Posts Tagged ‘middle’
Moving possessions from one house to another is one of my few legitimate loathings, and it’s second only to exercise on my all-time red crayon list of doom. Today, I did it twice.
Maybe it’s because I was lucky enough to live in the same one-story ranch house from birth to high school graduation, but I consider moving a rigorous, hateful ritual. Everyone involved seems to agree on moving day, whatever they say after the fact. I, however, am not afraid to fess up before, during and after moving day.
Even so, I just about always help my friends move. I recommend helping.
Loading up the U-Haul will evoke a one-way trip into the undiscovered country, and Tetris-ing together mattresses, lava lamps and long-forgotten tchotchkes into the cramped trunk of an already bulging sedan will begin more headaches than it cures. You’ll hate every moment, even though you have no tchotchkes here and you’ve never owned a lava lamp — there’s a lot more to hate than the bitter nostalgia of finding a postcard from an ex-girlfriend.
After 12 hours of menial labor, even the most energetic college kids have tired feet and aching backs. By the time you get your cheap mass order of pizza, you’ll have crankiness only salved by a multi-hour soaking bath, and yet, if given the chance, you’ll nap instead.
Help move not for the free pizza, and not because you’re doing your friends a favor to be paid back reciprocally. Do it because the chore is lightened the more workers there are to share it, and the fewer workers there are, the heavier burden there is for the rest. Simple charity, and simple goodwill. There is no catch, and there is no quid pro quo.
The worst-case scenario, easily, is that no jokey banter will lighten the mood when nobody else is there to banter back. I’ve moved alone enough to know that much.
Today, I helped move one household to the far southern boonies of the local valley, and as soon as possible helped move another to the rich town adjacent to my own. I count 12 hours worth of frustrating-itude, split between each friend in need.
That’s a lot of exercise. I do it gladly.
I spent the better part of today helping out a friend of mine organize his new middle school band room, and the bulk of that time was spent organizing music in his library into score order. It’s normally an irredeemably tedious task for one musician, but, like many tedious tasks, it vastly improves with the presence of company.
One of the members of our troupe was his master teacher, and she was full of advice for the new music teacher.
Whenever you want something for your classroom, start your sentences with “Things are going great, but I could do so much more with the kids if I had this trinket.”
Another gem, if you see the cure for cancer growing on the crevices of the walls and windows:
Are you sure that all this room is up to Cal/OSHA standards? I mean, I don’t mind, but I’d hate for you to get into trouble.
If you want a whiteboard:
I don’t mind chalkboards, but so many kids have asthma these days — I’m not sure that keeping one around is too prudent, especially because most band members really need to breathe deeply.
Her rule of thumb:
You don’t have to kiss ass, really. You just have to put things delicately.
If I’m ever again going to even consider teaching full-time, I’ll first have to develop a tolerance, if not a taste, for doubletalk. For the time being, while I find this brand of deception somewhat intriguing, I find it far more disgusting.
That’s one of the realities of the work world.
So I’ve heard. Doesn’t stop it from being disgusting.
Toward the end of the interview I had no business attending, our potential employer asked all of us in the group interview all of the basic questions. What qualifies you; what’s your strength; what’s your weakness. At the end, though, he added a particularly devious question:
Besides yourself, who in this room would you hire?
Twenty-three job candidates in a cramped classroom suddenly became very nervous. Even the lady who had graduated from this correspondence school seemed uncomfortable.
In true group interview form, our interviewer asked for the candidates in the back to go first. I was in the front, and I would be almost the last person to answer the question.
Candidate the First had prepared quickly. After a confident pause, she answered the question by making what seemed to be the obvious choice, choosing Cindy, the graduate of this correspondence school. Most of the rest of the room affirmed that decision. As one put it:
She knows the product.
Cindy was a good choice. Cindy was probably the best choice. However, Cindy was almost certainly the safe choice. Seldom do I make safe choices at job interviews. Blending in is a marvelous apocryphal adaptation of chameleons in the jungle of Madagascar, but it won’t help me get a job. Besides, Cindy looked like she tired of the all of the attention.
Looking toward the back, I saw a man in a blue shirt. He had spoken about having been a listener for years, and how that would help him telemarket to students who had already expressed interest in the program.
He was a wide man with graying hair and Latin features, and his warm smile radiated genuine satisfaction. He looked competent; he looked quiet.
I chose him.
He didn’t have to talk about spin selling, or being a great salesman. He talked about listening. That’s a skill hard for adults to develop if they haven’t already, and if he is that good of a listener, he’d do excellently in sales. He has to match what this school has with what the client wants.
In addition, I think that he’d make an excellent mentor figure to the correspondence school students trying to get restart their life, too. He’d make an excellent father figure, or grandfather figure …
That’s where my 30-second soliloquy stopped, broken by laughter of the interviewers and the other candidates. The wide man in the blue shirt smiled quietly.
Given my defense of my youth earlier that day, I supposed they thought I was trying to undermine his chances of getting hired. I wasn’t trying to make it a dig at his age, though. With age comes awareness, comes respect.
Appearing like a grandfather figure doesn’t make him a bad candidate — it makes him the best candidate. As I began to talk myself through this, I began to believe this, and I never meant to use my opportunity to help out someone else to take someone else out of the running. I don’t know whether the laughter was because they thought I was being a jerk, or whether because they recognized that I didn’t meant to harm the wide man’s chance of getting hired.
Either way, I didn’t get a callback.