Scratchy Glitter

Observations for the easily irritated.

Retiring in Public

WHY I’M BURNT-OUT AND READY TO LEAVE RIGHT NOW

I give you my first 2 calls this shift:

  1. “I know you have a wreck up on Green River Road, but I’ve been sitting in traffic for half an hour, and semis keep turning around in the traffic lane. Someone needs to be out here directing traffic.”

“We don’t have enough manpower for someone to direct traffic. You’ll just have to deal with the situation.”

“But there’s a deputy on the scene just sitting in his car.”

“He’s probably doing the report.”

“Well, that won’t help all the other wrecks that are going to happen on this road. Oh well, my tax dollars at work.” CLICK.

2. “I’m calling back because I’ve been waiting for the police for half an hour.”

“We’ll send someone as soon as we have someone available.”

“Well, y’all are down here all the time any other time. What’s the problem now?”

“That is for high-priority calls. Your report run is not high-priority.”

“Well, if someone broke into your house, it would be high-priority, now wouldn’t it?”

“Not if it wasn’t in progress.”

CLICK. I hate everyone.

BUT AREN’T YOU HELPING PEOPLE?

Well, a guy called yelling, “I got in a wreck and I’m drunk! DUI, DUI!” But he was too drunk to tell me where he was, so I asked to speak to his wife, who sounded equally drunk, and yelled, “IF I KNEW WHERE I WAS, I’DA TOLD YA, YA DUMB BITCH!”

–Yes, it’s all about me. If you want it to be all about you, start your own blog.

 

Love Me 2 Times, I’m Going Away

As is traditional, I stole that from the Doors, though it was originally about a, well, much different situation.

BUT WHERE AM I GOING?

(“More to the point, where have you been?” they mutter testily.) Well, I’ve been occupied with….RETIREMENT PLANNING. Isn’t that momentous? And exciting? And scary? And hard to believe? It will occur sometime in May. So what will I be doing? (“Getting on Rom’s nerves” was mentioned as a possibility.) I like to think I’ll be resuming that writing career I abandoned in 1974, and then abandoned again in 1980, due to my congenital lack of a clue. Of course, the likelihood of my acquiring a clue at this late date is in doubt, and I am painfully aware that this sounds like Grandma Retires To Write A Novel, which is one of the major retirement clichés, judging from the vast amount of retirement-related articles I’ve been consuming lately.

IN THE MEANTIME, CRISIS IN PROGRESS CONTINUES…

“I have sort of a non-emergency.” Hardly seems worth the effort, does it? It turned out to be a female dancing in the street. The investigating deputy reported, “She’s wearing light-colored clothing.” OK, carry on.

BUT IN THE END, IT’S ALL ABOUT ME

I plan to request being assigned to city dispatch on my final day. (Although I may settle for not being phones, and they would be well-advised to indulge me.) I promise not to end a reckless driving BOL with “Authority tattletale.” Although I was able the other day to say, “Subject texting and driving, authority of another subject talking on a cell phone while driving.” See, I’m just a loose cannon anyway. They’ll be well rid of me.

It’s touching to hear people say things like, “I’m glad I got to work with a legend!” Though one wonders, legendary for what? Skulking in the corner? Not talking? Producing a blog of questionable utility? Someone also called me “winsome,” which is absolutely a first, although it beats “hateful creature,” which is what Nick came up with.

Elastic Reality

…is what you get in the land of alternative facts. Actually, you are now at a prime source of alternative facts. For all you know, Nick might not really have wings and a scaly tail.

DEPARTMENT OF ? AND !

There is an afro wig lying in the gutter on N. Barker Avenue.

YOU DON’T SAY!

Down the street from the abandoned afro wig was a small black car. On its back window were the words “I Am the Captain of My Life and the Master of My Destiny.”  The car must have belonged to the guy I talked to the other night, who said, “I got a warrant, but don’t send an officer. I’m gonna turn myself in. I don’t want to get arrested on anyone else’s terms.” Wait, isn’t getting arrested the exact opposite of “on your own terms”? Not that I’d know, but you hear stories.

STORIES LIKE THIS ONE!

Brought to you by The Loud Guy On the Bus!

