Worse, I was never meant to work in groups of people.
I now can say I've spent twenty years in educational settings trying to make sense of people and the ways they interact with one another. Once gain, I find myself in a world where outside mediation is necessary to help individuals communicate in a peaceful, humanitarian way. I try to live without beefs and gripes, but I've learned that the majority of other people do not live with such a path. Therefore, there's a need for an outside mediator to create peace and harmony amongst people who don't get along. I'm around for the journey, and I totally respect the process.
This, however, is why I'm going to hell.
Yesterday, a paid mediator coached several individuals that I work with to help us figure out a way to better communicate with one another. The guide/sage/leader was a talker, A TALKER, and she shared a lot of her personal insight on how this should be accomplished. Did I state how much she liked to talk? We listened and followed her Powerpoint presentation, although she gave it to us in paper form. Yes, we have Ph.D's and some of us do mediation as a career, but when conflict arises, it's always best to have an outside party. I am down with that. It was good. I nod my head to the outside party and feel it is healthy for all of us in a divided department.
I'm all for this. I love serenity. I like ease. I seek peace.
The trouble was, Monday was National Condom Awareness Day on our campus - a Jesuit University - and our mediation was held in the student center where kids were doing presentations on safe sex. The walls were thin and we could hear all the dialogue and music. At first, Ariel's singing from the Little Mermaid was a litter disruptive to our thinking, but then when "Let's Talk About Sex, Baby, Let's Talk About You And Me," came on the stereo system, I couldn't help but get the giggles. It cracked me up. We were supposed to be having/hosting an important dialogue about responsible communication - which we were - but the background noise and irony of safe sex propaganda at a conservative university simply started my nose to wiggling. Like funeral wiggling. Like, "Go wait out in the car, Bryan, until these services are over" wiggling. I had to tell my colleagues, "I'm sorry. This is a moment for me. I'm currently trying to process this Saturday Night Live skit and trying not to find humor in it, but this is one for the record books."
I was told later I handled myself well and offered intelligent and smart insight - it was an important discussion. Still, "you can't make this up." I felt like I was on Candid Camera.
The writer in me was dying: the humor of our setting, the content, and the background agendas of the student population heard through the thin walls was too much for me. Then, trying to keep myself in a mature, focused position cracked me up even more.
C'est la vie. We move forward. And I didn't lose my sense of integrity too much.
Sometimes I think the Great Whatever is totally messing with me.