up?

When the theater company called back the production manager told me she’d take the request to the production staff. And I was in luck because they have a meeting tomorrow.

She was so excited about my fortuitous timing that I didn’t have the heart to tell her tomorrow wasn’t really soon enough.

At least not soon enough for the promoter.

The whole exchange made me feel like a translator, trying to get two parties who speak entirely different languages to understand each other.

Or a mediator in a dispute between a tortoise and a hare.


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