Thursday, October 31, 2013

stalkers and pervs

I am standing in line at the Legion hall and the smell of burned hash browns surrounds me. We are buying tickets for yet another veterans' breakfast and up ahead I see my cousin and the man she had an affair with during her rocky marriage. This woman has a college degree and yet she allows herself to be seen in public with a guy who sports a mullet. That particular side of my family is full of shady types and they all married stalkers and pervs. Thank god my mother's side boasted honest farmers and gas station owners or I would never have achieved any kind of social acceptability.

I have nothing to do but stand and stare as they have run out of sausages and nobody's budging until they get some. This is Iowa and we take our pig meat seriously. There's an open bar and $3.00 bloody marys, garsh I wish I liked tomato juice but I get myself a can of diet Coke, the next best thing to booze. There is an enormous man on the bar stool and there's something about him that spells familiar. And then I see them. Zebra-colored snakeskin boots peeking out from his jeans. Can it be Terry?, the guy I lived with before I met the present husband.

Terry was from North Dakota just yards from the Canadian border where it is so cold the men never turn off the ignition in their trucks. Was he a cowboy, yes he was and no citizen in my county would ever be caught in those ugly striped boots.

He lived with me for several years and then I kicked him out, what a jerk but we still dated because I was 43 and convinced no other man would look at me. And then there's that popular theory that desperate women hold onto that starts out, "He'll change, I'll just give it more time." When he stopped showing up for major holidays I thought this calls for some investigation and sure enough, I saw him pushing a shopping cart at our local Sam's and nudging up against a younger woman.

And here they are sloshing down alcohol at nine in the morning and part of me, a very large part wants to go up to him and say, "Terry? Terry, is that you? I didn't recognize you. You got so fat! Oh, and is this your wife? Is she the one you were cheating with when you were dating me?" And I have actually played this conversation in my head many times over the years and I might just make it a reality some day. Why not, the schmuck has it coming. I just can't figure out how to finish the conversation, I need a real zinger to wrap it up.

Curses, this place is teeming with ill-reputed louses. I was never one of those people who remained friends with my exes. I cross the street when I see them coming. After all, they know too many of my secrets.

Friday, October 25, 2013

I'm calling the husband to remind him not to call me as I will be in a meeting. I want my phone on because there is an ill grandson laying on my couch and I need to be available.

I'm not a good listener. I believe this is in part because I find most conversation trivial and uninteresting. I abhor small talk and I always get right to the point when I'm on the phone. I really don't need to know how you are nor do I need to divulge similar information about myself to you.

I also distract easily. My attention level rivals that of a three-old and this makes classroom situations a chore. I always sit in the front so I can focus better by observing the speaker's neck fat or shoes. Sr. Bonita, the administrator of my place of employment, will do the honors. She doesn't like me and I do not like her. She administrates like a bad high school principal and oh wait! She was a bad high school principal in her younger days. I've seen her take down some of her finest employees, make them look cheap and unprinicpaled and always in front of other workers. She has a love of negativity and can sniff it out in any situation and person and display it for all to see.

The topic of the lecture is stewardship and I would rather hear a speech on creamed corn. It's just another ploy for the frugal Franciscans to remind us not to waste their money. We can't even throw a snippet of paper away. It needs to be reused like the empty candy boxes that become drawer dividers or CDs that can be art projects. I am watching a tiny drop of spittle form on Sister's lower lip when my phone rings. Her eyes lock on mine like a crocodile discovering a bunny that has hopped too close. I fear I may wet my pants and I jump up and mumble "sick grandchild at home."

A couple of years ago I was asked to write our annual Christmas play and it swelled my head and I produced a 97-page script later scaled down to 14 per my boss's request. It was full of talking candy canes and dancing elves and I admit, it was heavy on the secular stuff but truly that is the spirt of Christmas, don't lie to yourselves. Other plays in years past dwelled heavily on manger scenes and angels we have heard on high so I let the bell choir sing "Silent Night," the only song they knew unless you count the chorus from "I'm Just Wild About Harry." Sister Bonita always sent the play author a hand-written thank you note and I saw her leave my performance after only ten minutes and I never got a note.

