What Do You Want From Me, Debra?!

(Disclaimer: I would like to state that this post in no way speaks to the character of any or all peoples named “Debra” or “Deborah.” I say this in large part because my aunt who I love very much is named “Deborah.” The name just came out when I was venting and it was just so perfect in context, that it had to stay. Okay. Proceed).

So, I just finished my second day in a row of not teaching lessons because half of my state is on fire.

For the pool(s) to stay open, the air quality has to be at or below 150 (a rating gleaned from the level of particulates in the air). For the last two days, it’s been in the 170s and 180s.

No good.

So, what this means is that the swim instructors wake up, go in to work, and wait to hear from management whether or not we’ll be opening for lessons, and, ultimately, the whole day.

We wait, inevitably, for the closure announcement.

When that comes, we have to call every single parent on the lessons rosters to let them know, in addition to my Manager sending out a group email to aforementioned parents.

Now, most parents are disappointed but relatively reasonable. I mean, it’s smoke. It’s not like there’s anything we, the minimum-wage-earning teenagers, can do about it. Right? Right?


That’s what you’d think.

But then, every one call in about five, you encounter a Debra.

Debra wants to know what gives you the authority to cancel lessons. Why are they cancelled for smoke? Shouldn’t that be an individual decision on the parts of the parents on whether they want to expose their kids to the smoke? I bet your staff is going to be out and about right after you close, anyway. If it’s really that bad, why isn’t the whole city closed down? And what is your plan in place to deal with this missed lesson?

The whole thing stinks of deliberately un-understanding and unjustified anger toward us.

Here’s the deal, lady: we don’t make the calls! You’re butchering the messenger, here! Trust me, I’d rather be teaching right now. At this point, I’m losing money because of the smoke!

Additionally, the smoke is unsafe. What do you want from me, Debra? Want us to go outside and blow really hard? Will that help?

I’ve made a lot of phone calls to angry parents in the last two days. Can you tell?

I really hope I teach tomorrow.

Everyone involved would be much happier.

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