Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Talk Thursday: How Many Times... you need to experience it before you learn?

Well, if "it" is sitting next to the table with the screaming baby at Afrah, and then being surprised that there's so darn much screaming, I'd say, uh, quite a few. But then, it's not a big restaurant. It's not like I can haul myself into the other wing and chill out there. Anyway, Mom and Dad always take Budding Opera Singer away, eventually, and I have half an hour or so of relative peace and bouncy Arab pop music before I have to tear out of here. So not the end of the world or anything, just a startly annoyance.

On volunteering for thankless jobs, however, I apparently have a limitless supply of without-clueness. Because I keep doing it. You'll note in my last post that I seem to have this thing for stumbling into leadership positions in my various forays into organizations. Well, this one particular organization to which I belong is no exception. I can't tell you what organization it is because someone I know would then be bound to read this and sue me for libel or something. But, anyway, I have a job in this organization, and in my copious free time I do this job and most of the time nobody has a problem with it.

Once in a while, however, I run into somebody who isn't content with just letting me do my thing. Once in a while, I run into somebody who's so determined to tell me how I should do my thing that he can't see the forest for the trees, can't see the water for the stormy seas. ("One Track Mind" by the Swingers. Look it up on iTunes.) This person--we'll call him Joe Joe (Disclaimer: His name is not Joe Joe.) -- contacted me twice last week, because once wasn't enough for some reason, telling me that not only wasn't I doing my thing properly, I hadn't done it at all. He could tell, he said (interesting that he turned out to be a he; I was positive he was a she, because I figured only a woman could bitch like that; yep, that's me, the sexist pig, talking) because if I'd done my thing properly, his phone would be ringing off the hook, and since it wasn't, it must be my fault. Joe Joe said a lot of other things, too, many of which weren't very nice.

Well. I very calmly responded to Joe Joe (twice) and told him that if he were to go to a certain location, he would see obvious evidence that I had, in fact, done my thing. I couldn't speak as to why his phone wasn't ringing, but, uh, there was my thing. There was no reply. What was more, my cell phone rang some twenty minutes later. Somebody who's kind of sort of a friend of mine from the organization was calling to say that Joe Joe had now contacted him to ask him to contact me and find out why I hadn't done my thing.

Mind you, I'm at work while all this is going on. Trying to do work things. You know, like handle people's lives. Having to talk about this whole ridiculous business while balancing my BlackBerry on my shoulder and typing at the same time is not, I repeat, not my idea of fun. But, again, still being polite, I said, "Miles," (Disclaimer: His name is not Miles.) "Miles, honey, where are you?" He told me. "Can you get to (location)?" I asked. He could. "Miles, what exactly do you see at (location)? Do you perhaps see, oh, maybe, (evidence that I've been doing my thing), or something?"

Silence on the BlackBerry. Then Miles said, "Oh yeah. There it is."

"Yeah. There it is."

"Well." Pause. "That's the first time I've seen it." Another pause. "Maybe you should make it bigger."

"Maybe I should paint it orange, too."

"Well," he hedged, "it would attract more attention."

"Would you tell (Joe Joe) that you saw it?" I asked. "Maybe, I dunno, point it out or something?"


"And I'll paint it orange."

"Make it bigger, too."

Well, I haven't yet gotten around to either making it bigger or painting it orange, but I will. In my copious spare time. But two things are really bothering me about this whole exchange -- no, make that three things. One, it happened several days ago and it's still bothering me. I'm a relaxed, easygoing Buddhist. Things don't tend to bother me to this degree, so I'm not sure what's going on with that. Two, I haven't heard a peep out of Joe Joe. Generally, when somebody takes enough time and energy to lay that much of a diatribe on somebody else (and a mighty diatribe it was), you usually expect them to say something when it turns out they've been getting their way all along. I mean, I'm not naive enough to expect an "Oh, sorry" or anything like that, but is a "Hey, thanks" too much to hope for? Or even an "Oh, okay"?

The final thing that's bothering me is that I'm a frick'n volunteer. I don't get paid for this. One shouldn't rant at one's volunteers if one wants to keep them. Now I'm thinking about whether or not I should quit, which isn't where I wanted to be at this point in the life of my tenure with this organization. Plus, I hate quitting. And it would be un-Buddhist-y.

Guess I haven't learned my lesson yet.


Cele said...

Honey if you paint it in orange, you'll just find out he's color blind along with being male... said one sexist bitch to the other sexist bitch. Don't quit, just point out to him him that volunteers don't get paid to take abuse.

Jen said...

Heh. Good point.