Apparently being the silent brooding type can only carry you so far. At some point someone will invent a piece of technology that will stick it right in your shorts and cause you to interact with, dare I say it, people.
Yeah, not my strong suit really. I know I know, hard to believe. But it’s true. People – I’m just not a big fan of em. Which is strange because I can’t remember life without my two little people. Nor would I want to. But when my five year old runs through the room acting like, as he describes, a long tooth dinosaur and my two year old girl turns to me and says, “Frank’s a chooch.” Well, kinda hard not to like that.
Anyway, as schools ramp up their security efforts and my involvement in a certain elementary school increases, interaction is bound to occur. Case in point: Frank’s school just went from a sign in sheet to a computerized deal to ID yourself so you can freely roam the hallways.
The sheet was fine, it was good. You come in, put your name on the little tag, sign the book, take your tag and you’re off to the races. No people, just me and the pencil. It was clean, simple and most of all self explanatory. Now the sheet has been retired, the pencil… well, sent to wherever pencils go when they are no longer useful.
While we’re talking pencils, did you know NASA, in the early days of the space race with the Soviets, spent thousands of dollars developing a pen that could write in zero gravity. When the US and Russia finally did a joint space mission the geniuses at NASA asked the Cosmonauts how they solved the pen in zero G issue. The Cosmonaut’s response, “We used pencils.”
So my pencil is gone, replaced with a touch screen. Now I’m not saying the computer system isn’t as good as the pencil and sign in sheet. In fact it’s obviously better. But the first time I ever signed in with the sheet I needed no help. Not so with Mr Fancy Touch Screen.
As I walk in to the office I see this tiny little computer screen, probably a 15 incher. I say small because it’s dwarfed by my giant 26 inch Apple screen at home. The reason for this will become obvious. So already I can’t see the thing but I press on. Two screens into it the thing asks who I’m going to visit. I pick my son’s first initial as it can’t find him. I use his full first name. Can’t find him. Entire name, same deal. Well crap I’ve been using Frank. I repeat the cycle with his given name. Still no joy in Mudville and my patience is rapidly diminishing.
Enter the people. You have to type who you are coming to see. Now I feel like I have the upper smug ground. Yes, I’m aware. But it says it can’t find him. And yeah, that came out like Smuggy McSmugerton. So the woman, who is only trying to help, starts rattling off male names with a Mr in front.
My idiotic stare indicated to her I may be under the influence of a mild but debilitating concussion. Which teacher are you coming to see? I say I’m not coming to see a teacher, but my son who is in kindergarten. Who’s his teacher? Mrs Givens I say. Well you have to type that hun. Be helpful if the machine said that, hoping I thought that and didn’t say it out loud.
Turns out it would be even more helpful if I had brought my reading glasses. Not only does it say that on the first screen, by the third screen I apparently had taken several pictures of myself; mostly from the chin down. Now I know what that green square is for. And the helpful lady now knows that I know what the green square is for. I miss you people-less pencil and sheet.
Once I actually got through the process, my four free chin-mug shots printed out, thus declaring for all standing near that I was an imbecile. Needless to say I was not the impressive figure I normally put forth in public.
Thank god I had my wallet with me. I usually leave it in the car for quick trips into a joint where I don’t need money. Needed my license cause the freaking thing scanned the bar code on the back. Then it took another picture. But this time I had the help of the two people behind the desk and the two moms waiting patiently behind me. And they were, trust me. The fifth shot was the charm as it managed to catch my eyes in the frame. So I had my name badge and I was rollin.
Unlike the sheet, you can’t just leave when you’re done. No sir. I had to go back and face my nemesis to sign out. This was just a matter of scanning my brand new name tag. No buttons, no people. I’ve worked on military bases that were easier to access than this joint. Such is life I guess.
As with anything repetition breeds success and cockiness. Now I stride confidently to the terminal, reading glasses affixed, and take amazing ID photos of myself while scoffing at the newbies with pictures of their left ear. Still not as fast as the old sign in sheet, but way cooler now that I know what I’m doing and I remember to bring my wallet and reading glasses.
Once again it’s becomes painfully obvious that I’m the one getting schooled in this place, not Frank.
Hope they put me in the yearbook.