“Yeah, we just brought him in and laid him in the bathtub. Then all the cops showed up and asked me, ‘What do you have to do with the guy who’s laying here shot in the head?’ And I was all like, ‘I don’t know nothin’, I just got here 3  minutes ago,’ ’cause the only thing I care about is whether I go to jail or not, y’know? ‘Cause I ain’t been before a judge for 20 months.”  His personal best, I’m sure.

On to McDonald’s, where the Table of Retired Guys was in session to discuss the issues of the day. One gentleman opined that Obama was, too, born in Kenya (to their credit, his companions corrected him, about that and about Obama’s mother being a Muslim), and that, if you use McDonald’s Wi-Fi {spell-check just capitalized Wi-Fi for me, and I take no responsibility for that decision}, everyone else in the building can see what you’re doing on the internet. {Apparently we’re not capitalizing “internet” anymore.} The opinion was also expressed that someone “oughta be shot for treason,” and I was very tempted to butt in and say, “You mean Trump, for colluding with the Russians?” Actually, I wouldn’t have been butting in, because they regularly ask about Alien Finger (which remains Basically Functional But Not Quite Like a Finger That Has Never Been Dislocated) and express hope that I will soon retire and join them. They will be sorry if I do, because I heard them refer to Catholics as “usually good people, but they’ve been brainwashed,” and I can argue the Reformation all afternoon, and twice on Sundays, thanks to Sunday bus service!

THIS JUST IN

–Archer, 5 years old: “I like diamond shapes. They’re aerodynamic.”

Speaking of things that are aerodynamic, Nick wants me to think that I’ll never break his heart of stone, but I suspect I already have. See, Nick? This time I parenthesized the post with references to you. Satisfied? You are like Cat Esmerelda, nagging me for belly rubs.

 

Alternative Facts

CRISIS IN PROGRESS

“Suspect was wearing a colorful muumuu.”

“Intoxicated subject got out of his car and tried to start a fight. Started to leave and now his car won’t start.”

MARKETING FAIL

EBay sends me emails regularly saying things like, “Paula! Check out what people are watching

{THIS SPACE NOT INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK}

most on Ebay this week!” As if that determines my buying habits. But they recently sent me one that said, and I quote, “You’re really going to like this, FirstName!” You know me so well, AuctionSite!

ANOTHER MARKETING FAIL

Rom said he saw Donald Trump walk out on stage to the inspiring sound of the Rolling Stones’ “Heart of Stone.” Did Trump actually listen to the words of that song? At the risk of being sued by the watchful agents of Mick Jagger:

“There’ve been so many girls that I’ve known

I’ve made so many cry, and still I wonder why

Here comes a little girl, I see her walking down the street

She’s all by herself, but she’ll never break this heart of stone

What’s different about her? I don’t really know

No matter how I try, I just can’t make her cry

Don’t keep on looking that same old way

If you try acting sad, you’ll only make me glad”

Now if he only wants to go by the title, the Stones’ catalog has countless options, including As Tears Go By, Under My Thumb, and my favorite Stones song, Paint It Black. Rom suggests Sympathy for the Devil, but that might be too obvious.

FORCES ARRAYED AGAINST ME

–the President

–the bus service

–the Diocese of Evansville

List will be augmented as necessary.

ROBO-DISPATCH 3000!

At the rate they’re going computerizing everything, eventually the only thing that won’t be done by robots is answering the phone. But Rom said, “Wouldn’t it be great if robots did answer 911? They’d be impervious to the drama! All the screaming and cussing would have no effect!” Hey, just have robots answer the phone, and I’ll do everything else. I keep reading advice that says it’s foolish to retire at 62, but sometimes I think that I’ll Just Snap.

IT’S BEEN 30 YEARS…

We will soon be inundated by trainees, an event that resembles the Hunger Games, or maybe Survivor.

MEETING TRAINEES AS I LIKE TO IMAGINE IT

“Approach with caution. She has been here 30 years, and is very wise and very dangerous.”

–I emerge hissing from under a rock.

MEETING TRAINEES AS IT ACTUALLY HAPPENS

“This is Thing #1, #2, #3, #4, and #5.”

–I hurry past, avoiding eye contact.

