Gut Rumbles

April 24, 2008

Memories that hurt

Originally published April 15, 2003

One of the exercises that I participated in today (I volunteered for every goddam thing that came along.) Need a volunteer? YA GOT ONE! I usually don't do that, but I did today. By 1400, when Instructor Kate asked for a volunteer she looked directly at me, and I said "I'll do it!" yet again, the same as I had done all day. Kate thought I was a really gung-ho employee, totally with the program. She's probably going to miss me at the dinner tonight.

Actually, I was hoping to aviod being assigned to a team with my ex-wife.

They did a hostage rescue type operation that I volunteered for, before I knew that I would be the hostage. I was taken outside the ballroom, blindfolded and told to wait a few minutes. I did, and almost fell asleep while waiting, because this happened right after lunch. Darkness, quiet and comfort felt pretty good to me about then.

My reverie was interrupted when strange hands grabbed me and a voice said, "We've come to rescue you. Trust us. Follow me." I followed.

The scenario outside was that I was a VALUED CUSTOMER and everybody had to lead me across a sea of sharks and killer blowfish that were waiting to KILL ME. If I so much as got my feet wet in that imaginary ocean, I was dead and the company lost a customer. There were stepping stones set out and I was supposed to be guided to them in the dark, or else assisted by anyone who could touch me.

I had fun doing that. "Rob! Lift your left foot!" I was told.

"If I lift my left foot blindfolded, I'm going to fall on my sightless Cracker ass," I responded.

"Okay! Just take my hand!" I reached out and somebody grabbed my hand. "Now lift your left foot." I did and somebody grabbed it, steered it, plunked it down and said, "Step all your weight on your left foot and raise your right foot." I did, and somebody guided my right foot to the next stone. They worked me all the way across about 40' of stepping stones like that, with somebody holding my hand and other people moving my feet until I escaped whatever danger I supposedly was in.

I learned after I removed the blindfold that they had to lay out the stones from Point A to Point B, then pick 2' square positions from which they could not move to do this job. If they failed to plan and put me in a position where I did not have CUSTOMER SUPPORT, I was lost. They planned well, and I was saved.

But while everyone in the class had a hand on me in that exercise, I recognized one. She didn't guide my feet. About halfway down the walk, one person turned loose of my hand and another one took it.

Even blindfolded, I knew it was her. Immediately.

She didn't speak, but she didn't have to. I remember the touch of her hand and I know her scent. I almost fell into the "ocean" on purpose. But I didn't, because I was doing work-related activities, and I take my job seriously. It hurt like hell just the same.

I took the next step, went on to the next hand until the drill was done, and cheers were heard all around. Mission accomplished.

I wonder ... did she feel anything at all?

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