Confrontation and Confusion

I do not do confrontation well. There was an incident where we found someone doing something they shouldn’t do.

It should have been simple. I should have simply ejected the person from the place. I mean, they were violating the code of conduct, and more to the point, likely breaking the law.

Instead, I froze. The kid was really good, and I was impressed by what he was doing. It took me a few moments to figure it out, and when I did I was like… whoa. Okay. Wait a second…

This is me when I was 12 years old. Hacking a Commodore Pet in the Library so everytime you pressed a button, it said “STOP TOUCHING ME!” and then when you typed “QUIT” it said “You shouldn’t have done that. I’m mad now. I’m going to erase you.” and then shut the computer down. (nothing but GOTO and IF/THEN loops in BASIC).

I felt like the bad guy. Telling him to leave. BUT… I’m a grown man now. My job included telling that kid “what you’re doing is wrong, and must stop”. Which I did… and I felt like… a hypocrite.

What made this a “confrontation” was the fact that he basically threatened me. A KID. Dude, I’m 38 years old and huge (so I’m told). I kicked him offline 3 times. He kept coming back. He would not leave. He found holes in the system. I was impressed… and repulsed… and confused.

Confusion is because when I was a boy, confrontation meant getting into a fight. Win or lose, it meant having to hurt someone. Thats the furthest thing from my mind and being as humanely possible. Even when not physical, it means stopping someone from doing what they want to do or saying something mean. And the kid? All he wanted to do was play a game (albeit, he was cheating). All I know is, I was so mad and confused, I felt myself vibrating. It was all too familiar. Like all the days of being made fun of… people screaming “DEAF BOY” in my ear… shoving me to the ground, forcing me to eat dirt.

Maybe this means I’m not doing my job right. Maybe this means I’m emotionally compromised now. Maybe my logical and emotional halves are just about to go to town on each other. Its hard to be confrontational in a verbal fashion when you can’t hear.

Maybe its weird this is consuming me, and for the first time in a very long time, I hadn’t thought about my mom for more than a few hours… and I feel guilty about that.

Maybe this blog post is about confronting confusion and hoping the end is logical.

  1 comment for “Confrontation and Confusion

  1. Sarah K.
    February 26, 2010 at 5:43 PM

    I can see where this would be hard for you Michael. It’s kind of like facing yourself with this young boy hacking or doing whatever it is he was not suppose to be doing, knowing he meant no real harm…but was doing it just do it. Your struggle comes in as a now 38 year old professional who needs to do his job. I think it’s harder yet because of your hearing impairment, but also because at this age we still remember what it’s like to be his age. When the kid doesn’t listen….you feel like you need to be mean to make him realize you are serious. That can make you feel weird too! It’s like this weird balance that needs to be found. I felt the same way when I worked at SPL as a Youth Librarian sub. I would nicely tell a kids something and then they would act as if they were going to stop doing whatever it was they were doing–and I believed them. Then they went right back to the behavior and I felt like an idiot and had to go back and address the same behavior this time more harshly. It left me feeling weird too…angry, confused, etc. I’m not used to being a grown up and I think you are experiencing that same struggle.

    Hang in there! You’re doing great.

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