Friday, April 26, 2013

Really? Did that just happen?

If you're looking for a happy, touchy-feely, good times post, you'd do yourself a favor and find a different blog to check out. Still interested?

Part of my job requires me to be a Notary Public. For some reason I had not been able to get my North Carolina Notary since moving down here, but last month my boss asked me to follow through on that. The process is a little more complicated here than in Ohio, including a day-long class at a local community college. Today was the day I took the class.

Before I start complaining, let me say it has to be difficult to facilitate a class as boring as Notary Public. The legalize language alone is mind-numbing to read and study so I can only imagine how hard it would be to make it exciting and interactive. That said, I went into the class today not expecting to be wowed or super pumped up by anything. Instead, I expected a dry study session but something worthwhile that would help me understand the differences between OH and NC laws.

The lady who was running the day was exactly what I expected: older, soft-spoken, straight to the point, etc. What I didn't expect was how she would do the actual, "teaching". The first half hour she told us about herself, was very specific how we filled out our forms, and shared with us the fact that North Carolina was the first state to enable Notary Publics which dated back to 1777. She hung onto this last fact with a strange amount of pride. I guess that was my first clue. But then the shit really hit the fan.

For the next five hours she read the book at us. That's right... she read it. No inflection to her voice, no added emphasis, no personal stories, nothing. She read. And that's all she did. She read out of a book like she was reading to herself. To add insult to injury, she ended the lesson by going over every single question on the final fifty question test.

The thing that probably bothered me the most is that being a Notary isn't viewed as that big a deal to the general public, but it really is. Everything we do in our life that involves BIG decisions... cars, houses, marriage, divorce, wills, trust planning, business ownership, everything, requires a Notary. Nine of the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 gained fake licenses, etc., by using Notaries who didn't take their roles seriously. This is real stuff that should be taken seriously... and taught seriously. And all I got today was an old lady reading a book and then force feeding us the answers to the test just so that she could paid and move us out.

And this stupid hypocritical pride in NC Notary history probably burns me up even more. I can't tell you how many times the guideline book and then this lady today told us how much more important this state views the Notary Public role, and that they devote more training to it than almost any other state. Truth is, it's all a front. I had a lady read to me for five hours, was given all the answers to the test in the last ten minutes so I would score a good grade, and then had my wallet raped. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention this whole process costs a total of $140 and that's even before I have to buy my endorsement stamp/embosser.

I want to scream.

If there can be any kind of good that came out of today, I did get to have lunch with my friend Evan. We always seem to have off-schedules, but he goes to school at the same college so it was perfect timing. And after the nightmarish day, I'm now a Notary for the state of NC. So I accomplished my goal and got to see my friend. Alls well that ends well, right?

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

A couple dreams

Dreams have been discussed before in this little corner of the interwebs, so I thought I'd throw out a couple I had last week that were quite dramatic and felt super real after I woke up. I'll also give my best attempt at an analysis of each.

The first dream was about my friend Mike. Mike is married to my sister-from-another-mother, Ginny, and has been my best friend for many years. He is going to be the Best Man in my wedding in three months, and the one guy I can be more honest with and who I never doubt will be the most honest with me. Now that our relationship has been defined, here is the dream:

Dream One:
Mike became the President of the United States. His plain tongue and common sense approach to difficult situations gained him the favor of the free world, and he was voted into office. He made sweeping changes in our country's government but all were accepted because of their basic presentation and the cry for reality over politics. A concern came up over whether he would still be able to be in my wedding. During the dream I got to visit him in the White House, he came to my house in NC, we had a few beers and smoked our pipes, and generally got to still be the Sam & Mike that is so perfect and comfortable. The answer of him being in the wedding kept coming up and I'm not sure was ever resolved, which never brought about anger but rather, sadness.

Analysis One:
I have to wonder if this dream had to do with me moving to NC and moving on with the next chapter in my life. To share complete disclosure at the risk of hurting some feelings, there were only a few people who ever had a chance at changing my mind about moving here, and the friendship bonds with those same people are the only people I ever felt deserved enough hesitation to consider their feelings; Mike was at the top of that list. Living nine hours away and only talking to each other about one time a month on the phone has caused the expected distance between us. I know very little of his daily life and he the same with me. It's not for lack of caring or a divide in our friendship, but only the natural progression of time and distance. We are ever-changing and growing but for the first time in twenty years, we're doing it without each other to share it with. Him becoming something grand and possibly not having the time for me -no matter what- are probably what brought about the dream.

Dream Two:
I was in a park somewhere playing with my seven year old niece, Esther-Faith. (For those that don't know, E-F has spina-bifida and lacks the normal mobility of a child. She gets around either in a wheelchair or with braces and arm crutches.) We were playing with a Frisbee, laughing, petting puppies, and generally enjoying a summer afternoon. At one point she started running in just her leg braces and no crutches. The laughter turned to tears as she was running fast and then tripped, slamming her face and body into the ground. Terror filled my chest as I ran to her side and scooped her up in my arms, my own tears pouring down my face. I raced her to my truck, hugging her so very tight. I frantically tried calling her Dad, my brother-in-law Tim, but to no avail. I buckled her into my pickup truck's broad seat that obviously had no child restraints, and drove as fast and safe as I could to where he was, terrified of the fact she was hurt.

Analysis Two:
My sister and her family had just left from a week long visit to our area of the planet. I love my nephews but have never really connected with Esther-Faith; probably coming from a combination of my sister's desire to keep her special-needs child safe and the fact that the boys want to do more stuff I like to do. The idea of caring for her is undoubtedly daunting and I wonder if the dream came from a place of being scared I would let her down and possibly be hurt.

I welcome your thoughts and perspective...