There are no ugly questions except those clothed in condescension.

John Steinbeck, East of Eden

“I’m showing you this because I think you want to know. You always ask questions,” my co-worker Michelle said to me the other day.

I started a new very part-time job a few months ago. I now work at the front desk of the facility where I’ve worked for years in Aquatics. The new role is mostly people-y. I greet people as they come in the building and I make sure they have a reservation.

The other front desk-ers remark often on the quietness. No kids are allowed with the facility’s COVID restrictions. Members only, no day passes. And everything is reservation only.

My new job also involves administrative work which has been eye-opening for me. This has been the biggest area of learning.

I would learn better if we were busy, but we’re not, so I DO ask a lot of questions. Most of my questions are “How do I do this again?” Some are “Why do we do it this way?” Others are “What if [insert a set of circumstances]?”

The other day when Michelle came to show me something it was because I had wrongly activated a person who was deceased. His widow had mailed in her renewal and I entered it into the computer. The main member was still listed as the husband, and they weren’t people known to me, so I just activated the whole subscription.

“See — he’s listed as ‘inactive.’ That’s because he died last year. But she’s only ‘expired’ so when we mark her as paid, she becomes ‘active’ again,” Michelle explained.

“How did you know?” I asked.

“Well, I know the people,” she said, but then she also showed me a clue on the registration form itself.

“So, let me get this straight. If they’re inactive, they may be dead, but if they’re expired, they’re probably alive.”

Michelle laughed. “I guess you’re right.”

Words are funny things — and fun.

And questions are good — especially when you’re trying to learn.

Another friend once told me that the only bad question is the one you have but don’t ask.

Maybe that’s why I ask lots of questions.

My father used to say we should learn something new every day.

Maybe that’s why I ask lots of questions.

Curiouser and curiouser. That’s me — in more ways than one.