Raleigh, North Carolina

Well, it has certainly been a long two weeks in Raleigh, North Carolina. I went down on the 1st and returned yesterday. It has certainly been an experience. I have always been fortunate to end up in the most interesting situations, and there always seems to be something to write home about.I rode down with Larry Grice, who went through license training with me. I have to make a few mentions of Mr. Grice. He has a certain way of doing things. There is this certain twitch, or something, which makes him have to constantly be fidgeting with his surroundings. It seems as though he must be always turning a nob or moving something. Readjusting the volume, changing station, changing the fan speed, turning things on and off, moving his seat, making a strange little laugh, and a whole host of other things. To top it off, he cannot drive smooth if his life depended on it. It is a constant change of speed and use of the brake, and these are not gradual. Faster, slower, jerk here, jerk there, swerve over here, and more constant twitches. By the time we got there, I was car sick and in the front seat. To top it off, my patience was such that I was ready for a rampage.

I don’t know why, but the volume of the radio always worked itself up so that it would hurt my ears. So I would say something so he would have to turn it down again. But in doing so, I had to have a conversation with a man who I could not understand. Between his accent, and perhaps a bit of a lazy mouth, it put more stress to carry conversation. Raleigh is a three hour drive, and if it had been 2 minutes longer, I am afraid I might have found a dead body on the side of the road. Really though, I was so wound up, mad, angry, irritated by the time we got there, I just had to go for a walk. This went on every single time we drove to work, or back, and all the way back here to Richmond.

One day on the way to work he put on Spanish music. I don’t mind a little latin music once and a while, but with his driving, and it damaging my ear drums, and then in the 100+ heat, it wore me thin. Another day, we listened to this preacher lady who was doing something I am not familiar with. She kept putting an ‘ah’ on the endah of herah wordsah, preachinah about Christah, and it wasah loudah, and sheah wasah doinah some sortah singinah, and Larry decidedah to keep the windowah downah, and it was likeah 114ah with heat indexah, and we areah in shirtah and tiesah… I started riding with other people to lunchah and to and from workah.If that was not the end of it, Larry had a few other character traits not so endearing. I found out from the class that he solicited a women in the class for a little sexual favor. Apparently she needed the cash more than her dignity, and he returned at 2:00 in the morning. I really don’t know anything happened, but her roommate supposedly got the low down from her. She is a college student and had complained before the whole class that she needed some dough, and her roommate said she definitely had plenty the next day. I do know that he asked two other married women for her phone numbers during the week. One of which earned him a sexual harrassment complaint to Combined Insurance.

Nicole Moore, who was with us in license training put Larry in his place when he started making comments about her body and such. Larry was always off visiting family and did not do any studying. Then as the week wore on and he obviously was far behind the class, he only complained that there was too much information or that it was not all necessary to know. I learned loads of patience, and wore it awfully thin a few times. He was a absolute mess. After a shower, the bathroom smelled like something was in its last stages of being decomposed by mushrooms. He slept naked and did not make much effort to cover himself in transition between clothes, the bathroom, and the bedroom. While I would be studying or even in bed, he would turn the television on and blast the sound. He would mumble little things to himself, or if they were to me I could not have understood or heard it very well. As if this was not enough, he was black. So, being raised in a very non-black state, Idaho, I never worried about this. Honestly, I do not think I really care or give any thought to skin color. However, when you are with one 48 hours a day, I found myself in places and even in private being extra careful to not be racist. Again, I honestly don’t think I have a racist bone in my body, but somehow with the climate around us, I found I had this fear of being racist. It created an extra cautious talk, reaction, and actions in his presence, more I think from the social and governmental climate we have today. Quite honestly, I found myself reverse discriminating to him! I was more lenient or less vocal with him than I would have been with someone else. I suppose that does make me racist, but in a reverse way. I let him get away with blowing my ear drums out because I did not want to offend him, or because he was…I don’t know what.

The entire week, in the background, was this constant struggle with my patience and with a complete phenomenon I have never encountered before. To top it off, the air conditioning went out in the building we were having our training in. For a week of record highes, it was horrible timing. With the temperature with the heat index between 105 and 115, it was definitely the same indoors. In a room with windows facing the sun the light and heat poured in. The full wall was windows, and they do not open. The heat was stifling. When we would go outside to cool off every hour, we thought it was cool, even though the bank one day said 114. I have no idea what the actual temperature was inside, or if it was just the closed quarters, and tremendous humidity, but that wore on a person too. Quite literally, we would be listening to Mr. Roger Dudley teach us, and I would have sweat running down my face. You could not touch anything and not have it stick to you. It was long, tedious days, and then when we were done, it was back to the hotel for a shower and nap. Both were required if you were to be any form of comfortable. We were supposed to be in shirt and tie all week, he let us come in shorts and t-shirt and we still sweat like none else. Some wore almost too little. This girl straight across from me did not leave much to the imagination, and with a skirt on, it only caused more aggravation to know I could never look that direction.

