The list…

1 09 2008

As I’ve mentioned before, I work as a teacher’s assistant for a program specializing in helping DCD young adults. School starts September 2nd, so the week before is “Staff Planning” week. When I was going to school, I always wondered what went on during that mysterious block on the calendar where teachers had to be there but students weren’t. In my brain, I always imagined it looked a little something like this:

In reality, I’ve found out it basically involves a lot of tedious grunt work: typing forms, hanging banners, making bets on which students this year would be the “nerds” and who would be the “cool kids.” It also involves meetings. Pointless, boring, bureaucratic meetings designed to crush my soul and any hope I will ever be able to feel joy, love, or happiness again.

And it is in one such meeting where it happened…

Sometimes my job requires me to drive students to places in the community. We have special vans for this, and we go through driving records checks to make sure we are competent to ferry other peoples children around. Apparently this year, that is no longer good enough. Now we are essentially required to go through the same training full-fledged bus drivers go through. Part of this training involves sitting in a classroom and being lectured on such things as “following distance” and “the ten second rule” and “look high, steer low” and other such driving concepts I made it a point to forget. They even brought up how you are supposed to keep your hands at 10 and 2 on the wheel. I told them I like to keep my hands at 12 and 3 so I have an extra hour and ten minutes to get where I’m going. They told me to please get down from off the table and be quiet. I thought it was hilarious.

So. During this classroom training, the director in charge of the whole district comes in to talk to us. I will call him Bob. That’s not his real name, but people in charge are always “Bob”s to me. So Bob is discussing the fact that some people employed by the district aren’t allowed to drive students for “various reasons” (translation: DUIs), and how those peoples privacy would be maintained. I don’t remember the exact set-up here…I was mostly spacing out…but he was mentioning something about how the district kept track of who could drive or not, and suddenly, he utters the following phrase, and as God as my witness, this is not paraphrased, it is word for word. And I know because I will remember it to my dying day. Bob says:

I don’t have a list of people who are NOT on the list, but I have a list of people who ARE on the list.

There is a moment of silence following this. Bob stops talking, and looks confused. He tries to form his next words, but the magnitude of what he has just said has totally thrown him off. Internally, my head does this:

Bob eventually manages to get talking then, but I can’t stop thinking about his lists. It’s like he’s hypnotized me. I see his lips moving, and when he leaves and others resume talking, I see this as well, but all I can hear is:

I don’t have a list of people who are NOT on the list, but I have a list of people who ARE on the list.

I am fascinated by this. A list of people who are on the list. Am I crazy, or wouldn’t that be two identical lists? But they are NOT the same list: one is a list of people, the other list is a list of those people who are on the list. How can you tell them apart? Are they color coded? If you lose one list, can you just make a copy of the other list and have that be the second list? Or do you need to go back and re-confirm that the people on the list are indeed, actually, supposed to be on the list? The instructors are talking about pre-trip inspections now, but I can’t hear what they’re saying.

I don’t have a list of people who are NOT on the list, but I have a list of people who ARE on the list.

Even more fascinating to me than the list of people on the list, is the non-existent list of people who are not on the list. Apparently Bob doesn’t have this list, but what if he did? What would this list look like? Would it include every single person in the world who were not allowed to drive for the school district? That would be a gigantic list. I suppose, more logically, it would just list the people who work for the school district who aren’t allowed to drive. Of course, in order to know who those people are, they need to be on a different list, so they know who works for them. So we have:

LIST OF SCHOOL DISTRICT EMPLOYEES

LIST OF PEOPLE WHO CAN DRIVE

LIST OF PEOPLE WHO ARE ON THE LIST OF PEOPLE WHO CAN DRIVE

LIST OF PEOPLE WHO CAN’T DRIVE (NON-EXISTENT)

Did you ever notice that list is a funny word? List, list, list, list. It loses all meaning. What is a list? Why is list the word for list? Did someone lookat a list, and go, “This shall be a list.” Why didn’t they call it a blip, or a horry, and a glockenspiel, or a ham sandwich?

I don’t have a list of people who are NOT on the list, but I have a list of people who ARE on the list.

I’m having a serious existential crisis here folks. I can’t get this damn phrase out of my mind. It’s like contemplating infinity or George Bush.

I don’t have a list of people who are NOT on the list, but I have a list of people who ARE on the list.

It’s haunting me…

I don’t have a list of people who are NOT on the list, but I have a list of people who ARE on the list.

Forever…

I don’t have a list of people who are NOT on the list, but I have a list of people who ARE on the list.

Make it…

I don’t have a list of people who are NOT on the list, but I have a list of people who ARE on the list.

Stop..

I don’t have a list of people who are NOT on the list, but I have a list of people who ARE on the list.

I don’t have a list of people who are NOT on the list, but I have a list of people who ARE on the list.

I don’t have a list of people who are NOT on the list, but…


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2 responses

2 09 2008
nikki

I am commenting so you know i read your blog. Here is my thoughts…fist lose any clips of the Office, i don’t think the show is funny. Second, i would like a disclaimer when anything gross is going to happen, say for example a head is going to explode. And third….WTF does that sentence mean!!! LOL!!

3 09 2008
Amy

i like the office and i like the part in scanners where the head explodes, so, much like when my mom votes, i have voted to cancel your vote out.

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