Scratchy Glitter

Observations for the easily irritated.

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The Second Secret

This is what we call posting semi-regularly. (I am trying to ignore Cat Esmerelda yelling for attention behind me.) (In case you thought cats were low-maintenance.)

TWO DAYS LATER…

What else were you expecting?

In analyzing How My Job Affected Me & Why I Blog About It–most dispatchers want to be perceived as Caring Professionals. We do care, of course–we want the bad guy to be caught and the baby to start breathing again. But our management likes to tell us, “Imagine that it’s your friend or family member calling when you answer 911.” It doesn’t work that way. It cannot work that way. Emergency-services people among themselves have a dark sense of humor. Those who can’t develop one don’t last past training. (I do remember one trainee who used to lecture her trainers about their attitude. Just think of how that went over.)

That being said, I’ve heard colleagues say that this job has made everyone cry at one time or another. (I guess that’s why the restroom floor has a drain, to dispose of dispatcher tears.)  But I have never cried because of work. (Cursed, yes.) However, it’s also said that everyone who’s been doing the job for any length of time has a Call That Haunts Them. I actually have one of those, and that’s the second secret. No one has heard this story before but Rom.

It was while we were still downtown. I was the calltaker. (We had only one back then–quaint, isn’t it?) I took a suicide call.

Now suicide calls–the ones made by the actual suicidal person, not by family members or friends–have always been my most-hated part of the job. I never felt like I knew what to say, and the consequences of saying the wrong thing might be terrible. This guy had stabbed himself in the abdomen with a screwdriver, then regretted it and called 911. And he was fading fast, and could not remember his address.

This was in the 80’s, when we did not have even the rudimentary GPS capabilities we have now. The guy could give me the numerics of his address–and did so repeatedly–but he could not remember the name of the street. I kept asking, but every time I asked, he just repeated the numbers and trailed off. Time was running out, and I was frantic to get the information. I felt so helpless, and kept thinking, If he can remember the numbers, why can’t he remember the street?, and I kind of snapped at him.

Eventually, his brother called in and gave us the address, and we got everybody out there, but by then it was too late. Ever since then, I’ve wondered, if I hadn’t spoken to him irritably, would he have been able to remember? I suppose it’s equally possible that my sharp tone might have jolted him out of his daze. But anyway, I wish I’d managed to remain professional throughout, which surely would have improved the chances.Oh well.

I also had some of the usual silly stuff to write, but it doesn’t really fit well after this, so I will just leave it for now.

Oh, in case anyone was wondering what was my most-favorite part of the job–that would be monitoring the tactical channel on SWAT callouts.

 

 

 

Look, Nick’s on TV!

–Rom said he thought Mark Wahlberg wasn’t yanking the chain hard enough, but then said, “Well, then he might choke the poor thing.” The poor thing in question has actually gotten somewhat bigger since then, so the ears don’t look so prominent, and the barbs on the tail had not yet developed. And no, I can’t move the video closer to the top of the post, and in fact, for all I know, it might not even play once I hit “Publish.”

MCDONALD’S FOLLIES

–Trying to guess which people belong to which vehicle: The pickup with Browning Buckmark logo (designed by my brother-in-law!) and “REDNECK” across the back windshield? Probably the guy with the t-shirt that says “Her Buck” on it. Probably not the skinny guy with long blonde hair, Indiana Jones hat, and tie-dye Allman Brothers t-shirt, although I bet he’s a redneck also.

–A couple snuck in the back door of McDonald’s with food from somewhere else, including chips and drinks, and settled down to eat it at a back table. They even grabbed a bunch of McDonald’s napkins.

–Kids’ lives are filled with nagging. “Is that yours? No? Then don’t grab for it.” “Don’t do that, it’s gross.” After all, how else will you learn what’s gross? There might be another culture in which licking the condensation off the outside of your drink cup is perfectly acceptable.

A CAN OF BABY CORN WAS SIGHTED IN A CERTAIN PERSON’S LOCKER. THE CONSPIRACY LIVES ON IN MY ABSENCE. See ancient posts tagged “Conspiracy News” for details. Don’t know how to look those up? Neither do I.

Crisis Averted

You must excuse any typos because I’m pretty drunk right now. Nick, you may avert your gaze.

THE LEGENDARY RETIREMENT PARTY

Disclaimer: Drunk enough to make many typos, sober enough to correct them.

Who would have thought I’d ever be popular enough to reserve a whole room at Hacienda? (Notice: Let’s see how well I do at Chuck E. Cheese on Sunday.) The most decadent thing I did was get chip crumbs in my hair–hardly a match for Easter Vigil at St Boniface, where I got hot wax on my hand and holy water in my eye–and I got tipsy enough to think sending Nick a picture of me with a drink in my hand was a good idea (though it wasn’t that bad an idea {disclaimer–I meant to do italics for “bad” rather than boldface, but I’m drunk, so suck it}, since I wasn’t driving).

