Descriptions of a brown room

The entire room is brown and cream.  The walls are brown with cream molding and accents; the carpet is tan with large abstract cream and brown flowers; the rows of uncomfortable chairs are dark brown as well, with circles in various shades of brown and gold patterns woven into the fabric of the cushions.

It is a large room, though not as large as it could be – it is a fragment of a ballroom, but the dividing walls (all brown, of course) are in place and the room, while still able to fit a hundred chairs, does not live up to its sizable potential.

In the front there is a raised platform, with five people all in suits.  They are professional looking, respectable.  Anyone looking in would know that these speakers are important, though they might not recognize the state supreme court justice among them, nor the law school dean in front of the first microphone.

This brown room is not as full as the organizers appear to have expected.  The chairs that are occupied tend to be at the end of each row, with few people filling in the middle seats and actually sitting next to each other.  Most are isolated, alone.  Everyone has some form of electronic device.  There are few laptops, which is good because there are few tables to place them on.  The majority of the scattered audience has tablets and phones instead.  Each person has a tote bag as well, appropriately cream colored.  Oddly, despite the organizers having billed the event as ‘green’ and made much of only providing materials electronically, each tote bag contains a stack of papers, advertisements that will likely be glanced at and discarded, hopefully to a recycling bin, though there are none in sight.  

The audience is a mixed group.  They range in age from perhaps mid-twenties to inestimably old.  There may be more men than women, but it is difficult to count.  The men are mostly wearing button-down shirts and nice pants, though they had been told they could dress casually and jeans would not be out of place.  The women are more informal than the men, but still dressed in clothing that would be suitable for an office, perhaps an office on casual Friday.  The only women in suits are in the front of the room, one on the platform, and another, the one who introduces the speakers, ensconced in the front row.

It is chilly in the room, and more than one person leaves to get a sweater.  Perhaps the cold temperature is intended to invigorate, to make sure that no audience member dozes off during the presentations.  Or perhaps it is cold because the door to the hallway keeps opening, allowing in warmer air that was in turn admitted from the triple digit heat outside the building.  The air-conditioner, silent in the room, must keep everything cool, and must therefore fight the outdoor heat as it enters the halls, and, as a consequence, the areas insulated from that heat must be made even chillier.  

This room could be beautiful.  It is a ballroom, after all.  On other occasions, with different lighting, with dining tables and chairs covered in cloth, with china and silverware and glasses of wine, when the guests are wearing suits and dresses and smiles, then this could be beautiful.  Today, however, it is brown. When the presentations end, the audience will stumble forth from the chill cold room into the noisy hallway, and on to the next event, in another room, which will probably also be brown.


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