November 19th, 2006

running, bomb tech

A brouhaha, and Link Soup

Have fallen in love with Burt's Bees lip gloss, it being a Frivolous Purchase while at the drug store getting Real Actual Useful Stuff.

pauamma recommended some rules for writing for his friends who are doing NaNo; I must recommend them as well.

While driving home from the Organ Stop Pizza NaNo meetup, I delightedly realized that I no longer doubt my ability to write a full novel on demand. I'm no longer at the "Number Three" point. (For people who don't speak TMBG, that's "I've got two songs in me, and I just wrote the third!")

I wrote up the Incident With the Girl with the Cellphone in the Bathroom for sailor_jim, and I shall include it here, in slightly altered form, as most of you will recognize some repeating characters.
There's an enormous problem with people using their cellphones, to the point of making personal calls from their booths when they're supposed to be on surveys. If one absolutely has to make or take a call, one goes into the break room and does so. One does not do so from, say, the bathroom.

I was in the bathroom minding my own business on Thursday, when a girl walked in, took a seat in the stall next to mine, and dialed someone. She went on at some length about how upset she was about being put on a certain one of our surveys, and itemized the reasons, most of which were her being whiny. I emerged from my stall and washed my hands, then sweetly asked the girl (still on the phone) if she was aware that company regulations forbade being on the cellphone in the bathroom.

The girl protested that she had needed to be in this room in any case. The fellow on the other end of the phone evidently queried what was going on. She began to indignantly related that "some lady" had told her she couldn't be on the phone -- "Technically, I'm a supervisor," I said, with far too much humor in my tone to have actually kept a straight face.

I made a beeline for the shift manager on duty, Stressy College Chick, to query what it was that we were doing to people who were caught on the cellphone in the bathroom these days. She directed me to one of the junior supervisors (with no nickname yet), who was evidently on slacker-duty that day. I advised him of the fact that the next person who stepped out of that room would be the slacker of the week.

Her Highness flounced out, spotted me, and asked "Are you the one who was in the bathroom just now?" in the tone only known to starlets, royalty, and pampered teenage girls.

"Oh!" I said. "You're the one who was in the bathroom just now!" My tone was one of delighted amusement.

And the girl began indignantly relating to the assembly of supervisors that I had been enormously rude to her, and had lectured on and on and on at her, using the stall door between us as a shield!

She declared that she was so upset that she was going to have to go use an extra break card to have a smoke, and attempted to flounce off. The senior supervisor (Reverend Not-So-Nice Supervisor) called her back and gave her a talking-to. She was still not satisfied, but itching to just go off and do her own thing. When he was done talking to her, she attempted to flounce off again -- and by this time, the shift manager had gotten off the phone, had seen the knot of disagreeing people, and collared Her Highness for a quick one-on-one about Not Being On The Cellphone In The Ruddy Bathroom.

My work there was done. I went back to my workstation in the back room to keep working.

I speculate that she was as irate as she was because I'd embarrassed her in front of whoever it was on the phone. I later heard that this same girl had been involved in a brouhaha involving her alleged attempt to "steal the man" of a fellow phone goon. Perhaps the person on the other end of the phone was the "man" in question?
running, bomb tech

cty_therapy ramble turns into a little essay.

Perhaps older gifted students should be told more about the adult stages of mental and emotional development, to encourage them in realizing that they haven't stopped once they leave college, or whatever it is that they're doing. If they have those points of comparison, there's also the room for realization that perhaps they've stopped in one area, but they could sure focus on another area that they're interested in.

The intellectual seems to be the major skill group that gifted teachers focus on; there are a lot of other areas where gifted people can stand to focus. There's intellectual maturity, and there's also social and emotional maturity, general horse-sense, physical well-being (though once one hits a certain stage in physical development, one then starts to compare it backwards with younger ages) in flexibility, endurance, coordination, and presence-in-body as well as muscle tone. There's spiritual development. There are so many different varieties of art to explore, both as an active artist and a (relatively) passive appreciator.

There's also the matter of longer lifespans extending the stages of life. Some people act teenage until they're out of their 20s. I went to writing group with a lady who still has all the personal responsibility of a teenager, and she thinks it's no big deal, because Daddy will take care of it all.

After a while, age stops being quite so much of a factor. There are basic levels in skill that every adult should have (change a baby, change a tire, comfort the grieving, cook a meal, et cetera, ad Heinleinium) but after that it's an open playing field for anyone who has either the natural talent to attain mastery without overmuch teaching, or puts the hard work and study into it. For example, there is cook a basic and nutritious meal, then there's cook it well, cook it better than average, cook it at the quality of a decent restaurant, and cook it like a highly trained chef. Likewise, some people have to have a whole pantry full of possibilities in order to produce a meal, where others can whip up amazing things by improvising from what happens to be on hand, even if what happens to be on hand is pretty sad.

The average adult has basic proficiency in the areas crucial to survival, with some sharpening of the skills here and there, and only has a certain amount of skill points to distribute. An above-average adult has a lot more skill points, whether they're all focused on one area of study (as an example of someone gifted in one general field, Britney Spears spent all her skill points on appearance, musical performance, and celebrity with some social; I've never heard any rumors about her secretly being highly intellectual) or distributed across a lot of fields Renaissance-man style, so while someone may be only modestly successful in a lot of areas, that's still a lot of areas.

Then there's the matter of prodigy vs. hard study. So I may be immensely talented in one area just to start out, and I've polished it until I am comparable with people who have spent all their life studying it, but I've now topped out at what I feel I can attain in that area. OK. What next? Or I may have worked really hard at something I want to do, but I'm not as good as someone who's younger than me -- who may have been marvelously proficient and had a huge natural aptitude for it, and had all the right teachers at all the right time, whereas I did not have that aptitude and worked right hard to get to where I'm at.

Right now I'm boggling over the idea that I may be more socially proficient than Dad. I used to think that Dad was nearly totally smooth at every social move he made. Since spending the past several years honing my social skills at my dead-end job, and running into a recent recording of Dad at a university reunion where he completely flubbed his social roll in an altogether typical way, I've realized that I have a better sense of social harmony and public speaking than Dad does. Ten years ago, I would have brushed it off as "Dad's being embarrassing again". Now I know it's because Dad overthinks what he's about to say a long time before he says it, and cannot speak off-the-cuff about things he considers important, so naturally he may not be able to adapt to a different prevailing mood than the one he is prepared for.


(Context is having a midlife crisis, and/or doesn't know what to do with her vacation.)