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Sunday, April 6, 2008

PARISH SECRETARIES - gotta love 'em

All my strength lies in prayer and sacrifice. They aremy invincible weapons, and I know, by experience, thatthey can soften the heart much better than words. St. Therese
Lord, deliver me from Parish Secretaries.

Another prayer: Lord, protect Parish Secretaries from me.

As most people know, the Parish is not run by the Pastor It is run by Parish Secretaries.
It has been my experience that the Parish Secretaries are always women who have either retired from mid-level secretarial jobs where they had no particular power or women who ran households with 8 to 10 children and now have nothing to do because the last kid has gone to college and the others are running their own households with the efficiency of generals (like Mommy taught them! GOOD WORK, MOMMY!) or they are supporting their growing families just like their fathers did for them (GOOD WORK, DADDY!). The women from these backgrounds had two choices - start drinking in the afternoon or get a job..and they did not want to start drinking...and they did not want their husbands home all day because of retirement just yet either.. so they go to the Parish.

Some of the people are paid employees. Most of them are volunteers. They are devout and they pray for people like me every day and believe me, on many levels, I am so grateful for their hard work....but every once in awhile -----KAPOW! TO THE MOON, ALICE!

Here is the problem with both sets:

the retired mid-level secretary: they worked for some place like Gallo or Foster Farms for approximately 35 years. They never rose beyond that particular company's version of the secretarial poole. They know a LOT, usually more than the mid-level managers they had to serve, but they never went out and got the necessary education needed to move up the ladder. That is because they not only had to work fulltime they also had to run their families OR they never married at all - either way they are exhausted. If they did hook up with some guy (even the ones who married them) the guy was usually a drunk or dumped them for some sleezy, anorexic waitress at the local bowling alley. Their kids were average - nothing particularly spectactular about them - and then they hooked up with someone of the opposite sex that was either an Evangelical Fundamentalist Born-Again Christian or a member of a Wicca Coven and now, every flipping holiday, these poor women are told by their idiot children that they are just wrong - everything about them is wrong. The kids no longer remember it was Mom who worked her butt off so they could afford to play Little League or be in the school play - so the kids feel it is their 'right' to inform these beleagured women that they are either members of the Whore of Babylon or a Patriarchial Oppressive System that hates women. Day after day, at work, they watched the younger girls go get college degrees and move on or up the corporate ladder and they got angry. Because they only saw what was on the outside of those "babes'" lives they decided they had slept their ways to the top. They got angrier and angrier, never letting anyone know but grabbing for the Oreos or the M&Ms every change they got until, by the retirement age, they weighed 350 pounds, hated everyone around them but never acknowledged now they are depressed. The husband is either gone or worthless, they are lifetime members of Weight Watchers, they have kids that are weirdos and they need to get the heck out of the house. Wouldn't YOU?

They need something to do - so they volunteer at the Parish. Now they can wield some power, by golly, and they do...they are the keepers of the calender, the exectuters of the voice mail, the distributers of the messages and if you piss them off or if you are someone they do not like forget ever getting your message passed onto the Pastor or the Administrator or the gardner....and if you find a way to bust their little game you will be on their S**T list until Jesus comes again and every little thing you ask for information on will take a flipping act of CONGRESS to decide.

The other type ran their families with precision for 30 years and figured running an office would be the same thing - unfortunately they have no idea how to use a computer, transfer a call on a phone or take a complete message. They homeschooled all 12 of their children but no one ever bothered, once they arrived at the Parish Office ready to help, how to teach them the voicemail system...the one set up by the Church Computer Guy that is fabulous but requires a code, or the ability to remember what sequence the buttons need to be pushed....all of these ladies have their own email and never check it because the Church Computer Guy forgot to tell them they HAVE email....but the Church website encourages everyone to USE the email.....aaauuugghhh!!!!

Can you tell I am a little frustrated right now?

Anyway - I have been trying to get someone to acknowledge the request from my homegroup to change the meeting time to 7pm on Wed from 7:45pm on Wed and I cannot even get an ACKNOWLEDGMENT that I have asked the flipping question - so, as a result, I have had to take out and use the 'Pastor" card and send an email to him as WELL as the Calendar Girl at St. Joe's....and I am just so damn tired of everything being an ordeal.

The same thing happens in my office - getting someone to acknowledge my emails is a lost cause. I don't even try any more and I do not expect to have any person there treat me with even common courtesy. The problem with St. Joe's is I am representing some other people - they matter.....not me.

Anyway - I am just blowing off steam. Look, no one knows better than me the frustration of working with the general public let alone a public that shares your Faith and thinks the Priests should be available at the drop of a hat. I absolutely understand that people get busy, that I am not the most important person on their agenda and that everyone has priorities that do not include me. To paraphrase my first sponsor, there are over a billion Catholics in the world who do not know my name.

And I have decided that they are not out to 'get' AA - though I still waiver on my beliefs on that one - and people don't always understand that no answer, not even an acknowledgement of receiving the QUESTION, can cause anxiety in the sender, the seeker, the one the group designated as 'she who must approach the Church for permission'.
So, let's all pray for Leslie as she tries over and over and over and over and over again to get someone to tell her:




Esther said...

C'mon over my way - I hear the parish secretary is fiiiiiine! ;)

Leslie K. said...

Well, of COURSE she is....she is someone very SPECIAL!!!!!

Esther said...

Aw shucks. :)

Prayers that yours will treat you well...