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11/15/2002: Glassy-eyed

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The last week of October and first week of November I spent training the mollusk handlers on the new system. It was interesting, in a frantic, exciting, vaguely stressful sort of way. The past two days, however, have been an exercise in patience and extreme boredom. This is because the past two days have been spent training the mollusks themselves. And the fun is only just beginning, because this particular round of mollusk training continues on for another seven days.

The difference between training mollusks and their handlers is that for the handlers, the training is mandatory. So despite how surly and sullen they might be; despite how big a chip they may carry on their shoulder about having to learn something new, they have no choice, and thus, we trainers can always count on being busy, since we then get to spend four hour blocks with the aforementioned mollusk handlers. The mollusks themselves, however, can choose whether they wish the training or not. It is not required for them to come in and be trained on how to use their brand new….uh….let's call them shell polishers. Despite the fact that their handlers may have strongly urged them to come in, the sad fact of the matter is that few of them want to be bothered. And so on mollusk training days, we trainers are subjected to hours of mind-numbing boredom. While we could probably get away with sorting the paper clips by size and color, or straightening the piles of paper repeatedly, we must maintain a professional atmosphere while we're waiting. Which means no reading, no playing games on our PDA's, no doing anything on laptops. When we actually had mollusks to talk to and work with, it was fine. But there were far too few mollusks to interact with, and thus the majority of each day we spent sitting, with patient smiles on our faces, in the hopes that someone will walk in and ask us to explain the new shell polishing system to them, hand them a brochure, help them locate a shell polishing outlet, or please god even direct them to the bathrooms because at least it's *something!*

I am not good at doing nothing. Every fiber of my being rebels at being forced to sit and do nothing. Even when I am being exceptionally lazy at home, I still have the option of turning on the TV, or reading a book, or working on a sewing project. Heck, even when I was bored to tears at The Company to be Nicknamed Never, I could still go web surfing in a meager attempt to at least *look* like I was doing something productive. But not here.

After two days of this much excitement (ha!), it's no wonder that my brain started spinning off into a million and one wild tangents by this afternoon. I take it as a bad sign that I was so bored that when I went to the bathroom, my brain decided to critique the color choices of the stall walls (deep emerald green) and the moisturizing power of the lotion soap. I even resorted to staring at the little folders of emergency procedures on the wall until my eyes went cross-eyed, trying to figure out exactly why it was that this particular county, along with procedures for what to do in case of fire and earthquake, also had procedures for what to do if faced with a toxic gas cloud. I mean, is there something about central California that I should be concerned about here? Are toxic gas clouds really so prevalent that someone felt the need to write up emergency procedures? And are these clouds you can see, all funny-colored and menacing, or are we talking about the invisible types of toxic gasses, in which case how would you know it was a gas *cloud* and not just some sort of gas leak? And more importantly, do these procedures apply only for clouds of toxic gas outside the building, or inside as well (such as when you have to share cubical space with coworkers with severe intestinal issues).

Luckily the day was over before I resorted to smacking my head repeatedly on the table just to make my brain shut up, and I could make the mad dash (along with everyone else) for my car, where I got to join all the other business travelers in the parking lot that is the 680/80 interchange. Ah, fun times. These are the days.

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