Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Welcome to Hell! Can I get you a pita?

Last night I went to my official training session for the legal clinic at which I plan to volunteer a few times a month. I should start this off by saying it was a room full of people who really care about people less fortunate than them, and for that, I commend them. It won't, however, keep me from telling you all the utter nightmare that experience was.

I was only able to grab a snack for lunch, so I was looking forward to the catered dinner I was promised, maybe some pizza or just some pre-made sandwiches. I was starved. I show up at 6:25 - five minutes early - and turn out to be the last one there...that should tell you something right away. When I get to the back room where the food is, my stomach rumbles in protest; there's a large, mostly empty, tub of roasted pepper hummus, a bag of pitas that had been sitting open too long, one package of generic wet deli meat, and a bag of "guacamole chips," whatever those are. No drinks. So I take my hard pita smeared in hummus and squeeze myself through the tiny (tiny!) room to the back, where I can eat and listen in peace.

The young, perky woman in charge starts the meeting and immediately informs us she used to be a camp counselor (I cringe inwardly) and she's going to do things a "bit different." Instead of going around the room and saying our name, where we worked, what brought us here - "so boring!" she says - (maybe, but actually relevant! I retort) - we should say our names and, if we could only eat one food for the rest of our lives, what would we eat? I realized at this point I'd poorly positioned myself in a corner without any nearby windows to hurl myself out of.

The following actually happened:

Jane: "Hi, I'm Jane, and I'd eat sweet potatos, not because I like them, but because I read somewhere that sweet potatos have all the nutrients your body needs. Isn't that neat?"
Matt: "My name is Matt, and I'd eat wheat bread."
Jack: "I'm Jack, and I'd eat hummus."
David: "I'm David, and I'd eat salad bar."
Camp Counselor: "Ohh David." (giggles) "That's cheating!"
Patty: "Hi! I'm Patty, and I'd eat spinach!"
Me: "Hey, I'm Heather, and I'd eat cheese enchiladas. Big fat ones."
Anne: "Hi, I'm --"
Me: "With extra cheese. Not that crappy stuff either - extra sharp cheddar."
Anne: "...I'm Anne --"
Me: "And sour cream. And guac! I can't believe I almost forgot the guac. Ha. I mean, if I'm only eating one food for the rest of my life, it's got to come correct."
Anne: (giving me eyes of death) "I'm Anne." Pause. "And I'd eat celery."

--everyone finishes--
Me: (raises hand) "I'm sorry, but I've already forgotten every single person in the room. Was there some point to this whole exercise except making me remember how starving I am right now, and how vegetables are not going to cut it? And you, wheat bread man, I've forgotten your name even harder than the rest of them. I think it was actually beaten out of my head by real information. Frankly, I think you owe us an apology for forcing to us to realize there's someone in this world who'd want to eat only wheat bread for the rest of his life."

Then I hear the words that make me nearly fall over backwards with the force of my eyes rolling back into my head: "Now we're going to roleplay!"


At 10:33 PM, March 07, 2006, Blogger Roonie said...

Oh. My. Gawd.

Those reindeer games just are not cool.

At 12:37 AM, March 08, 2006, Blogger elliott said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7:07 AM, March 08, 2006, Blogger abbot of aberbrothock said...

this title would have been better-" welcome to hell!can i get u some guacamole chips?"

At 8:38 AM, March 08, 2006, Blogger Heather said...

elliott - when do i ever have a point?

At 10:14 AM, March 08, 2006, Blogger Heather said...

oh wait, i had at least one point: Adults should not be forced to play ridiculous games. Is it too much to ask just to sit quietly and get the information i need? i didn't really care about the food, it just added to the whole nightmare of the experience. i didn't even get to the part where this cracked out kid from my 1L section, who we called 'circus pete,' showed up and ended up being my roleplaying partner.

At 10:56 AM, March 08, 2006, Blogger HomeImprovementNinja said...

This is one of your best posts (no offense to the metro gate post).

And I agree, what purpose did that little exercise serve? Odds are you won't be working with the wheat bread guy, and even if you did, the only way that the info he provided would be useful is that now if he says "I'm going for lunch, do you want me to bring you back something", now you would know not to say "just bring me some of what you are having".

At 5:48 PM, March 08, 2006, Anonymous chris81 said...

i think the social anxiety disorder is showing.

At 5:50 PM, March 08, 2006, Blogger Heather said...

it's not so much social anxiety, as it is social antipathy.

At 10:33 PM, March 08, 2006, Blogger Roonie said...

My favorite post is still probably the Metro post (because I believe I might've peed my pants over that one), but this one is damn good. Know why? Because I felt the revulsion at the situation described in this post. I really felt it. My mouth dropped open. I reacted! Either you have one of the most random lives, or you are one brilliant storyteller. I'm guessing it's a mix of both. And I dig.

At 3:50 AM, March 09, 2006, Blogger cg-c said...

Um, I second what everyone else said about loving this post (although I agree with Roonie about the Metro post, also perhaps your diagram of the sun this summer in Palm Desert), but what I really want to know is this: did you make it out alive?

At 10:44 AM, March 09, 2006, Blogger Heather said...

cg-c! you even hypenated your blog name, that's hysterical. between that and the new id photo, i wasn't sure you were the same person!

and i think it's awesome you guys actually have "favorite posts" of mine. i do it for the fans!

At 2:20 PM, March 11, 2006, Anonymous chirashiisgood said...

i think your page blurb should read, "wannabe lawer and photographer..."

i think it's more accurate.


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