Thursday, October 26, 2006
Bring on the Goats, it's Time for the Staff Meeting.
I work three days a week, 12-hour shifts. Which can be endless, but is usually not too bad - most nights, I go home at 5:00, field a couple of phone calls, then change into my jammies (or perhaps the Sweatpants of Disinterest) at 6:45 and wait until 8:00 to call either Curmudgeonly J or Sanctimonious P to let them be either cranky or holier-than-thou, and I'm off the hook for the next 12 hours... or 3 days, depending on the day of the week.

Incidentally, my least favorite time of the day is from about 6:30-6:45, when I am just WAITING for the phone to ring to tell me I have to head out to the hospital. If that call comes in at 6:45:01, I can hand it over to the person on the next shift and incur their wrath but not actually have to leave the comfort of my own couch. But 6:44:59 and earlier, it comes to me, and so that last 15 minutes is a cliffhanger of epic proportions.

And then there's Thursdays. Working three 12-hour days leaves me with 4 hours a week to piece together a 40-hour work week, and Supervisor N has decreed that everyone's extra four hours will at least partially be filled in by a 4-hour staff meeting on Thursday mornings.


Early on, I was sort of cute and optimistic about the job, thinking, "Well, there are at least a thousand clients at the organization and we could conceivably come into contact with any of them or anyone not yet a client, so I can see how we could eat up four hours talking about cases and intervention strategies."

HA HA HA HA HA. Oh, the innocence.

Because we DO fill up those hours, almost every week. But it's not with clinical stuff or, you know, important things. It's filled with Bitching About the System.

See, not only are Perfect J, Curmudgeonly J and Sanctimonious P perfect, curmudgeonly and sanctimonious, they are also Always Right. And they know everything that is wrong about the rest of us, and about the system, and they need to point it out. In agonizing detail. Every single week.

So, last night, I strategized with Willem. I needed a way to learn how to NOT TALK DURING STAFF MEETING, because my input is not welcomed because I am always, always wrong, simply by my newness and by not wanting to do things The Way We've Always Done Them. (I swear to you, if it was a policy that we all hit ourselves on the heads with a baseball bat before going to bathroom, just because someone once swatted a fly, they would all insist on doing it, and if you dared to suggest that it was a little weird, they would drown you in indignant words until you capitulated.)

Our ideas:
1. Show up drunk. Really, really drunk. Like, slurring and falling down. And then deny it.
2. Do spins in the office chair and, at odd moments, get up and try to walk across the room. Giggle a lot.
3. Ask incongruous questions like, "Did I remember to wear underwear today?" "Are those your real teeth?" "What's that smell?" And Willem's personal favorite, "Is my tongue cold?" (He thinks this would only be appropriate to ask of your spouse or your doctor, but I think a case could be made for it in casual conversation.)
4. Test out the solidity and uniformity of the meeting table by systematically moving down it, thunking one's head on top of it and listening to the resonance of the "bonk" noise.

Of course, I wasn't brave enough to do any of it. Maybe someday.