It started with a call from friend Amanda that went something like this:
"Kelsie would like to interview you" (her 8th grade daughter)
"Then why isn't she calling me?"
"She wants to do it today after school"
"Why does she want to interview me?"
"It's for a school project"
Oh, ego kicks in, me interviewed for a school project? Neat-O!
Three thirtyish rolls around and in come Amanda and Kelsie and we sit down to a very informal interview. I am thinking she will take notes and write up some sort of report on what I say on whatever heady topic an 8th grader would need to learn about from me, a humble innkeeper....Only to learn the interview is to prepare me to speak in front of her whole class on the challenges and education necessary for an innkeeping career. Hmmmmm. Yep, that's right, me speaking to the 8th grade class.
"How about Tuesday?"
"This year Tuesday?"
"hahahaha, it's not like its tomorrow"
"hahahaha, but it is next week Tuesday?
We have fun going through the questions and I am left the sheet to study over the weekend, which much like a student with homework, I do not do.
Tuesday rolls around and I glance at the sheet, take a shower and get as nicely dressed as I dare. Amanda picks me up and off we go. We don't get lost, but I am hoping to.
I have brought proper bribery materials in Hotel Charlotte wrapped candies, which everyone makes a whole lot of noise opening. Good start.
We go through the questions, most of the answers just rolling off the tongue. There are a few where I am halfway through some story or another and have no memory of the question. One I even ask Kelsie and the class what I am talking about. Amanda and the teacher are occassionally laughing. There isn't too much side talking going on so I might have their attention for some of the time. I hope so.
I make a new friend in the front row, directly in front of me that talks along with me. Not sure what all he was saying, but we seem to laugh a lot about the babbling. The students get to ask me questions not on the sheet. There were a few themes:
Do you have a big lawn there?
I take a few minutes to describe our grassy area of 200 feet long by 3 feet wide and tell them that Victor wanted to buy a riding lawn mower to cut this. They think that is funny. My front row friend offers to come over and cut my grass. One of his friends tells me to go for it as he doesn't charge anything. I think this is a good deal.
What happens when you make a mistake?
I pause, scratch my head, pause some more and say I don't know. This too gets a sound laugh.
I then talk about how a mistake is an opportunity to think harder, maybe come up with a new plan or way to do things....
Dress Code, Tatoos and Piercings:
This seems important to the group to know all about:
I tell them if I can't see it, then neither can the customer and that would be their own personal business. If I can see it, then it becomes my business as it reflects on our relationship with the customer. Maybe they will all get hidden tatoos....
The questions they ask are well on topic and good ones: How do you communicate with the travelers that don't speak English? How do you handle an angry customer? Do you have jobs for us for the summer?
Leaving the classroom arena feeling like an answer dancer, Kelsie walks us out with a big thank you, a hug and an aside "I thought you would be funnier."
It was good to meet the next potential members of Team Charlotte.