The Only Other Option Is Hedwig

, , , , | Right | January 9, 2018

(I am running a very popular gardening program for my community. At the onset of the program, I ask each participant for their contact information, that I might send them updates about important dates and workshops. This phone call takes place about a month after the program starts for the season.)

Participant: “Hey, [My Name]. I just wanted to know what’s going on with the program. I haven’t gotten any updates from you in a while.”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry. Didn’t you get my email?”

Participant: “I never check my email. I only have one so I can get free things from companies.”

Me: “Oh. Okay. Well, let me see; is this address correct? I should have sent you two flyers by now.”

Participant: “I’m sure it’s in my car somewhere. I just throw everything that’s not a bill onto the front seat of my car and deal with it later.”

Me: “Well, I did try to call you last week.”

Participant: “I don’t answer calls from phone numbers I don’t recognize, and I know I wouldn’t recognize yours.”

Me: *getting frustrated* “I think we’re left with carrier pigeon.”

Participant: “What?”

Me: “What other means of communication would you suggest? I’ve listed everything I can think of.”

Participant: “Hmmm… Maybe shoot me a text. But not before or after work. You know I live in an area that doesn’t have reception!”

(Her daughter eventually came to the office for a different reason. I sent her home with about five important papers to take to her mom. I’m sure she’ll never see them!)

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Getting Bigger Each Time

| Working | May 19, 2017

(I work at a kind of back-to-work rehabilitation place sponsored by the government. We mostly do odd jobs other companies don’t want to do and pay us to do. Most people are interns who have gone long without a job. This makes us get a few oddballs. Our department holds weekly meetings for feedback and small talk. The day before we had a small misunderstanding that stirred up a lot of voices. The new guy had left the room in a hurry and we thought nothing more of it. When the meeting is nearly done the new guy comes in late, as usual. We naturally turn to him and want to talk about yesterday’s event. Note that while I call him New Guy, he’s been with us for half a year, but is our most recent recruit, and has had a few odd moments before this.)

Team Leader: “Hello! Good you are here. About yesterday when you wanted a break. [Worker #1] had already worked that spot for most of the day already, that’s why we told you to swap with [Worker #2] instead.”

New Guy: “I don’t wanna talk about it.”

Team Leader: “Okay, but I think it’s important we are all on the same page.”

New Guy: “I don’t wanna talk about it! Don’t make it a big thing!”

Team Leader: “It wasn’t a big thing really. I just…”

New Guy: *talking louder* “I said I don’t want to make it a big thing! They said at [Previous Workplace] I was bad at taking criticism and I don’t want to make this a big thing!”

Team Leader: “It is not a big thing. I just want us all to understand each other.”

New Guy: *starting to get visibly angry and waving his hands around* “Why are you making this a big thing?! I didn’t want this to become a big thing! I was in a good mood when I woke up today and now you have ruined my good mood! I was looking forward to work today, and now you have ruined my good mood!”

Team Leader: “Please calm down. To talk about things such as these are why we started holding these meetings. I need to make sure we all understood what happened.”

New Guy: *still getting angrier* “I SAID I DIDN’T WANT TO MAKE A BIG THING! YOU ARE MAKING THIS A BIG THING! I WILL NOT TAKE IT! I QUIT!”

(The new guy storms out and everyone sits dumbfounded.)

Worker #3: “But… then why did he make it a big thing all by himself?”

(We still wonder to this day.)

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This Is The Story You’ve Been Looking For

| Related | January 9, 2017

(I’m sitting next to a small family in a workshop. There’s a little girl that keeps asking her dad to tell her stories. He obliges, telling stories that become increasingly more and more far-fetched, and he is clearly struggling to think of new ideas. Eventually he comes up with this gem:)

Father: “Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a princess.”

Daughter: “What was her name?”

Father: “Leia. And she had a twin brother named Luke. And they had two bots named R2D2 and C3PO.”

Daughter: *jumping up and down* “R2D2! R2D2!”

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