Thank You for ‘Just’ Doing Your Job

A long anecdote and how it changed me

Image: Oiled bird being picked upI was raised to be polite, to say ‘please,’ ‘thank you,’ and ‘you’re welcome’  of course.  It was just something you were supposed to do as part of average-to-good manners, automatic phrases.  This changed about a decade and a half ago, and I’m glad it did.

Back when I lived in a small coastal California college town, the local university had proudly built a marine wildlife care centre to respond in case of environmental emergency, and particularly oil spills.  The facility was brand new and suddenly we did get an oil spill!  (They’re not that rare.)  Like many others, my husband and I immediately reported to volunteer; he was an undergrad in the wildlife management program, and I was an environmental engineer trained for response to hazardous material spills, so we were well qualified and immediately found ourselves handling oiled birds from dawn to late, late at night for several weeks.

(Continued after the cut.)  Continue reading “Thank You for ‘Just’ Doing Your Job”

Children at Game Conventions

Children crossingJust wrapped up Pacificon with a relatively trying game of Cat.  I had checked the box to indicate that it was OK for kids (I’ve had many a fine young player), but not to mean “Yeah, I’ll babysit your young ‘uns.”  This was run as part of the general RPG section, not the Young Players room, and there were already a couple of adult players (and me) at the table, when two mothers dropped off their boys at 1pm without feeding them lunch first and then took off.

I naively thought the kids had been fed already, but no…  In addition, the boys were way too young for a four-hour game on the last afternoon of the convention (I’m guessing one was 5 or 6, and the other 7 or 8), so after a couple of hours of relatively good, if inattentive behaviour, they started loudly protesting that they were hungry.

I called a mom on her cell phone to tell her that the boy was antsy and hungry; the moms had gone offsite to have lunch, then picked up something to go for the boys so it was, I kid you not (and no pun intended), 3:45pm by the time they brought lunch.  By then the boys had completely lost any interest they might have had in following any semblance of rules.  The two grown-up players, my husband Edmund and the very nice Collin, were stalwart.  There was also a lovely young lady of about 10 who had played in both games we ran in the Young Players’ section this weekend, who was smart and funny and an all-around great player.

The boys were not bad boys and I wasn’t mad at them, but I did want to strangle their mothers for inexcusable obliviousness.  Next time I’ll write in the game blurb that players under 10 must be accompanied by their parents to play the game.