Thursday, February 19, 2009

Truth is Stranger than Fiction

Me, looking at Danny over my copy of "Twilight": "Was my love a blazing meteor across your moonless sky?"
Danny, looking simultaneously confused and suspicious: " my pants?................."

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I have never really believed in karma. I have seen too many bad things happen to good people, and too many people who deserve enormous comeuppances who never received them. However, after this last week I definitely believe that, even if karma never seems to catch up with anyone else, it caught up with me.

Frequently people at my agency are required to attend trainings at the organization that oversees our funding and state compliance. These trainings are usually intensely boring, infuriating, or both. At one of the last trainings I had to attend I spent the entire afternoon constructing "Cuppy" an action figure made out of my styrofoam coffee cup and various accoutrements that I gathered from my purse. Did I mention I was sitting in the front row? Other times I have engaged in surrepticious text messaging, 20 minute bathroom breaks, obsessive fidgeting, blank staring out the windows, and a game I call "Stump the trainer". This game has kept me the most entertained of all of my various diversions, and it consists of me asking complicated, obscure, or irritating questions to try to get a rise out of the trainer. I also enjoy arguing with the trainer or other participants, just to see what will happen. My co-workers dread attending trainings with me because I am always the obnoxious person who decides to start leafing through the training manual to find contradictions to what the trainer just said, usually right before we go on our lunch break.

Because of my hatred of trainings, I decided to volunteer to be a trainer. "Obviously I could do a better job than these morons" I thought. "It would be a good experience, and I could bestow my wisdom upon the masses". Unfortunately, when you volunteer you generally have to accept the first training they offer to you, and I got offered the worst one possible- a state mandated assessment, an exercise in redundancy and wasted time that brings out the homicidal ideation in the calmest social worker. It has an incredibly complicated scoring system that is full of exceptions, independent criteria, and more levels and numbers than the federal tax code. And I had to train people on it. Well, myself and a co-worker of mine who is possibly the only person employed at our agency who is more cynical than I am, and worse at hiding it. Did I mention she is terrified of public speaking?

We went to a two day "train the trainers" session in Phoenix, and reviewed the 100+ power point slides ad nauseum. We jokingly discussed doing the training only through interpretative dance or perhaps mime. But as the day drew closer we both became more nauseous. Once the day of the training arrived I began praying that the people in the audience would either fall asleep in the first twenty minutes, or would be so entertained by our incompetance that they would simply laugh hysterically for the entire six hours. Instead, karma sat down in the front seat, got out its styrofoam cup of coffee, its cell phone, and its large shoe to kick me in the ass.

Half the audience was too bored to fall asleep, and was content with staring at me with blank, zombie-esque faces the entire time. I began to be concerned that their eyes were going to dry out if they didn't start blinking more frequently. The other half? They were very, very angry. They were angry that breakfast wasn't served. They were angry that they couldn't take the training manuals home with them. They were angry that the practice vignettes weren't real clients sitting in front of them, available to answer all their irrevelevant questions. They were angry when I corrected them, and they were angry when I didn't know the answer. They were especially angry when it became blatantly clear that neither myself or my partner were able to score the effing assessment correctly, and, in fact, told them how to score it a variety of ways, all incorrect, throughout the training. One woman was so angry she started yelling all her questions at me, then turned deliberately to talk to the person sitting next to her when I tried to answer her questions. She didn't get a training certificate at the end because I finally lunged across her table and ate her whole, like a python consumes a goat.

People came to the training half an hour late, and returned from lunch an hour late. They stood up and wandered around the back of the room. They left for the bathroom with such frequency that I began worrying about the quality of the lemonade that was served with the afternoon cookies. They refused to raise their hands and participate, even when I threatened to make the training last longer. They yelled at my volunteer speaker just for being affiliated with me. And then, just when I didn't think it could get any worse, they turned in their evaluation forms. One person was so infuriated they actually wrote, in red ink, at the end of a long diatriabe enumerating my various incompetancies, "AAAAAA!".

In other words, every single irritating, disrespectful, obnoxious and inconsiderate thing that I have ever done at a training made an appearance that day. It was like staring at a roomful of my flaws personified. Karma, she is not a subtle lady.

Monday, February 2, 2009

25 Things You Probably Already Know About Me Because I Talk Too Much

Blame Tara, she tagged me and I buckle under peer pressure

1. When my mom was pregnant with me her doctor didn't know I was breech, he told her I had really fat knees. It was actually my head.

2. I know how to crochet anything, as long as it is a square or a rectangle

3. I'm a super sensitive person, but I'm also probably the least politically correct person in social work.

4. I have always wanted to be in a musical, but I can't sing and I can't dance

5. I went rock climbing in the Tetons

6. When I was little and playing make believe my name was always Princess Rainbow Brite Tigerlily

7. I wanted to be First Woman President until middle school, and a professional poet until I graduated from college.

8. I started dating my husband when I was 19.

9. I've only had 3 1/2 real boyfriends

10. My face transforms when in front of a camera and I turn into a remarkably ugly stranger. Even my husband says so.

11. I freak out at the idea of doing any kind of math, including addition and subtraction.

12. I have to think carefully before I can tell my left from my right. Sometimes I still get it wrong.

13. I had a double major in creative writing and linguistics in college and wrote poetry about obscure linguistic concepts that no one understood.

14. I have met numerous famous writers, and I hit Robert Creely (former US poet laureate) in the head with a microphone.

15. I hosted an Open Mic night at Club Congress.

16. I am the great-great-great-great niece of the first prime minister of canada.

17. My first pet was a toad named Toadster.

18. I read obsessively, and will read the same thing over and over again if there's nothing else in front of me.

19. I wrote a short story called "Boris Yeltsin and the Chickens of Wisdom" in 4th grade.

20. I knew who Boris Yeltsin was in 4th grade because my parents didn't listen to anything but NPR on the radio.

21. I got into social work because I was a terribly administrative assistant.

22. My dog is sitting next to me and he just farted.

23. My husband proposed to me in front of a statue of Hippocrates.

24. I am either very outgoing or very shy and quiet, there's no in between.

25. I can't seem to keep track of where my body is in space so I'm constantly crashing into doorframes, walls, and other inanimate objects.