And oh, it's the husband on the phone, the guy who never checks his voice mail, just the call history. "Did you call? What do you want?"
Your head on a platter.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

stupid meeting

"I'm going to my stupid meeting," I yell at my husband and he's buried in his man cave watching Family Feud.  "Murgf," he replies, his mouth full of cashews.

My place of employment has started a new procedure in training techniques and it's called the ten-minute stand-up meeting.
"What stupid person came up with this one," I email my boss. "Oh, unless it was you than I need to say this is highly creative and inspirational on your part."

Research shows that a group of people needs five minutes to settle in and focus on a speaker which is why speakers use jokes and ice-breakers for those first five minutes, hey, here's my personality, get used to it, I'll be talking to you for awhile. But a ten-minute meeting?  Will there be time for questions?  You know, the questions people spout out who don't want to go back to work. I've never liked those lazy SOBs. They're the ones who sit on the edge of my desk every Monday morning, dawdling, holding coffee mugs that say I NEED A NAP and ask how my weekend went and they actually want to know.

Sara, the little HR supervisor is our speaker. We will be witnessing changes in our buildings the next few weeks, she drones blah blah. There are two men in our group, Dan the Man, our resident social worker and Lance, a tall gay guy who resembles Ichabod Crane, Adam's apple and all and he publishes a column in our monthly news letter. He writes things like, "it was in the opening prayer that the Archbishop's expression of gratitude to those who work the hardest, giving diligent, persistent service every day and I felt he was speaking to me directly and this was especially touching for me as a CNA/Direct Care Professional." Yes, he actually writes stuff like that.

When I first knew Lance I accidentally called him Fran, the name of another gay man I knew.  I loved the real Fran. When I ripped my ear lobe from a pierced earring I complained about switching to clamp earrings. Fran said, "you look so sexy when you rub that sore lobe, just like the movie actresses in the 40's." He was a hair stylist and when I asked how I should style my do he said, "just don't let your hair hide your face." How could I not love this man?

Lance did not like being called Fran so he kind of snubs me. I sometimes mock his columns to my co-workers and they find it hilarious but come on, the articles beg for ridicule. Sometimes I need an audience despite the introvert I am.

Dan the Man stands up dwarfing little Sara and rearranges his belt over a bulging belly. Dan, yoo hoo, time to start wearing baggy polo shirts. He is giving a little speech of his own, monopolizing our time and Sara's grin is starting to look a little stretched and ridiculous. She says she will pass his information on to our CEO and then she quickly ends the meeting. As I grab my notebook with no notes I see Dan making a bee line towards her with more of his hype. So glad I have a peon job.


Thursday, October 10, 2013


I need to tell you the rest of my jury duty story because by doing that I will impart to you important information on the general population, specifically the behavior of the moron section.

After two and a half days we were ready for deliberation. This young defendant had been arrested for operating under the influence and he refused all four impairment tests that would have proved his innocence if indeed he had been. We had four officers testify to his drunken behavior and we saw video tape recorded in three locations and the young man was stumbling over nothing and slurring his words as he directed his ire at anyone wearing a uniform.

Our foreman asked us how we intended to vote.  I was certain we would be unanimous in our observations about the boy's wrongdoing. Ms. Sequins was seated to his immediate left and when he turned to her she shifted uneasily in her seat, "I don't want to be the first one to go." I interpreted this as she knew her vote might be contrary to the rest of us who had decided not to dress in t-shirts with Harley Davidson spelled out in pink sequins and if she went last she could change her vote to avoid embarrassment from the elitists that surrounded her. And I was correct.

she probably has this shirt, too
In the end there were three people who decided the guy was not guilty, Ms. Sequins and a young girl who lived ninety miles from this city but had forgotten to change her address, and this runty guy with a bullet-shaped head who was always asking for smoke breaks. He was pushy and loud and often interrupted people especially the women so he could get his own point across. He had been divorced twice, picked up for two OWIs himself and  his 16-old daughter had been in a car accident yesterday and had been ticketed for that and resisting arrest.  I hated the man instantly.