THIS JUST IN

Fiona and Archer are, as you may remember, 5. Sample conversation from the back seat:

“She’s poking me with a sword!”

Mother: “Give me the sword.”

“Now she’s poking me with the sword holder!”

Mother: “Give me that, too. Don’t poke your brother.”

“I just wanted to show him how it feels.”

The relations among nations are determined by the same principles. Like the relations among nations, negotiations soon degenerated into a conflict over who had started it, and what importance that fact should have in the larger scheme of things.

IN CASE YOU WERE UNAWARE…

The title is taken from Kellyanne Conway’s term for what used to be known as lying.

WAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

 

 

 

 

Sarcastic Asides Aside…

DID YOU KNOW?

A study found that sarcasm sharpens brainpower in both the giver and the recipient! Good news for masters of sarcasm such as Nick and myself, who need a safe word just to engage in ordinary conversation. The study did note, however, that “the maker of the remark generally found it funnier than did the recipient.” Well, duh.

911 TEST RESPONSES

Caller: “How many times do I have to call about this red Prius that’s been circling the block?”

PICK ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:

“That’s entirely up to you, sir.”

“Since the red Prius has yet to do anything more than circle the block, it’d be fine with me if you never called at all.”

“5”

“I take it this is a rhetorical question?”

“How do you expect me to answer that?”

“Now that you’ve made your dramatic statement, can we move on?”

WHAT I ACTUALLY DID:

–Said nothing until he said, “You there?,” and then resumed information-gathering as if the question had never been asked. Often, nothing is the best thing I can say.

 

Better Work Habits

Remember those? I don’t, either.

I have been home with a cold, and feeling diseased and gross. I used up an entire box of tissues (DISCLAIMER: one of the smaller cube-shaped ones) (with roses on it!) (OK, I BOUGHT OUT WALGREEN’S ENTIRE SUPPLY OF THOSE, ALRIGHT??)  in a day and a half.

Secret Santa at work gave me a fuzzy throw, decorated (in a rather macabre fashion) with cat heads, and it is the WORLD’S SOFTEST THING. So sometimes I sit there just feeling it. Yes, I have a Security Blanket, and woe to the one who attempts to take it from me.

MY APOLOGY TO THE BUS SERVICE

–Their new changes are only half as annoying as I portrayed them to be. Further details are too boring to present here.

PINK & RED ALL OVER

Valentine stuff has been spotted at Area Drugstores. It has been at Walmart since December, I’ve been told, but Walmart is evil and I don’t go there. Aside from their corporate policies, any place with aisles higher than my head needs to be no bigger than Walgreens, or it makes me nervous.

AND SPEAKING OF MY NERVES…

I was thinking of all the people who’ve said (over the past 30 years), “I could never work at 911! I couldn’t handle the stress!” After all the jobs I couldn’t handle the stress of, why am I still here?

You know what I’ve found most stressful about the job? In the early 90’s, they decided we would benefit from training with/observing other agencies. So we had frequent “field trips”–to the ambulance service, firehouse, the new jail, basically anyplace they could think of. (Luckily, the visit to the morgue was optional, although the visit of the Crime Scene tech with grisly color pictures was NOT, THANK YOU VERY MUCH, THE WORDS “CRIME SCENE IN-SERVICE” STILL FILL ME WITH HORROR.) I thought, What ever happened to the job I agreed to, where I go to the place and just stay there until I leave?

Now, I don’t handle unfamiliar settings very well. (Yeah, I know, how can they become familiar if I don’t embrace new experiences, etc.) So, while I was supposed to be absorbing new information, I would be sweaty-palmed and queasy, thinking about how far away from home I was. And mandatory police ride-alongs were the ultimate “state of frozen horror,” as Nick so eloquently puts it.

I’ve actually become better about that whole thing with the years, but this was back before I’d developed any coping mechanisms. But even now, talk of road trips–travel generally, in fact–or variations in planned itinerary, or TOO MUCH itinerary (you know, “While we’re across town, why don’t we stop at That Other Place, too?”)  makes me uneasy.

So, do you feel like you understand me now? Neither do I. Understand myself, I mean.

 

 

Ramen & Zombies

Rom wants you to know that it wasn’t his fault I was eating ramen on New Year’s Eve. I’d actually had a weird craving for it. It’s almost like food!

