014 Pool Party Part 1 (interpreting and unions)


Lisa 1:                     It’s almost like…

Deb:                         This is even like, he opens up the show with a tape from this guy…

Steph:                     I’m recording you.

Deb:                         A tape from…

Steph:                     It was her idea.

Reba:                       Okay. He opens up the show with a tape of this guy, and he was highway patrol officer in California. And he takes his Lexus into the dealer because it needs some kind of repair and they give him a loaner. And so, he gets the loaner, and he goes and he picks up his brother-in-law, his wife, and their kid. And they start driving down the highway. And the brother-in-law ends up calling 911 and Gladwell plays the tape of the 911 call and the brother-in-law is like, ‘So, we’re on Highway 125, we can’t stop the car; the car won’t stop. Where are you located? 125! What are you passing right now?’ It tells him. And you can hear them like freaking out completely in the car.

Reba:                       And then you hear the car have an accident, and you hear, I mean, this is the way he opens the podcast. And it turns out that, I mean, it was a highway patrol officer. This guy drives all the time.

Lisa 2:                     So, did he just forget to pick up his foot and put it on the brake?

Deb:                         That’s right; he forgot to put it on the brake. That’s right. He was so focused on the fact that the car was out of control…

Sam:                         That’s almost like a seizure…

Steph:                     Right.

Reba:                       …that he never thought, ‘Let me step on the brake.’

Steph:                     He…yeah.

Deb:                         I had a similar thing happen. I went to pick up my car after they did some kind of brake job on it, my Subaru. And, granted, I had just had surgery, my mother was in the car with me, and I couldn’t get the key out. And I realized, wait, I started the engine or something, something happened where I completely forgot, ‘Oh, you needed to put your brake…’ that was it. You needed to put your foot on the brake to shift it. Completely forgot that. This was like 20 years ago.

Steph:                     Yeah.

Deb:                         I called the guy, right, Richard’s Automotive, to tell him ‘I’m stuck in your driveway; I can’t get my car into reverse.’

steph:                     Yeah. ‘Cause you get tracked, then you’re on a track and it’s automatic. And something has to deviate you from that, has to draw your attention to the fact that you’re in a track and there might actually be a couple other tracks that you could…

Sam:                         …thinking outside the box.

Lisa 1:                     Yes; that you could go.

Steph:                     You could switch, but you’d have to figure out how to…

Sam:                         Which one…

Deb:                         They think now that he thought he was pressing on the brake, but he was pressing on the accelerator. That’s why he thought there were no brakes and it was [crosstalk 00:02:21]

Steph:                     Right. So, his body memory was off.

Sam:                         Wow. That’s a little scary.

Steph:                     All right.

Steph:                     So, this is a podcast called ‘Structures of Interaction.’ If you guys approve it, this will be like episode nine or ten which I will probably link to the effort that I start on Monday which is to unionize sign language interpreters and maybe from that basis, go to unionizing interpreters in general. And why I’m excited is what I’m thinking about is, the resistance to having a union is from the employers and management because they don’t want a check. They don’t want anything to balance out their control. But in fact, all of our social systems need to have checks and balances. They actually, because we know we’re on a runaway track, employers should be inviting unions into existence so we can negotiate a better way forward and how to make the changes, but it’s a different track, and you’ve got to get people to jump on it.

Lisa 2:                     Well, change is always met with resistance.

Lisa 1:                     Yeah, it is.

Lisa 2:                     It doesn’t even matter whether it’s good change or bad, it’s just like…

Deb:                         People just have to get used to it…

Lisa 2:                     …’No; it’s going to be different!’ That’s always the first reaction, you know?

Steph:                     It is. But, aren’t we past the first reaction, now?

Lisa 2:                     Well, we should be; of course.

Steph:                     Like, that’s what I think. The fear reaction, a lot of people have had it already now. What’s next? Do you stay in fear, or do you start thinking about, ‘Well, maybe we need some help.’

Sam:                         Time to get outside.

Steph:                     Maybe we actually do need to make some changes, and where would be the strategic places to make those change?

Reba:                       Are you talking generally, or specifically about unions?

Steph:                     I’m really talking at the social institutional level, right? If you’re going to put a label on the largest system it’s economic, right? But it’s also about like the hierarchy, the stratification, which has white people at the top and brown people every place else, and it’s still playing out all around us and we’re aware of it every single day. You know, it’s like it’s incumbent, I think, on us to figure out how we can invite in the mechanisms that will help us change because we’re the drivers. Even if we’re just coasting. Even if we think we have our foot on the brake, our foot is still on the gas pedal.

Lisa 2:                     Right.

Steph:                     That’s where I’m at.

Deb:                         Yeah, yeah.

Steph:                     So in unions is one idea that I’ve been playing with for interpreters for a while and partly because of my experience in working as a medical interpreter at Baystate for three and a half years, you know? Because the way that people orient to having an interpreter present is like, I think is like a microcosm of like all of the problems with difference. All of the conflicts. It’s like, ‘Oh, I have to adapt; we don’t speak the same language. I have to do something with this weird third person who’s doing stuff that I don’t know what they’re…’ you know? Like, it just changes everything.

Steph:   If people could get comfortable with that kind of interaction, I think it would give us like transferable skills to solve all kinds of other communication problems, right. Situations where we really just need to figure out how to have a higher quality, more effective communication both ways, listening, as well as expressing….

(Continued next Saturday in Part 2)

Recorded on July 4, 2019.
Location: Granby, MA

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