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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ah - um

        Last thursday was the first session with the therapist who assigned to me during the study. It has been my purpose to volunteer for research groups as my small way of giving back something, repaying the future for all the kindness afforded me in the past. Previously when I have volunteered my time for surveys some longer than an hour in duration, I have received a small stipen, ten dollars, fifteen dollars or nothing, the money really doesn't matter, it is not necessary to be paid for a gift I give, but when then do offer the stipen I do not refuse. Being unemployed for more than fifteen years it makes me feel good to get paid once in a while, just to remember what it was like to have money paid to me. But I digress, the research project is being conducted by telephone. Two weeks before the call from the therapist there was a call from a research assistant who asked me questions for two and a half hours. The questions I suspect were a control, asking me how I felt about certain things and to what degree positively or what degree negatively. Like the calls you would get from a company you had just made a purchase from. But in this project, the research assistant and the therapist do not have any communication, and what is discusses is not shared. Like a blind research project when they test drugs, some people in the research group do not get the drug that is being tested instead they get a saline solution or sugar pill. Before I continue, I did receive twenty dollars for the two and one half hour call from the research assistant, in case you were wondering. The project is to last a year, with weekly phone calls for about two months with intervention strategies from the therapist and then follow up survey questions from the research assistant, along with mail containing program guides and forms and cd's with instructions. This is what appears to be a serious research project, me in Missouri and all the researchers in Washington State.
        So, the phone call on thursday was from a therapist at the University,  who had two masters degrees, I didn't ask if I should use the title master when addressing the therapist, I was not going to call anyone master! This was another long phone call, lasting nearly two hours. During this time, I did not say very much, I just listened to instructions and once in a while asked a clarifying question. During the call I mentioned that the therapist said um a lot, and that I was a very suggestive individual and did not want to be hearing myself say um a lot, and that I would not feel kindly if I did. The therapist was quiet and took the comment in stride and continued with um before every sentence, and noticed once in a while a um.
        Since thursday I have been doing the work and keeping the log and thinking about the project from the point of view that maybe I will learn something, and that I am committed to the project for the benefit of the future no matter what, except of course if I cease to exist, therefore negating the contract, and I do not expect that to happen for at least another year, unless of course Surprise!
        Then Sunday morning with breakfast I began my usual viewing of Booktv on C-Span 2. It is a program where various writers are interviewed about the subject of their latest tome. A very informative segment of tv. There have been discussions about the murder rate in Baltimore Maryland, about a book called Why Do We Kill. That discussion was so interesting that I ordered the book from a vendor on Amazon, and after two weeks and no delivery an answer to an inquiry email told me that the vendor was out of business - I did not notice, maybe they were in Baltimore. There was another interview with a professor who wrote a book about soldiers during three different wars spanning three hundred years, and the differences in combat soldiers. During the civil war soldiers stood side by side and fought side by side. Hadn't really thought too much about that except when I would see civil war movies, but the prof did the research and spoke about some of his findings. Then there was a discussion about women in elected office in America, and how there is not much opportunity for the female because eighty three percent of the electorate, house and senate, are male and the incumbents, and incumbents are usually reelected. Mention was also that there are more women in America than men and these women have generally since the nineteen nineties, have voted democratic. Well as you see it is a diverse program with time for anyone who wants an introduction to thoughts on other peoples minds, something to ponder about. What was especially interesting, which I had not noticed before, or had not happened before, was that the professors or other writers interviewed also used um before most of their sentences and there were others who used ah. There were five um's to two ah's and one abstention. All these educated, very educated individuals had the selfconsious need to um and ah as the audience viewed. Now, if I find myself joining the ranks of the ah, um group, I can not hold the therapist totally responsible and in all fairness must report my findings to said therapist, um -ah, in case I don't!

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