Warmer Weather, Longer Days

Yesterday? Was a very long day.

I had to present make-up training for the people who missed it the first time around. I did a good enough job that they asked me to do the make-ups for everyone in the city who missed it the first time. We’re talking nearly a hundred people. That’s a lot for a training session. They decided to break it into two smaller groups at 90 minutes each. So I have 90 minutes to present what was originally almost three hours. On a topic that nobody trained ME on; they just gave me the book and said "go teach this stuff."

God DAMN but I’d be good at this if it were my job. At least, somebody thinks so.

So the morning started with two minor disasters. First, I couldn’t find the memory stick on which I’d saved the PowerPoint presentation. With no presentation, I’ve got a white screen and not much else. Suddenly it occurred to me that I’d emailed it to my boss and that the document would still be in my Outlook "sent" box. That’s the good news. The bad news is, that also means that it’s on the City server so in order to get it, I have to use a dial-up connection to access the city server (since I’m still at home) and download this file that’s over 2MB. At a 26Kbps connection. It took nearly a half hour to get it done. (Basically it has to download twice. Just trust me on this one.) And away I go, to the training location.

The school I have to go to is pretty carefully hidden. What’s more, the building in which it’s located was originally a much larger high school. What the city has done is break it into smaller schools within the same space. So School A has this part of the building, School B has that part and so on. And Schools A, B, C and D are all separated from one another via locked doors and gates, etc.

Naturally, I park on what turns out to be the polar opposite of the building from where I need to be. I walked into the 8:30 training session at 8:25. For all that, we actually got our crap together (there was a minor electrical issue) and were up and running by 8:45, which is pretty typical even when everything’s in place on time. (There are always people who arrive late. This city has a pretty casual relationship with the clock, lemme tell ya.)

The sessions went well, overall. The middle- and high school people gave me the usual raft of crap about things because they think that anything that comes out of my mouth can’t apply to their situation, but for the most part I held them off, had relevant answers and got generally good reviews. At least, they wrote mostly nice things on the satisfaction surveys and that’s what (literally) counts.

Afterwards I ran back to my School of the Day but it was already 1:00 by then. I still had to finish putting together some paperwork for my boss so that I could deliver it to his house in Pikesville. Then I’d be free…free as a bird until 7:00, when my Bookcrossing.com Meetup group hooks up for its monthly meeting. Great, except that there was a short stack of stuff that needed to be taken care of NOW, dammit. So I didn’t even get started on the paperwork packet until after 3.

6:00 and I’m knocking on the boss’ door (I got a little lost). Now I have less than an hour to get to the Meetup (where I’m supposed to be running the meeting), from Pikesville to Columbia. If you’re not local, trust me; it’s not walking distance. And the first thing I have to do is find out how to get to the Beltway from where I am. I know it’s around here somewhere…at least I’m smart enough to ask for directions before I get out of the neighborhood.

Zipping down I-695 and then I-95. I’m tired, I’m hoarse, I’m hungry, I kind of stink (it was hot in the room we’d used for training!), my hair is a wreck. Yeah, I’d be a total babe magnet if only everything about me were different. I actually manage to get into the immediate area of the Meetup at 6:45. I duck into the nearby Target and buy a hairbrush, some cotton and astringent so I can clean myself up a little bit anyway. Then into the Borders and straight into the Men’s Room before anyone spots me coming in.

I emerge from the porcelain chrysalis, a beautiful butterfly. Or, presentable at least.

The Meetup went well, about our usual two hours, but by 9:15 or so I was just plain starving. I don’t care if it’s late; I’m getting food and an adult beverage. One of the members has family in the area; she volunteered to help me find a decent place and this way I wouldn’t have to eat alone. I felt bad that, with all the running around I didn’t bring any books to exchange but it didn’t stop me from leaving with two. One is by Oliver Sacks. He’s a fascinating neurologist who’s written about several of the patients and their unusual medical conditions he’s come across. The book I got is called The Island of the Colorblind and looks terribly interesting. The other is one from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. I get the feeling that you either really dig this series or you don’t. So far I’m kind of meh. Therefore I’m not linking it. Take that! In your face, Pratchett!

Columbia, Maryland is a planned community. It’s planned all the way down to the smallest detail. And one of the details, apparently, is that there are no independent businesses. Every store is a chain. I’m sure it works in general and it’s a nice-ish place to live, but it feels soul-less. One of the oddest things about Columbia is the names of the streets. "Sicklebar Way" or "Satan Wood Drive" are typical names around there. Go look it up. OK, "Satan Wood Drive" came about because of a typo, but the fact is, nobody really blinked for literally years because it’s such a Columbia, MD kind of name. They fixed it a couple of weeks ago, after nearly 30 years.

So I had a pleasant, if late, dinner at the Don Pablo’s across the parking lot. We were going to hit the Lone Star Cafe but we couldn’t figure out how to get there from where we were (and we did try; we just wound up back where we started each time). The only thing that sucked about it was that the bar closed early because it was midweek and we only had one beer each. But if that’s the worst complaint you’ve got about going somewhere with someone, then what the hell; I’ll take it.