Monday, October 27, 2008

Weekend in Review

Strange Fruit

Things were going well. My fellow supervisor, who didn't work last week's game, had just commented to me that I must've straightened them all out last week because we didn't have nearly as many drunk students trying to talk us into letting them in without their student IDs this week. And then...

At just about two minutes before kick off, all of our ticket scanners simultaneously went offline. Students can print their tickets at home, and we scan the barcode on them to verify that they haven't been photocopied, photoshopped, or any of the dozen different tricks students use to beat the system. So, no scanners, no scanning; no scanning, no entry. No entry, several hundred enraged drunken students.

I grabbed a bullhorn and told them that the scanners were down, but would be back up shortly. I said that print-at-home ticket holders could walk down to the gates a little further south of us. I told them that holders of "hard tickets," those printed at the box office and not at home, could still enter through our gate.

As I was speaking, the cannon was fired. They fire the cannon at kick off. Suddenly those hundreds of enraged drunken students were acutely aware that they were missing the game. You know, the game between their team, the number one team in the country, and a highly ranked in-conference opponent. They instantly ratcheted up their rage level by a few clicks.

They screamed. They booed. They flipped me off. They came up to me and yelled, with spittle flying, words like "ridiculous," and "outrageous," and "refund." I nodded, I smiled, I apologized, I pretended I was getting a call on my earpiece so I could turn away. I repeated my bullhorn message.

While I was talking, the box office supervisor quietly closed the gate that was closest to me. My first thought when I turned and saw those bars was, "Eek! Don't leave me out here alone!" Apparently, my supervisor partner was standing on the opposite side of our gate and couldn't see me anywhere and couldn't hear me on the bullhorn. He, too, thought he'd been left to the wolves and had his own moment of certainty that he'd be lynched.

But in the end, we moved many to other gates, whose scanners were still working. Whatever the problem was with the wireless network to which our scanners were, and then were not, connected, was quickly fixed, and the entire ordeal lasted only about 10 minutes. But it was an exciting 10 minutes!

On the down side, there was much finger-pointing after the fact, and I was afraid perhaps I hadn't handled it as I should have. On the plus side, my bosses all reassured me I did everything right. The "strange fruit" reference, while entirely inappropriate for me to use in even a slightly humorous context, comes from one of those bosses asking me the next day if I'd had a restless night's sleep dreaming of strange fruit. She had to explain it to me.

Another plus is that I learned a lot about how the scanners work and what to do next time in case of a network failure. And I learned a lot about myself and how I will react in an unexpected situation.

Oh, and the biggest plus: I found a much more efficient way to piss off much larger numbers of drunken students simultaneously, rather than waiting for them each to come through one by one without their IDs.

Smoochy, Smoochy

Saturday was also the 16th Anniversary of Aerie's and Rodius' First Kiss. We were both exhausted from our days, but we still managed to fit in a traditional Kissiversary Margarita. Happy Kissiversary, Honey!

Little Devil

So that was my Saturday. On Sunday, I worked a fun community Halloween event. Student groups volunteer and set up booths with games and candy, and kids and their families come to the event, in costume or not, to "trick or treat" the booths, get their faces painted, explore a real fire truck, visit the haunted house, and more. Aerie took Thumper, and though I didn't get to participate because I was working, she tells me he had a blast running loose among all those kids. He also got to eat two whole mini peppermint patties, which for a kid who doesn't get much in the way of candy or other sugary treats, was quite a big deal.

And on a side note, if there's any doubt about the effect of sugar on children's behavior, I think my son offers, if not empirical evidence, then at least anecdotal: every time he gets a big dose of sugar, he loses his mind. His sleep patterns are disrupted, his eating patterns are disrupted, and his normally sweet, funny nature takes a disturbing turn toward the aggressive, violent, destructive, and just down right bratty. So though Aerie felt like she was getting the stink eye from other parents and from volunteers at the event for denying him any more than those two little patties, she was absolutely right. I wonder how many behavioral problems in schools and elsewhere would be greatly reduced if sugar wasn't so prevalent.

Wow, look. A long blog entry. And it ended all preachy and whatnot. Man, I should really get back to work.

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