Look Ma, No Hands!

I never had a tricycle when I was a kid, but I always wanted to ride a bike.  For those not Old School like me tricycles were small bicycles with three wheels.     One in front and two in the back.  They were given to little kids so they can learn balance and eventually how to ride a bike safely.

I also didn’t get a bike with training wheels or one of those new fangled kiddie bikes (bicycles scaled down to fit small bodies, legs and feet).

Instead, at the ripe old age of twelve years I got a full sized, adult, girlie bike.  I was told if I wanted to learn how to ride a bike, I had to do it on my own.  This was because neither of my parents knew how to.

So the neighbors stepped in and helped me sit on the bike while they held it.  Once I was safely seated, they would give me the shove off.  After falling dozens of times, I got it.  After all, I was sick of falling and scraping my butt up on the asphalt. . . . .   I’ve been riding bikes ever since.

Likewise in high school it was REQUIRED that I take gym class.  I DETESTED gym back then and sought any excuse to get out of it.  When the opportunity was presented to take swimming instead of sweating, huffing and puffing in the gym with hundreds of my fellow classmates, I grabbed it.

I can just hear my late Mom in her West Indian accent ask: “What possessed you to do that?”  I thought I was being slick, I guess.

Swimming was fine for me, after all, I stuck to dinking around in the shallow pool for a couple of months, while my compatriots advance to the deep pool and diving.  My swimming teacher (who was four foot nothing, Hawaiian, and named “Ms. Ho”) got totally sick of me.

One day Ms. Ho baited me over to the deep end of the pool.  Of course I didn’t see she had it all set up, with lifeguards and floatation devises surrounding.  When I least expected it, she shoved me into to water. I was so outraged the only thing on my mind was to get my hands on her and do serious damage to her.  When I surfaced I fully intended to do so.  However Ms. Ho’s words stopped me cold.  “Nanci, you’re swimming!”

Indeed I was.  To this day, I can swim in deep water without problems.  

When I first got my current job, I first went to the Training Academy.  According to the powers that be, I was learning the foundation upon which my job must be built.  They didn’t say I had to build it with my own hands.  

The first week on the job a Sergeant came in and wanted me to do a particular task.  Unfortunately, I had just graduated from the Academy and I never learned how to do that particular task.  As a matter of fact, I didn’t even know what she was asking for.  

Well, she went into an immediate hissy fit and diatribe, threatening to call down fire from heaven to destroy me.  Thoroughly intimidated, I got on the computer (and not really knowing what I was doing), tried to do what she wanted.  Of course, I screwed up shop.

She went jetting out to the front desk and complained to the desk officer (a crusty old Lieutenant) in charge.   Well, he really gave her an earful.

“I heard her tell you she doesn’t know how to do that!  Instead of harassing her, why didn’t you ask me to do it?”  he bellowed.  Ops. . . . . .

Ever since then I’ve been winging it. I’ve been forced to play with programs and figure out how to use them.  Why?  My workplace has a nasty habit of updating  programs overnight.  So, when you come in the next day, it’s a whole new ballgame.  And of course, there is no training, no warning things have changed, and not even an instruction manual.  

Yes, it’s an woefully unprofessional way to run a workplace.  But, in order to perform my job and in an efficient manner, this is what I must do.  

Gifted you say?  Nope, this is a valuable survival technique that everyone needs.  


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