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Not a good start


Every two years, a new class of home gardeners are trained by the county in an effort to expand the knowledge base of "intelligent" gardening in the area (versus the hocus-pocus, fear-based tactics that could be prevalent if not continuously beaten down (think "intelligent design" and you have hocus-pocus)).

When I was trained, the procedure was to invite several people in the new class to help out in various ways: after class cleanup, sound system and projector setup, instructor help, table and chairs setup and the like. I and two other classmates, my carpool buddies actually, signed up for the sound system and projector setup. The three of us were immediately integrated into the program, meeting all of the teachers and experienced gardeners each week.

This, to me, was integral to my enjoyment of the program. I didn't have to work to meet anyone, I just met them, and everyone knew me. That seems to be a trend in my group activities - everyone knows me, I remember maybe half of everyone else. Happened in high school (a school of 3000+ students), college (okay, only 820 there), and various ultimate leagues (150 or so players).

This class, however, the PTB have decided to coddle the new class, and instead of inviting two or three people from the new class to both learn the sound system and project setup, a chairperson of the A/V committee will lean on the people who have been trained on the A/V equipment to sign up to set up and run the sound system, projector and computer or the video camera. Instead of two people for the systems (recalling that I can and did all three systems by myself just fine, but with lots of grumbling that I was the only one doing the A/V equipment, being unable to get ANYONE to help me, which is a different story that apparently I haven't complained about, er, told), three people were asked to sign up for each class.

As I tend to ignore calls to my phones from numbers I don't recognize, I didn't receive any of the initial can-you-help-these-days calls. I did, however, receive the we-don't-have-anyone-help call, and signed up for about 6 of the 15 classes, despite my huge misgivings about taking away the opportunity from someone in the new class.

Today was the first of those classes.

Somehow I managed to drag my sleepy butt out of bed this morning early enough to both hit the Starbucks for a tasty Signature hot chocolate and make it to the A/V equipment location on time. Yay, me!

On my way up to retrieve the video equipment, I met up with a fellow gardener heading downstairs with the audio equipment. She was good, so I continued up to the office area, opened the equipment cabinet, and discovered the equipment was all gone.

Now, this is another problem I have with the current setup. Does the first person take all of the equipment over to the other building for setup, or does he take only the equipment that he's signed up to manage? After setting up the first part of the equipment, does he setup the rest of the equipment, in case the next person is too late to do so? The whole thing beomes a minor clusterf--k, and I particularly dislike clusterf--ks.

So, after realizing that a fellow gardener has reduced my workload by taking over the equipment I'm responsible for settup up, giving a small thanks, and worrying a little bit aabout whether or not the equipment was actually over in the training class, I closed the cabinet, locked it up, and wandered out of the office (running into a remarkably attractive young county employee in the process - gee, don't I wish I wasn't dressed in a sweatshirt and baggy cords - phooey).

I caught up to the previous gardener who was still struggling with the audio equipment. I mentioned I was doing the video equipment when she noticed I wasn't carrying anything. She commented, no, no, the tripod was still in the cabinet, it was behind the speaker stand, and she left it there. Really? I asked, wondering how much to trust myself versus how much to trust her observations. No, she was sure, it was still there, so I went back up to look.

For those of you in the audience, an easel is not the same as a tripod.

In a huff, I stomped back out of the office, stopping my huff when I ran into the cute county employee, and wandered over to the training building, grumbling the whole way about how much of a cluster this is turning into.

I arrived twenty minutes before class, ready to setup some equipment, to find that everything had been set up. I didn't need to do a single thing, though I did help the fellow gardener with the sound system setup. To my surprise, I didn't need to do the video for the class, either. I find the videoing of the classes the most tedious of the three equipment responsibilities, mostly because you can't just walk away, you have to pay attention to keep the speaker on screen the whole class. That, and you have to balance centering with too much centering - if you move the camera continuously, a viewer of the resulting video invariably becomes seasick.

So, here I was signed up for the video, which I didn't have to do, for a class that I didn't need or want to take, at a time that's too early for me, on a day that's horribly busy for me.

I can't say I'm particularly happy about this outcome.

Though, I do have three hours to catch up on blogging, I guess.


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