Sunday, August 22, 2004
Training Center Life - Part 1
An Investigative Report
A description for the uninitiated. X-er visits the Indianapolis Training Center and reports on his observations.
Morning Wake-Up Show
Training center life begins at approximately 5:30 a.m. when you angrily wake up to pile your pillow, the bed comforter, and all of your winter sweaters against the PA speaker in order to muffle the morning wake-up program. Training centers derived this form of torture from Siberian concentration camps that played music at ungodly hours to disorient the prisoners. The PA speakers are usually not volume adjustable, and FAA regulations make it a federal offense to tamper with, disable, or destroy these devices. The morning wake up show usually begins with quiet, meditative music to gently lull the residents from their slumber. The morning guy then gets on: "Good morning, Indianapolis Training Center!" and provides vital information for the day such as the barometric pressure, the weather forecast, and important events. My observation is that informing ITC residents, who rarely venture outside, of the day's weather is about as useful as telling them the price of oil in Tanzania.
The announcement guys range from slightly humorous to infuriating, depending on the amount of excessive enthusiasm they invested in their delivery. Next comes a Bible Reading by the Alexander Scourby guy, which offers a soothing opportunity to fall back asleep. But you'll quickly be jarred awake by upbeat big band music.
X-er once begged morning show guy to accidentally slip some more aggressive music into the PA CD player, or to tune the radio to the Howard Stern Show, but morning show guy wisely refused.
Morning devotions are a mandatory part of obtaining the food they call "breakfast" at the training center. One instantly recognizes themes in the morning devotions: Pastor MacWha's "the dumb get dumber," and Mr. Gergeni's insightful readings from My Utmost for His Highest are two examples.
The trick to avoiding morning devotions has been perfected by some residents. In the brief space of time between finishing your food and when the speaker steps up to the podium, you must grab your cell phone, pretend to take an urgent call and unfortunately have to step out. Of couse, this trick will only work so many times before people start to notice, so sit with different people. Since you can't sit with the opposite gender, the available pool is quite small.
Unfortunately, this technique is no longer successful. It became so popular that when the morning's speaker would stand up to deliver devotions, several dozen people would rush out "talking" on their cell phones as if a national security crisis had just occurred.
Is the food as bad as they say? While respectfully admiring the work the kitchen staff performs, we must say...yes.
No discussion of training center life would be complete without an analysis of prayer rooms. X-er had no opportunities to experience prayer rooms first hand, although he once guarded the door to prevent an occupant from escaping.
The Opposite Gender
The opposite gender is the most dangerous thing you can encounter at a training center. They provide a literal minefield of explosive opportunities.
The danger is in the leadership "noticing" that you are singling someone out, so the key is to spread your attentions so wide that you cannot be accused of singling out any one person. The problem, of course, is that you are then viewed as a public menace.
A few basic rules to observe will help you navigate the opposite gender. When entering the dining room, never voluntarily sit at a table that is occupied completely by the opposite gender. Avoid sitting directly next to the opposite gender. Never talk to the opposite gender in the lobby. Avoid smiling too much at the opposite gender. Not only do you risk the attention of the leadership but the object of your smile may begin to fall for you and will talk to her friends, who will in turn communicate your evil desires to the proper authorities. Never get caught on the 13th floor with the opposite gender.
to be continued...