Here's an easy way to keep life interesting: never take on something you're qualified to do. You'll learn a lot more that way. (However, it's usually nice to give others fair warning you're playing things by ear and apologize for the inevitable messes that happen along the way.) On the other hand, it also tends to lead to occasional moments of "OH MY GOD, WHAT AM I DOING HERE?"

I wonder if the guy who said to only hire people smarter than yourself ever felt guilty about being the dumbest person in the office.

Getting back into the OLPC volunteer community has been an exhilarating but exhausting ride (although the latter may also be due to getting sick). I've certainly gained a lot more sympathy for tech support - my own emails and phone calls to customer service centers have become markedly more appreciative ever since dealing with angry users. (I think I went a little overboard on that one, but it ended up being useful to others, so - getting somewhere.)

Fortunately, the uplifting incidents outstrip the frustrating ones. I've seen how people can fly off the handle and attack, insult, and provoke without seemingly trying to understand the other side of the story, but I've also seen people handle things calmly, graciously, and with more tact and patience than I would ever be able to muster up myself under the same circumstances. I've got a lot to learn from them. It's still really hard for me not to flame back in return. (I do have a temper. A very, very bad one.)

Also, it does hurt every time I hear my friends on the OLPC volunteer support-gang get yelled at. They're full-time parents, students, workers - spending their free evenings listening to angry people blaming them for problems they didn't cause and trying to help them anyway. We're not perfect, but we're trying our best.

It's both a curse and a blessing to be able to care about people and causes deeply. I guess that's why they say love hurts.

On a lighter note, my favorite "support call" today was with my aunt, who's trying to debug the wifi on her XO. Since I'm in Chicago and she's in Seattle and I'm hearing-impaired and have bronchitis, things ended up with me typing on my laptop screen in English while lipreading my mom talking to her sister on the phone in Fookien, and information relaying back and forth that way. It was fun.