Showing posts with label observation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label observation. Show all posts

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Can I Help You?



This morning Adam is working in a call center along with some of his coworkers that traveled to North Dakota with him.

I asked him what that would accomplish.

He said, "Sympathy."

I know full well what it's like to call Adam when I need help.  I've done it once or twice or ten thousand times.

I don't know what it will be like for strangers to call him with their complaints/problems.

I'd like to think I've helped prepare him for this experience.

Talking to strangers on the phone reminded me of when we lived in Connecticut.  The customer service in that lovely part of the world ranged from surly to why-are-you-still-here-breathing-my-air?  (Although there are a lot of really kind people that live there too.)  Occasionally I'd need to call BECU, our bank here in the northwest.  It was always a pleasure.

The good people at BECU were always so over-the-top friendly!  They'd surprise me with things like politeness and have-a-nice-days.  I would feel elated for the rest of the day.  I wondered  if I should call every day just for the boost.

Now that we've found our way back to the West Coast and amiable strangers, it all seems more commonplace now.

Except for when I happen to call BYU.

A few years ago I left my cell phone in my dorm room when I went there for Women's Conference.  I called for assistance.  I talked to possibly the most cheerful college student in America.  She eagerly assured me that she'd do everything she could to help.  I told her my brother would come and pick up the phone.  She asked me his name.  I said Ammon Dahl.

I think she squealed.

"Was he a freshman last year?  There was an Ammon in my ward!"

I told her no.  I felt a little disappointed that I had to tell her no though.  She was so happy.

My phone was returned good as new.

Then, the other day I was trying to register for Women's Conference.  I met difficulties.  Because they've changed their system.  I called and spoke to "Abraham".  I could tell from the wholesome tilt of his voice that it was going to be a delight.  He explained to me that according to BYU, I am still Thelma Dahl with my address and phone number from when I graduated from BYU.  He helped me get it straightened out (except my name...he said I'd have to call the records office for that and I had lost interest by that point).  Abraham made me happy though.  He was enthusiastic and competent and obliging all at once.  And he just sounded so good.

So why do those BYU kids sound so cheerful all the time?

Is it the constant scent of fudge in the bookstore?  Is it being on a beautiful campus surrounded by beautiful and talented people?  Or is it the fact that at any time you could rotate in a 360 degree circle and see someone with open scriptures?

I love that place.

I wonder what I sound like on the phone?  What do people hear when they call me?

(besides the clamoring of three children who decide to start plying me with requests the minute a phone is held to my ear)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

There are Two Types of People in the World...

 ...people who read books and people who don't. 


I was reading a magazine article and was encouraged by the author to color coordinate my books...you know, all the red books together, all the blue books together.

Really?

How would I find anything?

To my way of thinking, there are only two ways to organize your books:  alphabetical by author or by genre.  I prefer the latter because I have a lot of different types of books:

picture books (like The Seven Silly Eaters or Good Dog, Carl)

chapter books (like The Chronicles of Narnia series or Diary of a Wimpy Kid)

church books (like scripture manuals or Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith)

my books (like my Jane Austen collection or To Kill a Mockingbird )

Adam's books (like The Political Economy of International Relations or European Intellectual History Since 1789)



I know where to find any of these books (although I have never actively wondered where The Political Economy of International Relations is at any given time).  They have their designated shelf or shelves.

I can't imagine the head-ache of trying to find them if they were color coordinated.

Then I was remembering a picture from a Pottery Barn catalog awhile ago.

These people don't read:




Nor do these people (color coded AND completely inaccessible):

 

(This picture actually makes me feel a little nervous.)


Our similarities bring us to a common ground; our differences allow us to be fascinated by each other.
 Tom Robbins

common ground:  books
ways to keep them:  fascinating?

or just nutty?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Wii Bit Irritating

There were the days when our children were younger and their games weren't that enjoyable.  Mind numbing would describe them better.  Candyland, anyone?  Chutes and Ladders?  Hi-Ho Cherrio?

There's been a shift.  Now instead of boring, they're too hard.

Although entirely too late for our kids, we finally bought a Wii.  They requested games for Christmas:  Mario Kart and Mario Party 8.  On Christmas day, they were so busy with Lego building, the games weren't even opened.  After they were in bed, Adam and I decided to see what Mario Party 8 was all about. 

It's about this-doesn't-make-any-sense-and-I-don't-get-it.

We felt aged.

The colors were bright and flashy, the music was irritating.  Was I in a casino?  Instructions flashed on the screen that we didn't exactly get.  We'd maneuver around only to find we'd made a wrong turn somehow.

Forget it.  We watched a DVD instead which is much less dangerous.

The next morning we told Braeden about it and he gave us a sort of condescending look.  I think he may have actually felt sorry for his poor over-the-hill parents.

Last night the Jorgensen kids were over.  After a brief tutorial where David taught Braeden some basics about his new guitar and tuned it for him, they sat down to play Mario Kart. 

Now I get how to play Mario Kart.  You drive.  And I also know how to drive.  Mostly.

But Mario Kart is out of my skill set.  I always finish 12th.  Which is dead last.  I volley back and forth, crashing into either side.  It takes all my focus and concentration to come in dead last and I usually end up carsick.

These four boys played with ease.  They sat around casually, Wii remotes loosely in hand.  They zipped around the course, talked a little video game trash to each other, told some Chuck Norris jokes.

When the boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris. 
 When Chuck Norris jumps into a lake, he doesn't get wet, the lake gets Chuck Norrised.


Through all of it, they placed in the top four places.

Even when Emma and Freja joined they could hold their own.

Is it the birthright of children born into homes where the internet was as common as refrigeration and indoor plumbing to just naturally get how to play video games?

I wonder.

One of the reasons I even wanted to get a Wii was for the Wii fit.  It sounded great.  I requested one from Adam for Christmas.  Adam and I also tried it out on a recent evening.  I went through the steps of setting it up; endured being weighed.  Then it had me do a test for my balance.  I had to shift my weight from side to side as instructed.  I thought my balance was fine.  Apparently not.  The cheeky little machine asked me if I find myself tripping much when I walk.

I tried to think of a snappy comeback besides, "Oh yeah, well at least I CAN walk."

But I couldn't come up with anything.

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