Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Musing on a Typical Work Day

I am discovering that I must not really be a people person. I work with people, but they are predominantly family. I know people in our neighborhood and community and church. I have friends, though only two you would call “close.” One is Attrition, but he’s my brother so many people don’t count him on my friend list. He’s really the only person in the world that speaks my language. When we converse it is in a language of music and movie quotes that are barely intelligible to anyone else.

JKP is my closest female friend. She’s in New York—perhaps that’s why we get along so well? She’s wonderful and I enjoy talking to her so much. She’s an awesome mother and a pharmacy school student. She has a ripping sense of humor and we spend a lot of time laughing together and talking about our kids. She’s got a 4-yr-old named Beanstalk, too. He’s growing up so fast!

Other than those two, I find it very difficult and often times exhausting to relate to people face-to-face who are over the age of 12. I even shy away from the telephone. Blogging doesn’t bother me because, as you may have noticed, no one really follows my blog. The singing that I do doesn’t require me to interact with the audience…I get up, sing, and sit down…which doesn’t require me to think of something to say or chat about because I already know the words and when/how to sing them.

I work mostly with computers, though, and we get along just fine.

It’s that freelance talking stuff that gets under my skin.

Yesterday, we (myself, Buddy, and PawPaw—the Scat Family Trio) traveled about an hour-and-a-half away to Houston’s Galleria area to pay a visit to one of our clients. It was a situation where there were multiple sets of data and even more incidents of miscommunication during the last five months and we needed to get everything ironed out. They have the advantage of experience with the software that they asked us to use. I saw it for the first time in February when we first contracted to work with them. They also have the advantage of technical support. So I have to fly blind and experiment a lot to get our desired result. Backtracking and explaining is tedious and obviously some of my steps were unnecessary. How could I have known, though?

I attacked it scientifically and worked my way through all possible scenarios. Yes, some were unnecessary…but you only find that out after the fact. I hope they felt the visit went well. At least I got to view the project through their eyes and I know how to duplicate that scenario here in our offices for further work. They got hung soooooo hung up on the word 'duplicate', so I’m trying to purge it from my vocabulary…recreate or reproduce would just be different words, but perhaps they would sit better in our clients’ ears. Who knows? NEVER again shall anything ever-never-ever be "duplicated" again. I am the lowest peon in the group and I rather like it that way. Leaving my little enclave to explain things is at the top of my list of “Things I Do Not Like to Do!” Add to the problem that I lack the typical software weenie jargon, too. I can used the software, but if you have to use acronyms that are either "cool" or deemed necessary for a learned software weenie, then I shalt be cast out!

Visit went well, I think, but the plan we emerged from the meeting with was incredibly ambiguous. Here I sit ready to go whenever we get the call…but the phone is not ringing. This does not speak well for my people skills.

The other thing that just slayed me the whole day was the intensity Papa poured into all the mundane details. Every detail he saw the whole day.

Buddy was driving. I was riding shotgun due to the fact that I am getting over some mysterious stomach bug and had no desire to revisit previous symptoms. This landed Papa Scat driving while seated firmly in the back seat. We all three know the Galleria area and all the paths to and fro like the backs of our hands having lived and worked there for years. But it is just not in PaPaw Scat’s nature to just let it go and let someone else drive. Every sign, stop sign, traffic sign, exit sign, lane change, traffic light (and corresponding color), left turn, right turn, etc. was announced from the back seat along with instructions on how to observe it. Driving West down one street, in addition to traffic observance, we got a running commentary on the buildings and area…driving East (later) on the same street, we got the same story. And that’s only a small portion of the running commentary he kept up from the back seat.

Buddy tried to laugh quietly to himself (though you could obviously see him grinning and shaking up and down) and I could not help but roll my eyes a time or two. I’m not sure why Papa does that. It could be anything from the need for control to sheer boredom to the inability to enjoy quiet. Nevertheless it still reminds me of that guy in the Billy Crystal/Debra Winger movie Forget Paris that just kept repeating…”You want it? You got it! Toyota.” Over, and over, and over again.

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