Nick, you may have another stalker. Someone was reading all the posts tagged Theater of Cruelty, probably hoping to find out who or what you are. Or maybe they were searching in vain for a reference to 20th-century experimental French drama.

Speaking of experimental drama, I added some features to the blog–search bar, etc.–but they remain resolutely stuck at the bottom of the screen, defying my attempts to relocate  them to all that empty space on the sides. So, should you want a search bar, tag cloud, blogroll, etc., you’ll have to scroll alll the way down.

A CALL I JUST RECEIVED

“911–”

“Is this the satellite? Please don’t tell me no. I need my SIM card registered and get this s**t jumpin’ Obama-style, or we’ll go Patriot Act on this mother*cker.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I’m talkin’ about I need some money sent my way, ’cause I sent somethin’ their way.”

“This is 911. We don’t send people money.”

“That’s what they always say. I’m high. Goodbye.”

AND ON MY VERY OWN STREET

“Complaint of kids jumping into the street acting like zombies.” Maybe they were zombies. The apocalypse has to start somewhere.

TRUE CONFESSION

An exasperated supervisor sent an email saying, “Why do people unwrap a new roll of toilet paper but don’t put it in the dispenser?” I’m normally a stickler for that sort of thing myself, but I Am The One You Warned Me Of at work (or one of the ones), because once upon a time while trying to change it I broke a fingernail, by some mechanism not yet fully understood, so I’ve feared a similar fate ever since. But I promise to do better in the future, by avoiding whichever stall is running low on toilet paper.

 

 

 

 

Irregular Features

TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF

  1. This is not a good time of year for finding new leaves.
  2. If you find one, it’ll probably have a stink bug under it anyway.

Be that as it may, Blog School, which I finally finished (it’s supposed to be 2 weeks, but I took that at-your-own-pace provision seriously) recommends promising you a Regular Feature to encourage myself to post regularly, but since posting regularly in itself would be a surprise, here you are!. I’m not sure what kind of Feature would work in this admittedly freewheeling format, but maybe I’ll come up with something later.

So here I sit, eating M&M’s in proper colorlogical order, from my least to my most favorite colors (brown-yellow-green-orange-red-blue–if the vending machine doesn’t give me any blue ones, I am entitled to get a 2nd handful to rectify the situation).

I am freshly back from vacation, and was ready to go back on it with my first baby-daddy call. “My baby daddy almost hit my other ex-boyfriend and his parents with his car! We never have gotten along.” Then why did you have sex with a guy you don’t like? Another baby mama called me a “stupid-@ss bitch.” Hey, I don’t have a baby-daddy, so I suspect I’m smarter than you are. Of course, she probably doesn’t have to think about M&M’s before she eats them. We all have our own gifts and abilities.

YOU CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE

METS Transportation has finally done what they’ve tried to do for years and cut the West Side bus service down to a single route. (Since they have meager resources, because PROPERTY TAX CAPS, they had to do it to make room for Sunday bus service.) So now, if I’m going to work and need to head north, I have to get on a bus headed south. If I’m headed home and need to go south, I have to get on a bus headed north. It’s like it’s uphill both ways. (It actually is uphill both ways, since there is more than one hill involved.) Walking the whole way, rather than going around in circles on the bus, may actually save me time. How To Meet Your Weight-Loss Resolution Goals!

THINGS YOU SHOULDN’T DO WHEN YOU’RE DRUNK

–Cut your toenails.

DRAMA DEPARTMENT

“My relatives were visiting for New Year’s, and they left something that looks sketchy.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s a pipe and some kind of plastic pack.”

It turned out to be a nightlight and a battery pack.

THINGS WALGREEN’S THINKS I NEED, ACCORDING TO MY FACEBOOK FEED

–shave gel (although they were uncertain what scent I’d prefer)

–something to reinforce my earlobes so I could wear injuriously heavy earrings

–something that would enable me to pee in a car

DID YOU KNOW?

–I used a Crown Royal bag as a purse in high school? That’s how much of a hipster I was. I’ve never tasted Crown Royal.

