Thursday, April 16, 2009

Getting used to it

I'm going to refer to Vivian from now on by name, since she is rapidly becoming an important figure in many of my stories.

Vivian is my CRAZYPANTS boss, the one who sends me from here to there and all around, yells at me, acts all nuts-o, and who I have never actually met in person. (She's sort of like "Dr. Claw" from Inspector Gadget, because I picture her in a big chair, stroking her evil cat, and drumming her iron-gloved fingers on the desk, faceless.) That's Vivian.

Dr. Claw and MAD Cat (aka Vivian's iron fist of English-teaching death)

So the strangest thing has happened. I don't give a %$#& what she thinks anymore! It's very liberating.

Basically, over the past couple weeks Vivian drove me so completely nuts, was so totally gonzo, was so blatantly disrespectful to me, that I completely lost it. I broke down, cried about it, and got very worked up about it. Then about a week passed, and despite my threats to quit, as it turns out I'm broke, need the money, and am still working for her minimally. (The good news is that I did eventually get my money from her-- wasn't easy, mind you--and she and I are back to acting cordial on the phone.) I figure, whatever, the pay's not bad, and frankly, I now realize that she is the rule, not the exception. All English pimps (Vivian) treat their whores (Me) this way here. I'm moving on.

Truth is, Argentina is just like this! It's disorganized, chaotic, and mind-numbingly slow at all things. Employers are self-serving, and treat you as their pawn. Your needs are not important, only theirs. And as much as I hate this, I am also becoming hardened. Yes, I'm getting used to it, and the only way to survive is to stop caring so much.

Case in point: Vivian was supposed to call me yesterday at Noon to arrange a meeting (finally!) so she could give me some books I need for a class. However, the last time she told me she'd call me at noon, she didn't call until almost 5:00pm, only to cancel on me, yell at me, and then stiff me out of money. So my expectations were pretty low yesterday. So low, in fact, that I myself forgot about the whole thing! Me! And it worked out great, because when she finally called me around 1:00 (to cancel, of course), I didn't care! I hadn't been waiting by the phone, nor had I rearranged my day around her.

I had become, ahem, more Argentine.

This all probably sounds really nuts, but it's actually really good. It's a coping mechanism, and it's working. I think my blood pressure has gone back down to normal in the past couple days, and damnit, I'm going to last here a full year if it kills me! (which it might)

This means I need to stop having such "American" expectations of professionalism. I need to suck it up, lower the bar, and integrate. Working on it.