Friday, January 20, 2006

Screaming Won't Change Reality

It has been an absolutely crazy couple of days for the volunteer Emergency Response Team here at work. One building had a water main break, my building had an 8-hour power outage that spilled into the workday, we had two calls for suspicious odors, and two medical emergencies. All within 48 hours. I only went to half of these calls, and I am exhausted.

What amazes me most is how people think that arguing, yelling and persisting with the volunteer crew will change the situation at hand. Case in point was the water main break incident.

I was assigned to the evacuation assembly area. Since water was gushing from the break on the second floor, seeping through the ceilings, and pouring onto the electrical equipment and labs on the first floor, an evacuation was necessary. There are obvious safety issues with people being in this environment. As they were supposed to do, employees quickly exited the building when the alarms sounded, many without bringing along their various possessions.

Several people inquired to me as to if they could reenter the building to retrieve their wallets, car keys and laptops. They understandably wanted to go to lunch, work from another building, or work from home. Unfortunately, this was not possible at the time they asked due to the safety issues.

One particular employee was especially insistent. She was the best exercise in patience I have had in a long time.

"Can I go back in to get my car keys and laptop ?"

"I'm sorry, but right now the building is closed. Water is still flowing, and we are working on stopping it and shutting down the power. The building isn't safe right now to enter."

"But I really need to get my stuff !"

"I know this is frustrating, and I'm sorry. But there is a life safety issue right now that we need to take care of."

"That's so stupid ! Why can't I just get my stuff ? I'm nowhere near the water anyway !"

"I'm sorry, the building is closed."

"$)#%)*((*$)!*!*)!*^*-#*!#%*#$*#*^:$ !!!!!"

"The building is closed."

"!+**#$)!*^*-#*!#%*#$!(!#**#$~`?::#$% !!!!!!"

"The building is closed."

Repeat as necessary. Keep even tone to voice. I've done this enough to do it instinctively, but it was still taxing on my energy.

Then of course, another employee mentioned she had some medication that she needed to take at 12:30, long before the situation would be resolved. I referred her to the Incident Commander at the main entrance to the building. Of course, the screaming lady smugly followed her to see if she could get in, too. Whatever. I'm just glad she was no longer in my hair.

Eventually, once the life safety issues were dealt with, we did provide escorts into the powerless building for employees. This happened when it was safe, and not because of the screaming. Imagine that.

I feel bad for the guy whose cube was Ground Zero for the water, and could only salvage some family pictures from all his possessions. He was obviously distraught. Laptops and computers can be replaced; some things cannot. I hope he had copies of the waterlogged pictures.

Seeing this makes the inconvenience of not having your car keys and laptop for 2 hours a little less important.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Public Service Announcement

When your karate instructor asks everyone to please take a drink of water after the warm-up, be prepared for the biggest arse-whooping of your life.

It's been three days. I'm still feeling it.

How Flattering

An article on CNN refers to Nick Lachey as "the about-to-be former Mr. Jessica Simpson."

How flattering. Of all he has done for his career so far, and the only thing he is remembered for is a failed marriage to the world's favorite bimbo.

Of course, people still refer to Keanu Reeves as the air-guitar-playing underachiever from "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure." No matter how many walking, talking machines he blows up, he will always be remembered as the guy who shouted "Excellent !" in the face of the Iron Maiden torture machine.

Maybe Nick will be like Sen. Hillary Clinton, who carved her own path, independent of her former President husband. Maybe he will strike it out on his own. Maybe he will pull through this with his dignity intact.

But that takes brains, creativity, a good support staff and a whole lotta luck.

The jury's still out on Nick. Good luck, man. We're rooting for you over here.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

What Common Breed of Dog Are You ?

So I tend to slobber all over everyone huh ? Hmm... I think I might have to ask my friends about that one. :)

Link: [What Common Breed of Dog Are You ?]

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Full of Life

Chad is one of my oldest friends, someone I refer to as my little brother, ironic considering he is older than I. We have been friends for years, instant friends since that fateful day he belted out belch after towering belch from the outfield, reducing me to a rolling, hysterical mass of laughter. We've been through a lot together, he and I, and have always remained close through it all.

Today, we had this exchange as we were discussing our respective holidays.

[15:51] Chad: :) I've never seen you this happy :D
[15:52] Slinky: really ?
[15:52] Chad: It's been a while
[15:53] Chad: even just chatting here I can tell how full of life you are

How right he is.

I am full of life - my life ! The life I've always wanted to live, but was too afraid to pursue until now.

For the first time ever, I am beginning to like the person I am. I'm building the life I've always dreamed of, with every ounce of energy and determination I can muster. My only limitation is the finite number of hours in a day. There is nothing else holding me back.

As I look back at the year that has passed, I am astounded by the amount of change and growth in such a short time. I barely recognize myself as I was exactly one year ago. But one thing has stayed constant: my passion for life, helping others, my work (both paid and volunteer), my family and friends, and for the pursuit of knowledge, new experiences and new interactions with others.

Happiness cannot be given to you by another person. It must first come within you. Now, for the first time ever, this is true for me.

I begin 2006 with this, that inner confidence and security that comes from one who knows and understands their faults and weaknesses, and yet still believes in themselves. I have no idea what this year will bring, but I am ready for it. I'm ready for the challenges of a college graduate program and full-time work. I'm ready for whatever joys and tragedies are in store for me and those around me. I'm ready to face the world with every ounce of passion and dedication in my heart. I'm ready for true happiness. I'm ready for life.

Bring it on !
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