Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ode to My Stupidity

So, you ever have one of those days where you think, “I’m college educated, independent, a confident, able woman (or man) who owns my own home, runs a business, does things well, so why am I suddenly so dumb?” Well, that’s been my life for the last two weeks. Now I know I am hard on myself and that I am currently working with a vertical learning curve, but really, I’ve been making the kind of errors that, were I not so resilient would land me on the Darwin awards. Fact is, I’m lucky ‘cause I’m cute. Adorable, really. I don’t say that in arrogance, trust me, if I was arrogant, I’d think I was beautiful and we all know how I feel about that one. But the fact is, when I make a dumb mistake, I at least make a funny, big, glaringly dumb mistake that generally doesn’t hurt anyone or get anyone (myself included) fired. So now I’m in training and feeling very ill at ease and off balance because I just seem to be learning and sometimes I hit my saturation point where I just can’t take in any more information or for that matter, think apparently. Thus, dumb mistakes; and the other day I made a doozie. So I’m in the mess, not literally, it’s the name of the kitchen service on the ship, but don’t worry, the mess is coming. I am overwhelmed a bit from all the safety training that I am in, and a little freaked at my new level of responsibility for the lives and welfare of our guests because really, I’m an entertainer not a hero. But I’m doing my best to memorize the ship, the rules, the endless acronyms, the exits, the stats and on and on. And I am hitting saturation. So I take a break and head down to the mess to get myself a hot chocolate. I turn on the water, fill my cup and let go of the lever. Nothing happens. The water keeps coming. I burn my hand and water begins to splash over the side of the cup. I panic. Visions of the coffee machine flooding the decks race through my mind. The ensuing fire from where the water makes contact with some sort of flammable liquid they haven’t yet covered in HR but I know it is on board somewhere. Where are the fire extinguishers? Which ones would I use? Water, no that’s not right. CO2? Wait, what was the other? Oh, god, what to do? By now the coffee machine catch is half full. Time is running out. I need to act. I need to do something. I need…to get…help!!

“Help, I need help!” I go dashing into the kitchen begging for assistance from anyone in earshot. Rudolpho, working the return tray line, comes to my aid. I can’t verbalize what is happening but instead begin a series of unintelligible utterances and wild gesticulations as he follows me across the hall into the room where awaits my nemesis, seething with the growing pool of searing hot water.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know what to do. It won’t shut off. I flipped the lever and it won’t shut off.”

Calmly, confidently Rudolpho assesses the situation, unabashedly approaches the demon…and hits the button marked STOP. Wow. I am dumbfounded. Rudolpho turns to me and before I can speak, grins and says, “Don’t worry, we were all new once.” Utter grace. He has me sit for a moment to collect myself and then, chagrinned, I exit shyly. But ever since, whenever I come into the mess, I share a private smile with Rudolpho who still cannot quite keep from giggling at my sight. And now, I have a friend.

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