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I've gained remarkable levels in self-confidence over the past few years. But the weirdest little things bring out my old viewpoints full-force.

I am back in the training room on Snarky Lady's computer, working busily away and pulling old information for the database. A bunch of newbies, flanked by supervisors, file into the room and are seated at the conference table. The supervisor passes out briefing guides and turns on the tape recorder with the briefing tape, then wanders out to see to the job in the bullpen.

The woman speaking on the tape has a high, prissy, affected tone, with a trace of what could either be an accent or a speech impediment, like a child attempting to sound like a grown-up. She stumbles, hesitates, stutters, but plows gamely on with the outdated and sometimes irrelevant information, repeating herself unnecessarily.

Oh yes, no self-loathing in this room. I turn up the volume on my headphones and try to disappear. I feel sicker and sicker as the tape continues, wondering if one of the new hires will mock the voice on the tape in the absence of any visible supervisors.

My self-image in listening to my own recorded voice has improved immeasurably since starting this job.
Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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