Friday, June 04, 2004
The Rules of Unengagement
This week I attended a training session for this activity in which we discussed such controversial exam-related issues as whether or not water bottles are permitted at the candidates’ desks. After a heated 10-minute debate, the consensus was that they may be placed under the chair but that candidates must be advised to consume their water at one of the water stations on the side of the exam area. As you may imagine, Snobby was very impressed with the pomp and circumstance of the whole affair.
I also felt as if I had been shunted back to high school. I sat at the back of the room with Alef Alef as we rolled our eyes as the brownnosers asked questions about apparent contradictions in the training manual (“On page 10 it says that erasers may be placed on the desk yet on page 12 it says they must be placed in a clear plastic bag under the seat” [I am not making this up]. We played hangman in Hebrew and soon it was over.
Now, I have difficulties with rules and regulations. I follow them but, because I tend to overthink things, I believe quite rightly that a reason or motivation can be found for anything. Can it be so irrational to search for these reasons? What's more, I am also unaccustomed to being addressed as if I were a child when I ask question reasoning:
Snobby: Why aren’t candidates allowed to drink their water at their desk? Is it to avoid spilling on the exams?
Head Control Freak: [pointed stare at Snobby for five seconds of silence] Candidates are not permitted to drink water at their desks because candidates are not allowed to drink water at their desk.
Snobby: [feels as tall as the font you’re reading]
Such is the humiliation of the poor. Snobby is slowly growing accustomed to being dealt with as if he had as many cells in his brain as dollars in his bank account. I usually no longer point out that I once held positions of responsibility and had enough money to buy Luxembourg. It just begs the question, “So what happened?” Well, after I burned out and quit my job I decided to make a career change, but haven’t yet found what to. That's what happened. My responsibility, to be sure. I find myself growing increasingly surly and caustic as I struggle to float my ego above constant, grinding worries about money, future, and contributions to humanity. And if I have a brain or a thought or the slightest spark of humanity, the Head Control Freak certainly didn’t care. All she saw was an indolent upstart asking silly questions. Thirty-three and still in high school. This is what I considered as I played some more Hebrew hangman.
But we all make our respective beds.
And on the bright side, I get to spend the entire day tomorrow looking stern and enforcing rules. Rules that I will do my best to explain clearly. The exam writers shouldn’t suffer needlessly because their future bosses are rigid automatons. They’ll suffer enough once they get there.
| | Link