I am very tired, it’s been a hellish week; but, something that happened last week remains with me, so I might as well try to purge it through writing, as I have been itching to do. I am sure I wrote about similar experiences before, but here it goes again.
I am very impatient and the people who speak slowly drive me absolutely nuts. I have a colleague whom I love dearly, and I would probably hang out more with her if her slow talking weren’t so excruciating to me. I hate it when a person takes 30 seconds to complete a sentence whose conclusion I saw coming in second No. 2. I often finish the sentences of slow talkers, in the hopeless attempt that they would get to the point while we are still young. Gaaaaah! My response is visceral and hard to reason away.
I was on a committee, not chairing it, joined by two colleagues. This small committee then reports back to a larger, super-committee if you will, with the findings. The meeting went way overtime because the chair, a painfully meticulous and slow-speaking individual, honestly spent considerably more time on certain aspects of the problem than reasonable, just because the rules say so. I appreciate that sometimes it’s important to dot all your i’s and cross all your t’s, but there are situations where common sense is perfectly acceptable to apply and where we should think why the rules were created in the first place, rather than follow the rules to the letter in a situation to which they clearly don’t apply. For example, let’s say the bylaws say that in order to work at a hair salon you have to have this many years of training at a beauty school, as evidenced by certificates; what we did was the equivalent of discussing ad nauseam why the certificates of a candidate are not what we expected them to be for a hairstyling position, which is really pointless because the job description does not involve cutting hair at all, but rather working at the reception, answering the phone, and sweeping floors.
Even though I had a hard time waiting for the committee chair to express himself while going over the many, MANY, quite unnecessary details, I think the small-committee meeting went well overall. But in the larger meeting I think I might have ended up getting on some people’s nerves. First, there are a number of prim-and-proper slow speakers on the large super-committee and in my university in general; that just seems to be the way and is related to the regional culture (faculty native to the region are very measured in their demeanor and eloquent and speak sloooooowly and drive me absolutely bonkers — SPITITOUTSPITITOUTSPITITOUTALREADY!!!) During the (again) excruciatingly long meeting of the super-committee, I had a harder time restraining my impatience and I ended up cutting in a few times into the slow-speaker’s monologue to clarify, correct, disagree, and generally be a douche (side-effect) but mostly in order to move things along. I don’t think I was coming across as very nice in those meeting, and being that I am female and have been socialized to please, it bothers me that I make people uncomfortable or that they don’t like me; on the other hand, I am felling bored and generally wanting to just burst out of my skin. I seem to have come across as a buldozer of sorts, never a good metaphor for a woman. The thing is, I know I should be quiet and let the meeting run its course and not interfere, but I just cannot stop myself. It’s physically unpleasant sitting there, listening to the slow-paced bloviating; I just want to fast-forward these people, make them get to the point already. Some people really like to listen to themselves, but I just cannot be a willing participant for very long, as I can hear my hair graying, my butt expanding, and my face wrinkling while they are laboring over that perfect spoken sentence, and then another, and another…
As the friend from above said, I don’t have the personality for any kind of administration. I am probably not liked in that committee — or many other places, for that matter, which don’t recognize that I am really a force for good: annoying colleagues with incisive comments and fighting collective time-wasting since 2004.
Being liked mattered more when I was younger. I was also able to tolerate people’s narcissism, disrespect, and generally wasting my time better. With age, I am turning into a curmudgeon. Ah, the little inevitabilities of aging.
But perhaps that’s another aspect of the impostor syndrome: I would like to be respected, liked, and listened to, but it seems the first two aren’t happening. So I at least try to not be bored quite as much.