Thursday, May 27, 2010

Is this what progress looks like?

You know how I hate staff meetings? In case you don't: I hate staff meetings. It's the same problem I have with potlucks. I have many reasons that feel valid in my head that explain why I don't have them very often but when I say it out loud it feels flat and unjustifiable.

  • They don't pay attention
  • I just end up having to explain the same stuff later one-on-one
  • They want to know so much about things that aren't relevant
  • We waste time getting off topic
  • People turn an informational meeting into a bitch session, but when I offer them time to hear about their complaints, they clam up
  • They're bored and disinterested during meetings
  • They are disengaged and distract each other
  • Understandable? Maybe. A valid reason for not having meetings? Not by a long shot.

    So I got on my big-girl clothes recently and held a meeting. Much like my recent potluck, my attitude going in was better, and I got better results. Huh.

    It was enjoyable. It was very relaxed. Everyone was open and friendly. When I spoke honestly about my own short-comings they were more forgiving than I ever could have hoped for. I didn't hate it. And they didn't hate it either.

    I am continually surprised by how often I am forced to learn this lesson. I know better, yet I seem to find new and creative ways to fail so many times in a row.

    Now all their attitudes were different: they were more helpful toward each other, offering to assist each other with work. They seemed to be in better spirits with one another, and with me.

    Maybe I've turned a corner? Wouldn't that be neat?

    Tuesday, May 25, 2010


    Violence happened. In my office. Not big violence or anything injurious, but violence non-the-less. I am touchy about violence. In any place, but especially in the places where I spend a lot of time, or am responsible for the actions of others.

    I learned today of a physical altercation that occurred between two employees. Actually, it was perpetrated by one against another. One who should know better - both as a human being and as someone in her position.

    Violence. Action taken in anger, against a member of my team. In my workplace. I want to scream, or cry.

    Saturday, May 22, 2010

    Again, with feeling

    Is it too late to set new goals for 2010? I realise the year is half-over now, but even so...

    I want this year to be the year of more, and here's my list of the more that I want:

    • Staff meetings
    • Potlucks at work
    • Blogging
    • Structured writing
    • Exercise (I can hear you laughing)
    • Time with friends and family
    • Outdoor activities
    • Photography (I'm making fair progress here)

    I organised a potluck at work yesterday. I should state here that I love the idea of potlucks and general fun in my office; I enjoy the idea of that togetherness, of promoting the camaraderie among my employees.

    But I really suck at planning and implementation. I fail at socialising. My attempts at generic conversation crash and burn.

    One one hand, I feel that if I did it more often it would be less painful; that I wouldn't be so awkward with them; that the effort wouldn't feel forced and stilted if I just had more practice.

    On the other, I feel so incredibly inept at relating to them that the painful awkwardness that invariably results from those situations poisons my mind against wanting to plan it after each attempt.

    It's a problem, I know. I talk myself out of it. I convince myself that I can't possibly be away from my work for that long, that we all have too much to do.

    Today was different. Maybe I was in a better frame of mind. Maybe I've been hearing rumours around the office that unrest is brewing because I remove myself from them so much, and I've begun to fear open war if I didn't do something. Maybe they were more receptive because it's been a dreadfully long time since the last potluck I organised... last year? Two years ago? Was that even the same job?

    I was talking to The Husband about how hard that type of interaction is for me, how I don't know how to make small talk. He suggested talking about the food. Try a dish, ask the person how they learned of it; is it from an old family recipe? Childhood favourite from their mom, perhaps?

    My head spun. Why would I ask such questions? I don't honestly care. I can't possibly be expected to fake that sort of interest. While it probably seems unfriendly not to make at least some effort at polite inquiry, I find the idea of feigning interest in order to promote small talk to be downright repulsive.

    I grumbled about his idea all morning. What does he know, anyway? He doesn't know those people; he has no idea how to make small talk with them. Harumph.

    And then what happens? I find myself in the kitchen at the office, just me and one of the ladies and she was making meatballs (turns out, balls of ground meat simmered in tomato-based sauce are not as horrifying as they sound) and I tried it out.

    That totally fucking worked. For five minutes we talked about meatballs. And it was fine. The ground didn't swallow me up. God didn't send a lightning bolt sizzling to Earth to fry my ass for faking interest.

    Turns out that Husband knows quite a lot.

    Sunday, May 9, 2010

    Concrete stars

    Originally uploaded by Tehlanna
    I do not recall where I took this photograph. I sort of wish I did, because these stars please me endlessly. They are mixed in with some photos I took in the Pearl a month or so ago, so it must have been there.

    There isn't anything in the photograph to tell me where I was; I don't recall what I was thinking when I took this. When I look at the other pictures I have taken I can feel what I was feeling when I snapped the photo; I can recall how the air smelled and what the lighting was like. I can remember if I was cold, or what the image evoked in my brain.

    I find it odd that I have no memory associated with this picture, yet I find myself so fascinated by these stars. I want to make a tattoo out of them marching across my back, twinkling some untold message.

    For sure addicted

    The excitement I feel during the take-off portion of a plane trip is fairly indescribable for me. I'll try though, because it feels so big that I might burst if I don't share it.

    I remember being a girl, on plane trips with my mom. I was open-mouthed with awe, staring wide-eyed out the window; Mom's nails were digging so deeply into my hand she nearly drew blood. I was filled with a deep joy as the plane raced down the Tarmac; my mom was fighting anxiety that nearly crippled her.

    I have flown many times, and I never get over that rush of adrenaline and excitement: the speed during take-off, watching the city pass below me as we climb, the stomach-churning when the plane hits an air pocket.

    My blood flows faster and I entertain the thought that I could die at any moment. My entire existence is now in the hands of a person I've never seen and probably wouldn't trust if I met him on the street, and I am uncharacteristically thrilled by that.

    Apart from the near-addiction to adrenaline, I am also thrilled at leaving. I will gladly come back, but for now I'm going someplace else. It doesn't matter that I'll be working. It doesn't matter that I'll be alone for half of my trip. My skin starts to itch when I become so drenched in routine, and I've been drenched in routine for a long time.

    If I get a choice regarding when I die I want it to be on a plane, during take-off.

    Are you listening, God? I said takeoff. Not a minute sooner.

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