Sep 20

Some people are not destined to be teachers.

My first grade teacher:
“Since you have already learned everything that we are planning on teaching you this year, we would like you to help the class delinquents with their school work.”

“But they are stupid and lazy and they always hit me at recess.”


12 years later….

Student in my French conversation class:
“How do you say table in French?”

“Table. Honestly, it’s the same word in French and English. You’ve asked me 4 times already tonight. If you ask me one more time, I may have to hit you.”

“Geez, chill.”

I am paraphrasing the teacher and student slightly, but the quotes from me are accurate to the best of my recollection. As a result of these very positive teaching experiences, I learned that I do not have a calling for the teaching professions.

Particularly in the first grade, in which I was basically forced to do the school work for 3 boys under penalty of bruised shins and bloody noses. They were not nice boys, and they had no desire to learn anything even in the first grade. They are probably seasoned felons by now. Really.

What I didn’t understand then, and still don’t understand now, is how someone can not be excited about learning new things. Even now, I love taking classes. I love being a student. I love all of the accoutrements of the classroom. I love buying pencils and notebooks. I love going to the bookstore and getting my books. I am an enthusiastic, if not particularly hard working student. I’m an excellent learner of new things, and I like to connect them.

It seems like teaching would be a natural progression, but I have always hated it. I have very unreasonable expectations of what other people are capable of absorbing. I do not like to repeat myself. I do not like being the focus of attention but if the students fail to pay attention I like that even less.

It is a lose-lose proposition all around.

The irony, of course, is that I am good at it. So I do a lot of it. At work, I am the go-to person in spite of my occasionally thorny personality and propensity for profanity. I am the helper and explainer. I am the one who knows everything. The one who bats cleanup. The one who makes sure everyone is doing Ok. The one who does everyone’s work so we can all be done on time.

Which is flattering, and mostly great.

Sometimes, though?

I’d really rather be the one who gets taken care of. The one who get swept off her feet. The one who gets coddled. The one who people check on.

Sometimes it would be nice to have people worried about me a little bit.

But then I kick myself in the ass, wipe my eyes and go back to work.
I may not be a teacher, but I do like to take care of my people…

Sep 19

What not to talk about at work

After a workplace discussion of the movie Kill Bill, and the restful effects of over the top gore and mayhem, I said:

I have often thought that having the top of my head lopped off with a sword with snow falling on my exposed brain like O-ren would be very soothing for a bad migraine. And also visually interesting. It’s a lot more difficult than you might think to talk somebody into lopping the top of your head off, though.

Then I said “and I mean that in a totally work appropriate and professional way!” As we all know, that makes anything you say perfectly acceptable.

I have had some pretty staggeringly inappropriate exchanges with people at work. It’s funny to remember that at one point the State Department seemed like it might be a good fit for someone with my language skills.

Once when I thought my boss was handling a personnel issue badly, I stomped into his office, slammed the door and told him my opinion adding that “It’s really not that fucking hard. He’s being a fucking moron.”

Would I be a better spy or diplomat, do you think?

Thinking about workplace shenanigans and bad language got me thinking of my friend Art. He was far, far worse than I am. Not a day went by without him saying something that would cause an HR employee to explode. He was eternally on HR improvement plans for his various comments.

One day we were yelling profanities at each other from our offices, like you do when your offices are in an area only accessible with a keypad lock. I was relatively new to a certain job function, and he was getting tired of my questions.

I said “you have to answer my questions, motherfucker, you’re the senior tech here” and then got up and stood in the doorway of my office so he could see me, and flipped him off.

He yelled back “shut your piehole, you stupid cunt!” and just behind me, I heard a gasp. Art and I both turned white, and I turned around to see one of the other IT guys standing behind me with his eyes huge. I decided to reassure him:
“Oh, don’t worry Charles, it’s OK. This is how we always talk to each other. It’s part of the Culture of Caring in our company.”

So he laughed and it was OK.

It’s been more of a challenge in the years I have been working at the corporate office. For the first few years, I was in a locked office, so my penchant for foul language couldn’t get me in too much trouble, but a few years ago they remodeled us into a huge cube farm. I have to try not to swear too much or too loudly.

It had taught me to say the most foul things in the softest, most pleasant tone you can imagine.

What I find sort of interesting is how hard it is to offend me in the usual ways. One of the directors once gave me a donut with a Dirty Sanchez face on it. I raised an eyebrow at him and pointed out that in a corporate environment most people would be offended by that, and he might want to reconsider bringing that kind of pastry to work. Not that I was offended, but most of the sane people would be. That kind of thing just makes me shrug. Having someone tell me I have an attractively colored bosom didn’t bother me. It is attractively colored.

What did offend me? Introducing myself on a phone conference as the person in charge of the networking and firewall work on a project and then having someone ask when the “real firewall guy” would be joining the meeting.

Question my competence? We will not be workplace buddies.

Find a copy of Hustler in the bathroom? Yes, it really happened. I leafed through it, shrugged and left it there.

I never did find out who it belonged to…which is a very good thing. There are a few things you do not want to ever know about a co-worker:
–that they don’t wash their hands after they pee.
–that they are so stupid they surf porn on the company internet.


I find it very offensive.

Sep 18

Posts galore

I was looking at my blog stats this morning and noticed this:


500 posts. I knew I had blathered out over 200,000 words, which is a tremendous number, but somehow 500 is a number that actually sort of sinks in. 500 posts since (essentially) mid-July of last year. I am terrible with math, but I think that is around 14,000 words a month.

When I was at the beach in August, I was looking through the guest book and found my name mentioned several times. Everyone commented on how very, very quiet I am. How I never open my mouth. Well, apparently all it takes to make me express myself is to put a keyboard in front of me. I suspect a pencil would have worked as well.

Who knew I had so much to say…

Maybe it’s time to wrap some direction around it.
Maybe it’s best to keep blathering. I enjoy blathering, except when I make myself cry. No, even then.

The thing that is funny is that I haven’t ever been willing to share anything about myself with anyone, and here I am hanging up my emotional laundry for anyone who wanders by.

It’s good for me, I think.

I don’t know.

What do I know?

I do know this: happy birthday to my tall dark and handsomest friend Nok.
You aren’t the tallest of anyone I have ever met.
Or the handsomest (but you are pretty dang tall and handsome!)
But definitely the best combination of all three!

Older posts «

» Newer posts

%d bloggers like this: