UK: THE JUST-IN-TIME SPACE TRAVELLER. - One hundred and ten miles per hour is a lot faster than the vast majority of people who have ever lived ever travelled. Even people who had important news, like the result of the battle of Marathon, used pretty wel

by David Morton.
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

One hundred and ten miles per hour is a lot faster than the vast majority of people who have ever lived ever travelled. Even people who had important news, like the result of the battle of Marathon, used pretty well just to jog along.

Of course, it speeded up a bit with horses and trains and things, but by and large over the centuries we kept within the 110 mph limit. And then they invented the company car and the corporate meeting at the Anonymous Hotel on Red Riding Hood Roundabout half-way up the M293.

Now it has to be admitted that even today, even for someone in an executive car, 110mph is really rather too fast. In fact, there's no getting round it - and little chance of overtaking said-same executive car - 110mph is quite simply illegal, as well as being totally loony even for an executive in an executive car in November.

So why does corporate humanity do it? Why do the multitudes of Management Mercedes and Salesmen's Sierras flash past through the fog and the rain and the motorway spray at a steady 90, 100 and 110mph - flashing their lights at the lower breeds outside the Corporate Order - those poor beasts who have had to purchase their own car.

The answer is simple. ln truth, all the excess-speed executives are going to a meeting (quite possibly the same meeting) that is due to start in an hour and is currently 110 miles in distance along the motorway.

ln addition, all these executive drivers know that, at the moment they scare the wits out of you, they are already on time to be five minutes late - in other words nine miles of tarmac short - unless they can challenge the old space-time continuum a little by going into warp factor five.

Of course, Scotty always used to be worried about 'whether the engines could take it' - but no such concerns need trouble the mind of the corporate joy-rider. And so down the corporate foot must boldly go onto the corporate accelerator.

ln fashionable circles, they call it Empowerment - and in November you can quite often see it wrapped around the central reservation, or concertinaed into the back of an equally empowered articulated-lorry driver who was trying to make up time from the delays on the M25.

And what is the point of this meeting that is about to start in the next 55 minutes or 100 miles? Research carried out by Backbite reveals that the vast majority of the UK's most mindless Mercedes and Ford drivers are converging onto meetings which will consist of little more urgent than the lengthy repetition of bumper-to-bumper platitudes which most of the executives could have recited in their baths that very morning - going at zero miles per hour and splashing, at most, an innocent yellow duck. For example, all of the 110-mph managers will be told - should they reach their destination in one piece - that they must ever strive further to increase their understanding of their customers' needs; that they must improve the quality of the goods and services which they deliver; that they must nurture the initiative and enterprise of their fellow-workers; and that they must obey the law of the land, respect the environment and be a good corporate neighbour.

and somewhere along the line they will also be told that they must increase their sales by 20% and decrease their costs by 15% if they want to speed to next year's meeting in a company car.

Then, filled with the glory of the corporate good, they will belt away in the November darkness at vast speed and on wet roads to bring this unexpected news to their kith and kin.

Meanwhile, it must be confessed that 110mph is far too dangerous - not to say too slow - for the true senior executive. The true senior executive, who is almost (but never quite) late for a stack of meetings, must now board a flight. It will be Concorde for preference, and with a well-calculated following wind, he'll be on time to deliver to a set of senior executives - who even now are boarding other flights - a whole bootload of platitudes that most of them could have recited that morning in their Jacuzzi.

And, who knows, in 10 years' time they'll probably be able to be 'beamed down' immediately from one elevated meeting to the next by some Spaceship Enterprise-type transporter.

And shortly after that - or do I mean before? - we'll have time travel, so that even the Sierra mob can get to those meetings that they are already late for without putting their foot down.

And by then - you never know - somebody might have invented a meeting worth being early for.

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