Wednesday, December 15, 2010

No fun

It's really no fun not to be liked. Or at least to be targeted. That's what happened at the meeting yesterday. I was the recipient of political grandstanding masquerading as questions. I was tossed around on a sea of complaints that I couldn't answer and they just wouldn't stop. It was exhausting.

I keep telling myself (and a few others), that my saving grace is my absolute honesty. I am comically incapable of lying. I can tell white lies to spare people's feelings, but that's about it. If someone says, "Why is the agenda like this? It makes no sense." I can't stand in front of 100 people and try and explain it away. Instead I say, "I agree. The agenda doesn't make sense. It's not my agenda and I would have done it differently." But, you know, just go ahead and spend your time on this useless exercise instead of talking about the thing you traveled hundreds of miles to discuss. Stop complaining because we know better than you what you should be doing. Paternalistic, much?

What could I do? Stand there and say, "I'm on your side! Let's rebel and re-do the agenda right now!" I didn't do that. I still work for the government. It was insanely awkward.

Hopefully today will be better. The venting will be over and we can actually get some good work done. I really need the input of this group on the study. Having this meeting at all is highly unusual and not part of the normal outreach for a study. We're right do it, we need to do it, but we didn't set the agenda right and we're paying for it. Yesterday, I paid for it. Because I haven't been more forceful, more insistent that we change the approach, I paid the price for the person who did set the agenda. He wasn't there and they had to voice their complaints to someone. Unfortunately, that was me. The problem is that the man in charge is a rung or two up the hierarchy from me and he doesn't take well to confrontation. I am going to have to get someone to intercede before the next meeting because I do not want to go through that again.

I also have to tell you about the place we're staying—a high rise casino in Sparks, Nevada. It's the saddest casino in the world. Hardly anyone is in the place. The gambling areas are practically deserted with maybe one person for every ten machines. No one is playing at the one craps table, though two croupiers stand at the ready. The roulette tables are all shut down. A few people are playing 21 and if a game is on, 20 or 30 people are watching in the sports book on the lower level. There are few windows and lots of mirrors. A poppy eighties sound track plays in the background (it's not terrible) and smoke lingers everywhere, causing my eyes to water. Near our meeting rooms, I found an "arcade hall." A wonder of skee ball, air hocky, pinball, car racing games and DDR (Dance Dance Revolution). I've seen maybe 10 people in the arcade. Last night, I went up there after dinner, around 8pm, and played the skate board game (then a skiing game and pinball). I was the only person in the place. It's beyond depressing.

I am not a gambler, but last night, I put a total of six dollars in a slot machine. I walked away with eleven. I pocketed most of it but spent two playing the arcade games. If I were smart, I would have planned to stay over and go skiing this weekend, though a solo ski weekend is sad in a different way. Instead, I have to go home on Thursday since I HAVE to be in the office on Friday. Next week, almost no one will be in the office and I'm looking forward to some quiet time.

Grateful for: not taking it personally.

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