There was roughly 18 of us in this room for our sales training. Day in and day out, we memorized and went over the 3 policies, the history of the company, and the company ethics. I am a complete admirer of W. Clement Stone and this whole organization. A company with ethics, principles, and something more than just trying to make money. They literally are trying to change the world for the better. It was easy to lose sight of that though when you are so completely uncomfortable. I remember sitting down on the chair the second day and feeling the moisture still in the seat padding I had left from the day before. The gum on the bottom of my chair was warm enough that it stuck to my shoe when I accidentally hit it while shifting my feet beneath me. Gladly, the air conditioning came on and Friday was probably around 80 in the room.

The week proved to be interesting with the people inside the room. There was the has been insurance agent trying to get a new start in the business. Just lost his wife to divorce, or I think forced away his wife, and was a complete know it all. Always had to offer his two cents, tell the corny jokes, and interrupt everyone’s study to critique them, all while he did not do very well in learning the presentation himself. Then there was the Ms. I cannot do anything. Complain, complain, complain about how hard it was, how hot it was, how stupid she was, how her car broke down, how she could not learn the information. Oddly, the information she could not learn, she did not learn. Then there was the military man, who was always right as well, but who thought he was actually in lead of the class. Even with the teacher present, he had to tell us what to do, make sure we knew of his anger, or frustration, and more. Then there was the woman who constantly had things to say that had nothing to do with anything, and she had to share with the whole class. Many tempers flared, many people started yelling at others, mostly back at the hotel, and this was all a show. Then there was Larry, and all the women thought he was a predator or something, there was the little lady across from me who always had the complete following of male eyes, and the dynamics of the class were never boring.

Our poor teacher, Mr. Roger Dudley of Fayetteville, North Carolina was obviously worn by the end of the week too. Even on the last day, he caught several people cheating on the final, and made us all take it again. That did not make the class happy as we did not get out early like we were supposed to, and who wanted to take an hour test over?? I had already been downstairs for 10 minutes when we were summoned back to retake it. Most of what I missed was purely in having lost interest. Word for word phrases I substituted words that had nothing to do with anything I was writing so quickly to get it over with again. For example, rather than writing, Do you drive a car, I wrote Do you own a car. Which cost me the entire question. I was writing so fast by the end that the checker could not read my writing and I missed probably 3 due to my having completely lost any interest by the end of the test.

To add to the situation in Raleigh, right before I left to head out to North Carolina, my computer crashed. I don’t know exactly what happened, but my computer refused to recognize any internet. My wireless card altogether was not even recognized by the computer. So I had to take it in. In the end they had to reformat the entire hard drive! At least they could do a backup of my files. I did not get to take my computer with me, which I had hoped to do. That way I could still run finances and orchestrate what I do from my e-mail. Well, now I was high and dry, and worried about my computer, all my information on it, finances, and who knows what else. Two weeks later, I went and picked up my computer. It crashed twice within the first 30 minutes of having got it back. So I will have to take it in this morning. I was able to pull the Microsoft Money off of it to use on Amanda’s computer, so now I can do the whole financial thing. I am going to try and pull the family history file off so I can use it while my computer is gone. Fortunately I put the couple hundred pictures on Photomax, so I can lose them if I have to. I do have 3,000 songs on the computer, and I hope not to lose them. I have given away, or thrown away most of the CD’s I got them from.

Anyhow, it has been a testing by fire for two weeks. There was a positive side though. I have two close, new friends, Nicole Moore of Norfolk area, and Andy Yauss from Radford. If it had not have been for them, I might have lost my sanity. They were good study buddies and they let me vent to them when I thought I was about to break.

How is that for two weeks! It was the first time in my life I felt like my poor body was not handling the stress very well. I would wake up and my whole body was tense and one big knot in dread of the day. I usually went to bed exhausted, but could not sleep very well due to the stress on the body. Mentally I honestly don’t think I was close to breaking down, but my physical body sure was growing weary.