Wednesday, June 13, 2007


I spend a lot of my working hours dealing with staff and students who are unnecessarily highly-strung, and among other things, have completely unrealistic expectations of what we can or cannot do, and why we can or cannot. Additionally, an annoying number of these very same people seem to have difficulties in accepting our explanations from such instances, and hold some kind of belief that if only they could whine loud enough, and long enough, and stamp their little feet up and down quick enough, that the situation will change. Unfortunately for these people, the answer can only remain the same. I'm sorry sir, but no, we still cannot 'make it blue'.

I understand the frustration they feel when something that should work, and normally manages to do so without event, doesn't. In fact, I understand it very well indeed, because things often don't work at our end either. Hell, we usually find out several hours after they find out and a zillion complaints reach us. Interestingly, diagnosis of such events tends to take a long time, because despite the now zillion queries awaiting our response & resolution, rarely do any two of these zillion requests have vaguely similar subject matter... despite them all suffering from the exact same problem. What these staff fail to understand, is that by their very nature, they are mostly likely to be the cause of their problem. If - by some major miracle - they are not directly related the problem, chances are that if they'd behaved just a little more rationally throughout the process, that the problem would be resolved about 94% quicker.

Of course, the plus side of this is that their mild communicative retardation keeps me in a job, so I'm more than willing to deal with all that crap. What does wear a little thin though is the outright paranoia that comes with it. Somehow, their own supervisor giving us the wrong date for their accounts or somesuch, so that they lose access when they shouldn't, it turns out to be me - personally - trying to sabotage their efforts to hold an exam and grade their students. Sometimes I even manage to stop them from holding lectures, and when I'm being especially naughty (and breaking into other completely different IT systems), I even stop them from using their email.

Both the solution to this problem, and also the possible cause of it, seem to involve a good deal of marijuana. If the students would just do what students should be doing, either spend all day at the pub getting shitfaced, or spend all day at home smoking cones while playing X-Box, this wouldn't be nearly so much of a problem. Instead, they opt to be all angsty and angry and so very impatient. So impatient, that half their damned requests seem to arrive to us in some sort of unintelligible SMS-Type. I like to let those ones linger awhile before tending to them. But maybe their lecturers - usually stampier & just as irrational if not more - suffer from a overhang of 70's dope-related paranoia. Maybe they spent so much time being lazy ratbag dolebludging spliff-smuggling dropouts that the paranoia stays with them to this very day... none of them have actually asked me for any cookies yet, but I'll bet get hunger-inspiring flashbacks when I mention they should clear them from their browser if they want their web application to work. (See what I did there? Yeah, that's right. Krus would be proud.)

I can relate to their paranoia. Hell, I'm sure we all can. Just a few years ago, in fact, I found myself wandering the streets of Brooklyn under the influence of a brownie or two. I was at a gig, it was Halloween, and I had offered to buy my non-overage compatriots some drinks. With the legal drinking age being 21 over there, I thought this was entirely reasonable, even if it was somewhat illegal. A quick round-up of cash later, I had something like $70 in my pocket, with instructions to buy as much in the way of spirits as I possibly could, with no regard to quality. Feeling fairly pleased with myself, I walked the several blocks to the liquor store, completely chilled out, totally in my element and on top of the world. My confidence was only boosted when upon entering the store, I gave the old guy behind the counter a friendly nod, as he chatted away idly to a few people at the register. I made my purchases, and I left the store.

Despite the very short walk to the store, the walk back seemingly took hours. In my possession, I had: Two large supermarket bags full of very cheap, and extremely nasty bottles of vodka... and a large wad of foil-wrapped brownies, which I was supposed to be delivering to the same group. Everything was fine for the first block of the walk back. But then, I started thinking... What if one of the guys in the liquor store was a cop? Why didn't they ID me? I know I was overage, but only narrowly according to NY State law... Was this some kind of setup? What possible reason other than to ply underage kids with booze would I have to be buying such large quantities of this shit? Maybe they knew about our gig and were expecting this to happen all along? And oh shit... how would they punish me? Would they deport me?

The next block or so was probably the longest of the walk, and pretty much involved the same thought playing over and over in my head. ohfuckohfuckohfuckohfuckohfuck. This thought came to a rather abrupt halt on the next section of the walk, when I began to wonder just how long the guy walking behind me, had in fact been walking behind me. Had he followed me the whole way? Was he tagging-team with a fellow officer of the law? Could I recognise his face from the patrons of the bottle shop? What the fuck am I going to do if they catch me? I started walking faster, walking to the arse end of nowhere and going several blocks past where I was meant to be. Still, the guy followed me. I walked faster still, and rounded a corner. I knew what I had to do. I had to dispose of the evidence. I stopped, and hid behind a dumpster, quickly pulling the brownies out of my jacket. I considered throwing the jacket away, fearful of the giveaway scent that the man behind me could use as 'evidence'. But it was cold, and I (wisely) decided against this option. I hastily unwrapped the brownies and stuffed the entire cakey, chocolatey lump into my mouth, tossed the foil into the dumpster and ran off into the night, and away from the evidence that would surely see me deported from the country I was leaving by choice in just a matter of days. I stopped in a nearby alleyway to catch my breath, with my mouth full of un-chewed brownie that was preventing me from breathing properly. I ate the brownie as quietly as possible, whilst carefully watching the street, and the man now fast approaching the dumpster. He approached and I held my breath, rearranging the brownie-mass in my mouth to a more comfortable shape, not daring to swallow any, in case of a choking accident that might draw attention to myself. The man walked past the dumpster, stopped, and looked directly at me. I thought it was all over. Deported. Finito. No more America. He opened his mouth, and spoke. 'Nice tail.' Wait... what?! And with that, off he walked, turning off to the carpark on his right, presumably to find his car.

And that's pretty much the point where I remembered I was dressed up as a black cat. Ears, tail, face-paint and all. I scurried off to get the booze out of my possession and into the juniors' hands ASAP, before more ridiculousness set in, and spent most of the rest of the night being both wondered and confused as the large quantity of brownies did their thing. Amazingly despite my inebriated state, I managed to film the gig, though it's fair to say that Rat probably helped me a great deal with that little task, for which I thank him immensely.

And really, it just goes to show - If you're paranoid as fuck about something, it's probably because you know full well you've done something naughty in the first place. Don't blame me and hurl abuse about here and there all willy-nilly, when you're the one who only just worked out you can't access your exam notes, the day before your exam, five months into the semester. It's just not cricket.

P.S. - Christ that was long. Sorry about that. Here's hoping it makes up for my recent lack of posting.


rws said...

yay! I possibly caused this particular update to get written!

Anonymous said...

Paranoia is a healthy state of mind. It means you think you matter.

The Rantolotl said...

RWS - You are quite possibly correct.

rws said...

and here's where I'd like to help out with a hilarious tail of paranoia, but I really can't think of any at the moment :|

Kipper said...


Fandango Jones said...

"a hilarious tail of paranoia"

Quick, someone punish him for that!

(see what I did there?)


Rat said...

Good times, good times.

"Hold Hands - Keep Safe" - VicRoads said...

Not unlike a pair of scissors - if you swallow them too fast, they hurt all the way down.

Too slow and you don't reach the desired level of masculinity.

Not even my bath thermometer shaped like a rubber duckie can save us now.

Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.