Tuesday, August 7, 2012

sometimes the past comes crashing through the front door

I am sitting on my couch with a stiff drink, glad to be home and away from work, tonight they just wanted to beat me up.  My mind roams backwards as the years collect  and sometimes the past comes crashing through the front door.

 I was once a divorced woman with three young children and ambiguous child support.  "I'm a little short this month," the ex was fond of saying and he wasn't referring to his 5'7" stature.  I needed to take the highest-paying job and those gigs were not usually pleasant.

 Being a supervisor in an understaffed human services office is right up there with a root canal minus the novocaine.  I can tell you some weird stories like the greasy little pimp who offered me a position in his harem while I was smoking a cigarette outside the Scott county office, "hey little mama, you wanna make some really good money?"  Davenport Iowa is a cess pool and then there was the six-foot-plus black man who wanted to meet me in the parking lot after work to discuss why I canceled his food stamps, may the better man win.  Sometimes I get really tired of this human race.

Back in my home office I was the only supervisor in the place that day and I get a frantic call from Linda, a new worker, all of five feet short.  She was interviewing a muscular young man, he wanted food stamps and was living with his brother who had a lot of money and we had to deny his application.  He kept rhythmically pounding his fist on little Linda's desk and chanting, "some one's gonna get hurt here if I don't get what I want," what a dick.  I come into her cubicle and my goal was to get Linda out of there, so I send her on a fake errand, see what General Relief can do for this poor slob.  My mind is crazy racing and then I remember Dave, an ex-Marine social worker, 6'5" and biceps that resemble boulders. Dave and I return to the cubicle and Dave stands there with arms crossed like Mr. Clean and I say, " let me explain the policy again." That guy exited our space so fast I felt a breeze. I think he called a congressman on this one, damn welfare state.

Those early days hold a bittersweet flavor for me.  We were innocent young shining things back then and I used to silently grumble while cleaning my daughter's long hair out of the bathroom drain, but damn, I wish I could go back.

11 comments:

AmySueRose said...

Dave could be scary looking but the man had a soft heart; maybe too soft. Many battles, both abroad and here at home tragically cut his life short. That job really got to him.

dawn marie giegerich said...

Dave did have a soft heart and he was exposed to horrors that he could not process but he was not allowed to see his children after his divorce unless heavily supervised. His alcoholism severly threatened his ability to cope and focus. He blew his brains out in his girlfriend's bedroom, somewhat rude, I thought. May he find peace in whatever afterlife that may exist. I always enjoyed talking to him.

AmySueRose said...

Rude? My god, he took his life due to all his misery (a lot of his unhappiness and the repercussions, I believe, were due to time in Viet Nam and the Persian Gulf(. I think the fact that he committed suicide in his girlfriend's bedroom can be overlooked; he wasn't in his "right mind." A life snuffed out too soon.

dawn marie giegerich said...

Totally disagree. We don't get to hurt others because we're sick, depressed or desperate. Dave wasn't insane, negate the "right mind" argument, he was sad. He could have made that final choice another way. There was a message in his motive. I am inspired by the residents of my nursing home who are seriously ill and in great pain and yet remain supportive and caring to the staff. They are the heroes. Dave was an unfortunate statistic who chose not to follow the recommended course of treatment. In the end his stubborness killed him, not the wars.

Dan said...

Sounds like Dave stumbled when he should simply have done stood stock still. You play with guns, bruise your way through life, numb-out with booze ... There is `active' suicide (eat the gun), and then there is the uglier kind: passive suicide, where you grind yourself and others to grease over the course of one existential hide-and-seek after another.

I dunno. Could be he comes back as a leafcutter ant.

AmySueRose said...

Christ, we're talking about a human being here not a freakin' statistic. Maybe we should reserve judgement and/or speculation. This is between Dave and his Creator. Maybe he'll come back as a rock in the path of a cycling clinical psychologist.

Dan said...

Eh, not so sure about the `his creator' thing. Esp given the mess such folks leave for the living to clean up, figuratively and literally. Conti Gatorskins or the Schwalbe Marathons handle rocks quite well for cyclists in the trades, professions or even just meagre wage slaves.

AmySueRose said...

Have a nice life, Dan.

dawn marie giegerich said...

Dear, dear sister, perhaps you could disagree without insulting everyone at the bar. We get to have different opinions and nobody should have to get shot in the back.

AmySueRose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AmySueRose said...

Dawn, my intention was not to insult but rather to honor the memory of a man I don't think Dr. Dan even knew.
Even though we are sisters we have very different mindsets.