He didn't like it that all four officers had given the exact same testimony, he would have had more confidence in voting guilty if one of them had come up with a contrary story. Huh? When the defendant asked the officer at the police station if he was being arrested the deputy answered, "you think?" (video tape) Runty thought this was harassing and abusive behavior and disqualified the man's testimony based on just those two words. And this went on an on. Ms. Sequins added none of this would have happened if  he hadn't been stopped for a faulty license light . . . so it's okay to be guilty, just don't get caught.

Here's my theory. All three of these people were marginal, rebels without causes and I knew they had lots of tattoos under their clothes. They wanted to be contrary to be contrary. And the rational people of the world paid these guys no heed but today we were trapped by their malfunctioning thought processes and we had to sit and listen as they attempted to dissuade us. We could not just shrug our shoulders and dismiss them like we had dismissed so many of their kind before. So we, the sane guys locked eyes across the table and tried to keep our building angers from blasting out at those three stooges. They were having their day in court literally and we had no choice but listen to their ramblings.

The judge called us back and said if we could not make a decision we were coming back for a fourth day of endless courtroom hilarity and the prosecutor was not looking happy. Back we trudged to those hard wooden chairs and the three people changed their votes, just like that. I would never have given up my conviction, not even if I was sprawled on the floor and Runty's boot was poised above my face.

God, I hate people.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

i hate this woman

On weekends I share the pool with college students who teach small fry how to swim.  I enjoy watching screaming toddlers thrown in the water as much as the next guy but I'm also glad for the distraction. Swimming for ninety minutes does not allow you to do anything productive on the side like peeling potatoes or clipping coupons.

And then Caroline walked in dragging her spawn behind her, an eight-year-old boy with the same albino hair shade as his mother. I hate this woman. I worked with her a few years back at a second-rate nursing facility run by a bunch of Texans who previously  manufactured tires. She was an occupational therapist fresh out of school, first job EVER at a time when therapies first exploded on the medical market, thank you Medicare. I mean you shouldn't have to pay ninety bucks an hour to relearn how to comb your hair. Mothers have been doing this for free for years.

Caroline was 26 years old and still living with her parents and was not responsible for a lick of housework. In the early days when we were still friendly I recommended it was time to move out and begin a real grown-up's life. The next day she bought a $60,000 pick-up truck and couldn't "possibly take on the added burden of rent and a water bill."

She had a boyfriend named Frosty, never did hear the explanation for that one and he regularly made her cry "but he always apologizes later."  I was torn between concern and loss of respect for this mouseketeer.

Her most annoying feature was a lack of professionalism and granted, I set the bar high but I am the oldest Catholic daughter raised by a Marine. Our residents were ancient people and their children were retired and living on the golf course. At care plan meetings Caroline would inevitably say how "awesome your mom is doing and she's so cute, too!!!" Caroline was immune to the cringing looks on their faces. She was only able to interpret a very shallow slice of the action in front of her.

When I tried to talk to her about this she started crying and then jumped management channels and actually called the big wig of that undisciplined facility, some honcho living several hundred miles away who wore a white cowboy hat when he visited us once a year. I was called on the carpet and I realized I needed to work somewhere else where management did the employee damage control and not the cute little social worker I was at the time.

I transferred to another facility and Caroline was actually one of the minor reasons, maybe not a reason at all. And wham! bam! my trainer was no other than Caroline's mother. I could tell by the way she narrowed her eyes at me that Caroline had filled her in on my story and she unfairly had misrepresented me as she had done to Cowboy Bob. "I like your hair," I said to Patricia who was wearing a brown football helmet for a coiffure but it was really shiny. "I was poor when I grew up and I learned to do my own hair," she spit at me. Holy Protective Mothers, Batman and Caroline, grow the fuck up.