Wednesday, March 5, 2014

There is Always More to Learn

Do you know the worst thing about having to go to work on a SNOW DAY, when all the kids get to stay home? That's a rhetorical question. There's not a simple answer. There's a plethora of answers. Here are a few.

There's a surprise meeting of which you were never officially informed.

The meeting is for EVERYONE in the building, meaning that the territorial seating arrangement has been usurped by festival seating.

If you are lucky enough to get your regular seat at the back corner of the room, a new guy working with an old guy sits directly behind you, almost in your hip pocket, on a chair he has pulled from another table, and COUGHS throughout the meeting, coughs so that you can feel his fetid explosive exhalations on your back like a nuclear wind after an atom bomb test.

The first speaker chooses to put his photo display on an easel and stand directly in front of a window so that the snow in the parking lot behind him burns out the retina of any conscientious employee who shows him respect by trying to find his head in that glare and make eye contact.

The person who ends up at your table, sitting directly across from you, is one you are not especially fond of sitting next to at your cafeteria lunch table every day, and sits with legs crossed on a cushy rolly chair, jammed up against the table, shaking a foot, so that any time you try to write, your script looks like the work of a palsied nonagenarian.

After the first meeting, there's a ten-minute break before a second meeting, and then people such as Val who give the important tests in core subjects must stay for yet a THIRD meeting.

I know it's March. But my attitude is still in February. Give me a few weeks, and I'll be loving my job again. But maybe not the meeting part.


  1. You need a better seat, or a hazmat suit.

  2. In my entire life I've never been to a meeting that wasn't a waste of time, including meetings I led.

  3. Yikes. I left a comment, but I think I deleted it instead of "publishing" it, so if my earlier one went through, please delete this one.

    Your cast of characters at meeting should also include:

    * low-talker: this person talks (semi-quietly) during the entire meeting. You try to ignore--you try to shift the low-talker's attention to the business of the no avail.

    * time-keeper: this one jiggles their foot, nonstop in a nervous fashion, while they regularly (and conspicuously) check the clock

    * the doodler: this character spends the whole meeting doodling, providing entertainment for the person on either side of them. Is that a noose? Is that a schoolhouse, engulfed in flames? Is that an industrial-sized blender, full of margaritas? Only the doodler knows...


  4. I prefer to pass nasty notes about the speaker to my neighbor during these time waster meetings.

  5. OMG. I forgot. One more character: Linda, the nasty-note writer. She writes notes, causing the notee to snort out in uncontrollable laughter (and the notee tries--without success--to act like it was a sneeze/choking episode).

    1. Sioux,
      Sometimes, the nasty-note writer is lazy, a hybrid low-talker, and whispers her insults. After the third "WHAT?" has been mouthed, the nasty-low-talker makes it clear: "I SAID, her butt is having lunch." Which makes the kind, gray-haired lady standing in front of you with a wedgie, reading the minutes of the last meeting, funnier than the funniest comedian who ever comeded.

      I'm surprised they don't use the coaches as bouncers at those faculty meetings.

  6. joeh,
    I'll have you know, sir, that I have the best seat in the building! Not that I'm bragging. Seriously. It's at a corner in the back. Nobody should have even been behind me. My seat is a sure thing, like the back row of four in the corner of a multi-plex theater. I can't believe a disease-carrier wedged in behind my seat.

    There you go, spreading joy throughout the world of meeting-attenders, giving us hope that one day we may glean some useful information from out gatherings. NOT.

    So nice you said it twice!

    Indeed, there was a low-talker. I think it was me! The gentle soul on my left, who pulled up a chair at the end of the table, kept asking me to repeat. I was just being considerate of the blinding presenter, you see. Low-talking.

    We had the jiggler, but not the timekeeper. No clock that was readable. There's one with a funky pattern that reminds me of the Union Jack, but to me, it looks like there's no hands on it, which kind of defeats the purpose of a clock.

    Sadly, we were bereft of doodlers. There'll be no Pictionary tournament on our inservice days.

    I used to do that, elsewhere, when I was a young idealist, with like-minded peers, and a had a speaker with clay feet. I'm tamer now, because I bear the speaker no ill will. Or, perhaps, because I'm a short-time with just over two years until release.