|Age Range(s)||Young Adult (20-35), Adult (36-50), Senior (>50)|
|Type of monologue / Character is||Talking to the audience, Reminiscing life story/Telling a story|
|Description||The Annual Staff Retreat - Brett has just been hired as a relief worker at a halfway house run by the Mental Health Association.|
|Details||"The Psych Halfway House" Middle of the Book|
Brett has just been hired as a relief worker at a halfway house run by the Mental Health Association.
Written by Jass Richards
|Unfortunately, it turned out I was hired just in time for the annual staff retreat. I suspected it was an office party disaster waiting to happen. I didn't want to go. But I also didn't want to be reprimanded, yet again, for not being a team player. Damned if I do, damned if I don't.|
So Friday evening, six of us piled into Kathy's minivan. We were obviously going to get a headstart on the group bonding thing. I asked if that was fair. They smiled indulgently and said, "Oh you just want to drive down on that new Harley of yours instead of being with us." Well yeah. Duh.
We arrived at the retreat site, which was well off the highway, and for a second I was glad I came it was beautiful. Forest as far as the eye could see, in orange and gold and scarlet, a sparkling dark blue lake, a couple canoes on the shore, gentle babbling from a stream that fed the lake We spent the entire next two days inside. Replenishing our inner spirits.
Saturday began with a pre-breakfast yoga session, a breakfast get-to-know-you, two morning sessions, and a lunch mixer. So I was told. I don't get up until noon. (Well, unless I work the midnight shift. Then I don't go to bed until noon. Which means that on any given day, or, well, on any given night I guess oh never mind.)
At around 1:00 p.m., I found myself being hustled to the first of three afternoon sessions by one of my coworkers, Clara. Who was way too chirpy. Obviously a morning person. I grabbed a carafe of tea and a cup from the lunch table as we passed it, and stuffed some creamers and a plastic-wrapped egg salad sandwich into my pocket. She led me into a roomful of people, and to the corner occupied by the 602 staff.
"Hello again," the session leader at the front of the room said, and beamed. "Wasn't that a fantastic lunch?" she asked, and everyone applauded. Applause? For egg salad? Plastic-wrapped egg salad? I looked around. A lot of people looked suspiciously beatific. Did I miss something spectacular? Were the leaders that charismatic? No wait, I've seen that look they're fucking all on Prozac! I missed the free samples!
"What we're going to do first this afternoon," she continued as if she were about to present a won-der-ful gift, "is something called 'What Colour are You?'" You've got to be kidding. I had finished my first cup of tea and had poured a second, but was still way too tired to run through my Meyers-Briggs critique, and anyway these people should know better, this is all so old, and lame, " ¢ ¬ € but with a little twist." Her eyes twinkled. Mine twitched. "I want you to think about what colour each of your coworkers is. Then we'll have you pow-wow in your work groups to share your perceptions. Be open. Be honest. Remember, those are the building blocks of a good team..." Yeah right. Like I'm gonna fall for that again. (When did you stop hitting your wife?) Director Jean, you're airhead blue. Kathy, you're oh my god. They're all airhead blue.
"I'm going to pass on this one," I said, "I really haven't had time to get to know any of you," I tried to smile. "And I really have to pee," I pointed to the carafe.
When I returned to the room, I discovered that things could indeed get worse. Each session ended with a group hug. I looked around. Surely they don't have enough Academy Awards on hand to cover this performance.
The next session was a 'revitalizer'. Up on our feet, stretch up, that's it, one arm, skyreach, the other arm, skyreach, now climb that ladder into the clouds I can't believe I'm doing this. I imagined myself presenting these warm-ups to my old track buddies, started to laugh, caught Clara's glance, then imagined myself packing it in right then and there and going for a long run through the forest. That's it, now exhale, and blow those clouds away! Good! Now stand on one leg and lift the other, from the hip, that's it, how do you feel?
"Like a dog taking a piss." Oops. Jean gave me a look of disappointment. As did Kathy, Clara, and Lynn.
And then it was time for another group hug.