Saturday, May 1, 2010
Multi Tasking With A Multi Pass
I'm two weeks into the new job. I've made a huge transition: from a work-at-home, two deadline a day gig to a one hour commute to a job with a random pace and many mini-deadlines.
The first week was hell. I was stunned; rolling out of bed, putting on my power suit and wandering through the halls of this massive organization, meeting scores of people and not remembering any of their names.
Week two was better. I'm starting to make associations, I'm starting to understand how it all works and that's good because that's a major part of my job. I'm almost used to walking in heels again.
The commute isn't bad, either, because I had a plan: I'm going to finally learn to speak other languages well. I can stutter in French and Italian, just a little. But I couldn't be considered bi-lingual by anyone who knows what that really means.
So midway through week one my first CDs for "Spanish for Idiots" or something like that arrived. Every morning the unnamed English-speaking host and Luis, my Spanish speaking guide, teach me new expressions. I learned the days of the week, months of the year, infinitives, and how to say "I want", "I like" and "I'm going to." Put that together with the infinitives and you can say quite a lot.
There's a woman on these CDs too and I hate her. Luis speaks clearly, enunciates, and makes sure every syllable is understandable. Then this woman butts in with her mouth way too close to the microphone and zips through something that I can't understand at all. "How do you say, 'Please help me I'm having a seizure?' the host asks. "Mmmmnphhhhgrrrrabbblppppph!" she says.
Fortunately, she doesn't talk much.
Then there's the adventure of the new computerized toll pass. It's a little plastic box into which the information of how many tolls I've prepaid is programmed. "Convenient!" the state proclaims. "Cheaper, too!"
It comes in a plastic sleeve with a warning that it must be kept in there if you don't want it to be read by the scanners. So that must mean that even though they tell you to stick it to your windshield, the scanner might be able to read it anywhere in the car, right?
Well we had to try, didn't we?
We held it up to the windshield for our first pass through a toll both and voila! We were in.
So for our exit, we tried holding it down lower. Like cup-holder level. It didn't work. And we got a note on the toll machine that said to call the state.
I freaked out. I hadn't had this thing more than half an hour and I already had a violation?
"Don't worry," my guy assured me. "I'll make the calls and handle it. If there's a fine, I'll pay it."
He felt responsible since he'd had the brilliant idea of testing the pass's range.
He called the next day and said he got a harried state worker who was not at all amused by the story, but told us they'd let us slide this time.
"Stick it on the windshield!" he advised.
But now we're wondering. Could it read it through a doughnut held against the windshield? How about a piece of tinfoil? What if you held your hand between the pass and the scanner? Could it read it?
Don't you want to know? Quiero aprender.