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November 19, 2002: Whatever works

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Aside from the sheer boredom of having nothing to do most of the day, there have been a few random interesting moments to alleviate the rest. The mollusks, of course, are always interesting. Some of them come in with little kids cherubic little faces under fuzzy pigtails or wispy mops of hair. Sometimes we play peek-a-boo with the babies while their mothers (always young, sometimes too young) watch the training video or pick up their kits. Sometimes we do our best to distract them when their mothers let them wander the room, carefully preventing them from coloring on walls, shredding papers, or otherwise doing things that they shouldn't be doing.

Sometimes the mollusks insist they already know how to use their new shell polishing kits, but when you ask if they have any questions, the immediate response is "sure. I've got one question. How does this thing work?" Those are always the 'fun' ones, because we must then walk the far-too-thin line between convincing them to stay so we can explain the new system to them at a level they can comprehend, and having them simply grab the pamphlet that you know they'll never actually read and mumble something unintelligible under their breath before they remove themselves and their attitudes from the room. The last ones are the ones we know will show up the day the kits go active, but there's little we can do about it, short of hogtying them to the chairs. And since the state has declared training to be voluntary, the hog tying no matter how well-deserved we might think it to be isn't yet an option.

The other sources of amusement come from the staff, who range in attitude from site to site. In the site last week they were nonexistent for helping with their clients, although a few did trail down to our training rooms to watch the training video. What they would get out of it we're never entirely sure, but if they really want to watch the darn thing who are we to stop them?

At the site we've been at yesterday and today, the mollusk handlers seem to be a bit more involved, willing or otherwise makes no difference to us. Several stood at the door of the training room checking off their own, personal mollusks as they trailed in to go through the training, and it was obvious that they'd taken the time to make sure their clients would show up. Those are the mollusk handlers we like to see. They're prepared for the changes about to take place, and they are doing their best to see that their mollusks are just as prepared.

Then there were the others the ones who would come in as if they knew everything there was to know about the new shell polishing kit system, and yet were invariably always wrong. Our 'favorite' so far has been the Loud Lady, who swoops in and always manages to ask questions during the middle of the training video, take over the question-and-answer session at the end of the training (and consequently give answers that were incorrect), and then steer her clients through the rest of the process doing things like telling them what to use as their secret code and announcing said code to the rest of the room. It has now reached the point where every time we see her coming we all involuntarily cringe. In her defense, it's obvious that she means well, but it usually also means that we are left to hastily pick up the pieces once she swoops out of the room.

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