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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mean-Face Girl

I can't even remember how the joke got started. Somehow one of my favorite trainees was given a particular nickname. Lauren became known, occasionally, as the Mean-Face Girl. To understand how funny this is, you'd have to know what Lauren looks like. She has a very pleasant face, kind and clear-eyed. This is not the face of someone who looks even remotely intimidating.

I imagine that is probably what started it all. She probably said something during one of our classes about how she was so very scary or something, and made everyone laugh. When she tried to look mean, she'd frown, glare, and squinch up her nose, all while making a scowling expression with her mouth. It was terrifyingly not-scary. In fact, whenever she tried to make her mean face, it usually brought a smile to mine. 

Training classes finish and trainees move on, as they are supposed to do. One Saturday Trent and I happened to run into Lauren at a local wing restaurant. Oh, this place had good chicken wings! I wonder if they are still there? Gosh, those wings were delicious...um, what were we talking about? Oh, yes, Lauren. I introduced Lauren and Trent, telling him that she was the Mean-Face Girl I had told him about from one of my training classes. She demonstrated her scariest, most intimidating glare. Trent responded with a bland comment along the lines of, "Oh, that's really scary - not!" But now at least he knew who I was talking about when I referred to the Mean-Face Girl.

I am proud to say that Lauren did extremely well with her job. She received additional training and advanced to more responsible positions in the call center. When a position for a trainer opened up, I was thrilled that she applied. She did well in her interview and presented a wonderful training demonstration session as well, and was hired as my coworker. I had a wonderful time with Lauren as a coworker. She is an intelligent, funny, and caring person. We spent about a year working together, I think, and became very good friends. The hilarity usually lasted past the end of the workday as well, because Lauren and I rode the same bus home from work. When she realized that she drove past my apartment on her way home from the bus station, she began to give me rides home from there every day. These rides were a great chance for us to decompress from work, and we often literally laughed until we cried on these rides.

Lauren and I were together through a wide variety of things. There was the tiny training group that she was observing as a brand-new trainer. There were only four people in the class, and they would get drowsy in the warm training room after lunch. It caused me a lot of frustration, and I will admit that once or twice I got a bit testy with them. One day I decided to wake them up by beginning to train while using a loud Mrs. Doubtfire accent. Much hilarity ensued, especially because one of my trainees dared me to train the entire module that way. And I did. Lauren laughed until her jaws hurt. She tried to use her patented Mean Face to stop herself from laughing, but it didn't work. She didn't even try not to laugh when she was observing and co-training the class with her brother as a new hire. After he snottily told her he didn't need any help from her, Karma stepped in and he spilled a cup of coffee right down the front of his pants! Not only did he have to deal with the burn, but the chill that set in later. And his big sister never had to lift a finger to get back at baby brother.

Lauren was also there to give me support when a young man that I had trained in various classes, and was a person that I really cared about, died of liver disease. Unfortunately for this sweet young man, he was unable to live long enough to find a suitable donor for a transplant. I remember that the day I heard of his death, I was terribly shaken. She was very kind and supportive, and willing to take over my class at a moment's notice if I asked.

Lauren moved on to another area in the bank, and I no longer work there. Her husband John (I trained him in the call center, too!) became a Physician's Assistant and they moved out of state and we fell out of touch. They are now back home in Colorado but living on the other side of the state. Recently I was on a certain social media site and found that I had received a message from Lauren. She had read one of my blog posts and left me a very sweet message that made my day. Though I haven't seen her for several years, I still feel the same way about her. She will always be a treasured part of my life and there will always be a great deal of love in my heart for Lauren, The Mean-Faced Girl.