Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Extremes of Ushering

Sorry I haven't had much to say lately. Apparently being happy and tired doesn't inspire me to blog.


It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. Or, it was the worst of ushering; it was the best of ushering. Or maybe more like, it was the hardest of ushering; it was the easiest of ushering.

I'm tired. I should be copywriting, but I'm tired. I've worked 18 hours of ushering and 4 hours of repetitive, non-creative writing this weekend, and tomorrow the week starts over. I'm takin' a break.

What was I talking about again? Oh yeah. Ushering. Yesterday was the most exhausting ushering event I've ever worked. It was an outdoor event, in lots of sun, with non-stop walking and stair climbing, plus the psychological drain of repeatedly doing the same task over and over, knowing that I'd just have to do it again. We were understaffed; the event was oversold; and the crowd was uncooperative. On a day when I needed assertive ushers with loud voices and lots of confidence, most of my staff were temporary workers, and most of those were timid, young, and physically unimposing. I spent many hours with my skin and my brains cooking in the sun, walking back and forth in an outdoor stadium, clearing stair landings, walkways, and aisles of people. There were ushers at each of those spots whose job it was to keep it clear, but they weren't up to the task. So I'd clear one, remind the usher there to be assertive! but friendly! then move on to the next one, knowing that the spot I just left was already filling up with people again.

There were three supervisors in the stands on that side of the stadium, but apparently the other two got together and voted that I was in charge. One of them handed me the radio. "You don't want it?" I asked. "NO!" she laughed. So it was my name that the radio kept calling, telling me that the fire marshal wanted those areas cleared, telling me to get out there and do something. So I cleared them. And cleared them. And cleared them. And vowed, when I got home, that I would never work that event again.

But when I woke up this morning, and Thumper was bursting with excitement over the Easter Bunny and what he brought, and we three shared a special breakfast, and the sunburn that was so red yesterday had significantly dialed down its intensity, my attitude had improved enough that I was thinking the event had even been sort of fun, in its own way. And I wrote for awhile, then went to work again, this time ushering a free exhibition event. It was also outdoors, but in a shady spot on an overcast day. The work was easy; the crowd was happy. I stood in one spot and welcomed people as they entered; I thanked them for coming and wished them a good evening as they left. I had one usher working for me; she did her job cheerfully. She welcomed people as they entered; she thanked them for coming and wished them a good evening as they left. She never wandered off or complained. And it was so quiet and boring, and the clock ticked so slowly along, that I almost wished for a little excitement, for the radio to call my name, telling me to get out there and do something.


She Said said...

From Greg: "But was Loverboy playing? That would have made the burn totally worth it." :)

I, Rodius said...

No, not Loverboy. A massive, two-day national track meet, with high school, college, and pro. The running, and the jumping, and the throwing of things.

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