Friday, November 9, 2007

Mediating Jurl

Oh, jurls. Jurls, jurls, jurls. In an effort to diversify my law practice I decided to become a certified mediator. Today was the first day of a 40 hour training course. Within two minutes I became concerned I might kill some of my fellow classmates due to their retardedness. Within thirty minutes it became clear that I was going to kill myself.

There are three of us to a table, I share mine with a soft-spoken lady architect looking for a new career and an out-of-work...I mean freelance musician looking for a career. The rest of the crowd is made up of a few other lawyers and who cares.

I had hoped to get a lot of work done while half listening to an all day lecture, but no, the instructor requires class participation and expects us to actually listen. Ugh. Speaking of the instructor, she's a pretty good lecturer, but her mediation style is kind of feel-good hippie. She's somewhere between 60 and 100, with a slight lisp. Maybe not a lisp, maybe her dentures clack. I don't know, but it's going to be one of the things that makes me pull the trigger.

Instructor also has a few cute teaching tools, and by cute I mean freaking irritating. She has a stuffed bunny she throws at students when they're getting off topic. Get it? Chasing rabbit trails.....Please God, save me. If that stuffed Bugs comes whipping through the air at me I will pluck it right out of the sky, rip it in two, swallow the head, and flush the rest down the toilet.

Instructor also blows a train whistle when break time is over. Because saying "let's return to our seats and get started" is too complicated. Or maybe it's too aggressive. We wouldn't want to be confrontational-- that's for non-mediator types. I know one thing, the sound of a lonely train whistle has become my nails on a chalkboard and I will be avoiding train travel for the rest of my life.

Enough bagging on my instructor. How bout I bag on some of the damaged goods also hoping to grow a mediation practice. The "musician" is almost beyond description. He's schlubby, sweaty, and king of the goofballs. By the way, why does an out of work musician have a brief case? What's in it? Guitar picks and sheet music? Maybe it's full of candy because he had three Butterfingers before the lunch break which is his prerogative, but I'm pretty sure his body is just a giant gravy boat that is on the verge of sinking into the abyss. I'm probably just cranky b/c I love Butterfingers, but won't let myself eat any.

Schlubb also had my favorite never eat meal for lunch. How do I know, you ask? Because Schlubb quizzed us on what we had for lunch (I turned down his kind invitation to dine so he was forced to debrief me). I didn't ask, yet still learned he had chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, and corn. About fifteen minutes after sharing this with me he disappeared into the bathroom for half an hour. I made a mental note of the bathroom he came out of because he most assuredly raped the facilities and I didn't want to accidentally stumble into the crime scene. Someone call CSI. Forty minutes after he came back from his private time he disappeared again. He resurfaced an hour later explaining to us that he'd gone outside to sit in his car for a few minutes then fell asleep! What?! Why go sit in your car? To release carbohydrate gas? (if so then I'm glad he let the building) More importantly, why is he telling me? Arrrgggg!

Lady Architect isn't so bad, but I did almost strangle her once today. We were given a fake mediation scenario that reads like an advanced math problem-Leslie buys a boat, but can't store it. Sammy the neighbor and friend offers to keep it in his garage. Both use the boat. Sammy's garage catches fire. Damage to garage is $5000.00. Damage to boat is $1500.00. Insurance will pay Sammy $5000.00. Leslie wants Sammy to give him $1500.00 for the boat damage. Sammy said bite me you turd. What's a mediator to do? Lady Architect could never get past the fact that Leslie didn't buy boat insurance. Leslie's not a real person!!!!! Kill me. Kill me. Kill me. Kill me.

Other honorable mentions for the day: Mcallen lawyer in some sort of gypsy skirt and black motorcycle boots covered in metal studs; the mental health professional that uses analogies from the nuthouse for every scenario, and some jack ass that actually suggested Leslie in the fake mediation should "man up" and pay- that's what the "man code" says--really? citing the "man code"?

I know I'm mean, but I can't help myself. I'm a mean jurl. A mean, mediating, jurl.


amy from austin said...

Oh dear! I too am a trained mediator and remember those 40 hours oh so well. My favorite was the role playing and when someone was too "into" character to remember that it is a tool and not his time to be a tool.

Anonymous said...

Just pass out those killer European lemon drops and the class will drop like flies.