HOW I SPENT NEW YEAR’S EVE

Rom said, “You’re having a redneck New Year’s Eve–on the couch, drinking Redd’s and eating ramen.”

 

 

 

He’ll Seize You When You’re Sleeping

Though it’s hard to tell, I am still in Blog School. The most recent assignment was to look at other people’s posts who had been inspired by the word “conundrum.” I found that disheartening. They all wrote thoughtful things, and I told you about getting locked in a bathroom stall. You deserve better, but then, you didn’t deserve Donald Trump, either, and look what happened.

I had a very good Christmas. For one thing, apparently it was written in the stars that this year, Taureans would be given socks. (No, Nick, I do not actually believe in astrology. Now you are thinking, “Then how can you believe in Catholicism, which has no more proof of being true?” but you won’t actually say it. Now you are thinking, “I’m not that predictable,” and you will most likely actually say that, unless you bite your tongue and refuse to do so, to keep me from thinking you’re predictable. Yeah, you may as well admit defeat.)

I was wondering why it hurt to type, then realized I have a sizable cut on my finger, with no recollection of how it got there. But I will nobly persevere in The Creative Process, or whatever you call this. Speaking of fingers, Alien Finger (you know, the one I inconsiderately dislocated back in May) is, I would say, at about 87% functionality, and continues to inch forward toward 90%, but not without numerous stretching sessions and occasional pain which, on a scale of 1-10, I would rate at 1. Except for handling an umbrella in the wind, which I would rate at 2.

OUR REVIEW-ORIENTED SOCIETY

Every business you deal with these days wants you to review it. Best of all is when they say, “Did you find this review helpful?” Do you realize you’re asking me to REVIEW A REVIEW? So here is:

MY ALL-PURPOSE REVIEW WHICH APPLIES ACROSS THE BOARD

–Have a real person answer the phone.

–That person should be in this country.

–Don’t let your sales be mostly “Buy One, Get One Half Price.” If it’s stuff like body wash or vitamins, it takes up twice the space in my closets, and then I forget I still had one left and go buy another one. (Hey, maybe that’s what they’re counting on!) If it’s food, it’s twice as many sandwiches as I need, because I Eat Alone.

–Stop nagging me to pay my bills online. I don’t want my bill-paying to be dependent on my internet access. Create a job and hire someone to open my envelopes, instead of expecting me to input my payment information into your computer system for you.

–When your nagging fails, don’t change your policies to make it next-to-impossible to do anything but deal with you online. Firefighter’s Credit Union and Federal Government, I’m looking at you. Such a change in policies is always called Bringing Our Customer Service Into the Twenty-First Century.

Would you believe I had a head full of ideas that were driving me insane (to quote my favorite Nobel laureate, Bob Dylan), none of which I could remember? So you got these ideas instead.

Between Stability and Punctuated Equilibrium

The title is an actual remark Rom made about our current political situation. I am on vacation and too drunk to explain what he meant. Except that he added, “We might as well be wearing straw fedoras.”

Since I’m on vacation, “Crisis in Progress” has been temporarily suspended. {Note: I am drunk, disregard any typos.} Nevertheless, I feel compelled to inflict you with (I don’t think that’s the verb I  wanted, but alcohol intervened.) (Nick, stop frowning, or I will smite you at my earliest opportunity.) the following.

THINGS NOT TO DO WITH 911

“I don’t know east from west, I’m not from here.” Yeah, east and west are just terms we use only in SouthWest Indiana.

WHY, when we ask, “What color and type of vehicles were involved?” in an accident, do they answer, “I have a 2003 Chevy Impala.” DID I NOT SAY COLOR? WHAT DO YOU THINK OFFICERS LOOKING FOR YOU WILL NOTICE FIRST?

In a related vein, we have–

“911–”

“CXZ915!”

“Excuse me?”

“That’s the license plate! Write it down!”

“Why, exactly?”

“They almost cut me off!”

“OK, what color and type of vehicle was it?” (I say, ignoring the fact that “almost cut me off” doesn’t really count unless they actually succeed in doing so.)

“Why are you asking me that? You have the license plate!”

Well, A.) The vehicle might not be properly licensed, and B.) Which do you think the responding officers will notice first? The license number or the COLOR?

OK, I’ve had enough for now.

 

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