Friday, August 11, 2006
The Unbearable Weight of Perfection (Or, "No, I Didn't. I'm sorry.")
My job involves a certain amount of client interaction and actual therapeutic skill. It requires a lot more paperwork, telephone contact with insurance companies and hospital admissions offices and so on. Lots and lots... and lots... of room for errors, large and small.

I've been there two months. Clearly I have not yet begun to scratch the surface in the enormous iceberg of potential mistakes that I can make. Know how I know? Because I work with Judi. Judi has worked at this agency for 400 years, and at this particular position for at least 250. She knows everything. She knows everyone. She knows what the right thing to do is in every obscure bizarre one-of-a-kind circumstance, whether it has already happened or whether it is a mere possibility in the endless universe.

And she never, ever makes a mistake. Nor will she. Ever.

The downside is, she's actually a really nice woman. Downside, you ask? Yeah. If she was just nasty and cranky and curmudgeonly (and I'll get to Jack some other time), it would be easier to shrug her off or despise her with impunity. But the thing is, when she's not pointing out the millions of tiny ways in which I could have done something better, we have pleasant chats and I enjoy her company. It's just so hard to be faced with such insurmountable perfection on a daily basis.

Now I know how Willem must feel, living with me. Ha.

I have learned, though. I've learned that when Judi starts a sentence with, "Well, did you...?" the correct response on my part is NOT to try to explain why I did what I did. The correct response is a properly humble, "No, I didn't. I'm sorry."

"Well, did you sign on both pages, with a date on the first page but not on the second?"
"No, I didn't. I'm sorry."

"Well, did you make a copy of the secret third insurnace card that they didn't tell you they even had?"
"No, I didn't. I'm sorry."

"Well, did you clairvoyantly know that a nurse was going to spill her coffee on this intake form and you were going to need to make an extra copy of it before she spilled?"
"No. I didn't. I'm sorry."