There was no question of any sort of singing, since we were SO LOUD anyway. {Non-disclaimer: I have resumed this post several hours later and am now sober, which makes it much easier.} I was very pleased to see several former colleagues who had gone on to greener pastures (I guess the sewer department might produce greener pastures, for one). It is worthy of note that, in spite of this being a Mexican restaurant, A Certain Person had a burger covered with loathsome vegetables and a huge pile of fries. I had two of their wonderful strawberry daiquiris, the  most painless way to get alcohol into your body there is, but, combined with the large quantity of food I consumed, they just made me sleepy. I went home and dozed off mid-rosary on the couch, which sounds like some kind of retirement cliche.

Nick’s owner assured me he was sorry for his absence and would make it up to me somehow, both of which he loftily denied.

Now it’s time to shower, and I need to remove nail polish first, so I must go.

A Timely Reminder

…My RETIREMENT PARTY occurs tomorrow! Yes, I’ve been retired for 2 weeks already, but I won’t feel completely-retired until then. Now I’m just “newly retired.” It’s like how long it takes after your wedding before you’re no longer “newlyweds.” And there will be a Social Page post after the party, if I survive it and remember anything.

One thing we need not fear is a visit from Nick, who had a prior commitment to perform in the rain at Disney World. “Too bad,” said Rom, “he could have done the stripper-cop thing.” “Hmm,” said Nick when I told him this, “I’d actually thought of that when I left my hotel room today.” It’s a bit pitiful to think of him fantasizing about performing at a party he can’t go to, but he doesn’t see as much of me as he’d like.

OK, since paranoia springs eternal, I am now imagining my (former) colleagues thinking, “PARTY? Oh no, we forgot!” or, conversely, all showing up at the restaurant without me.

Oh, and there is no karaoke facility at this venue, so “House of the Rising Sun” will have to go forever unsung. I’m not about to perform it without accompaniment. Perhaps A Certain Person will treat us to her a capella rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” instead.

NON-PARTY-RELATED NEWS

Piece of junk mail received–“Enclosed: Your Death Benefit and Walmart Savings Certificate.” Yes, one benefit of death is that there will be no Walmart. And who thought those things would go together? Is Walmart now providing funeral services?

LIKE SANDS IN THE HOURGLASS, SO ARE THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES…

I have a 33 oz. bottle of shampoo that I opened round about Inauguration Day. It occurred to me that Trump might be gone before I finish this bottle. I will keep you posted on its progress. I wash my hair every day, but it’s Suave Daily Clarifying, and only a small amount is required, so it’s anybody’s guess. Perhaps I should take bets. I will illustrate the process on Facebook, if I ever get my phone photo-link to Facebook fixed. It’s not worth waiting a long time on hold for. Unlike Nick, who waited OVER TWO HOURS to get on a ride at Disney World. No ride is worth two hours of my time. Of course, Disney World isn’t worth my time, either. Enormous crowds! Things with big heads! Hotels with “themes”! Sounds like Walmart, except Walmart is easier to get out of.

ALIEN FINGER IS TIRED OF ALL THIS TYPING, SO I BID YOU FAREWELL.

 

Now It Can Be Told

This page took so long to load, it was as if the computer was asking, “Are you sure you want to do this?” Well, I’m not sure I should be doing it. S.G. has just lost its original reason for being, after all, and may turn out to be flimsy and pitiful without work stories, but I’m pitiful without something to write, so here you are, like it or not.

FROM THE RIDICULOUS…

I own a light blue ball cap with rhinestones on it. I wore it to church today–it was only the second time I’ve worn it. I looked at myself in the mirror, and thought the fit was a bit odd, but Rom has owned ball caps that had some type of stiffener in the front panel and fit in a similar manner, so I didn’t think anything of it. When I got home and took the hat off, I realized I had never taken the cardboard insert out of it that had kept it from looking droopy on the hook at Walgreen’s. By the way, the first time I wore this hat was to a party at Nick’s place. Obviously he didn’t notice anything amiss, or he’d have laughed until he cried (if that is indeed possible).

TO THE SERIOUS

My exit-interview form (they didn’t give me an actual interview, just a form) said, “What was the best thing about working for the City?” and I wrote “Never a dull moment!” Then I thought, No, I’m supposed to say, “Helping people”! But “never a dull moment” is what first came to mind, and so it shall remain.

…BACK TO THE RIDICULOUS

Namely, my coloring-book progress. I have dealt with creepy moths and dragonflies, and explored the differences between yellow-green and green-yellow. The author’s introduction said, “You may find some of these patterns too intricate to color each small space. Feel free to color the whole larger area and just let the pattern show through.” That is such a load off my mind. It tells you something that with many of the pictures, I preferred to write captions or dialogue for them, rather than color them.

PARTY AT TREXA’S PLACE!

…which is the new name for D., since Rom says she has arms like a T. Rex. I didn’t notice that myself, but it has entertainment value.

WHAT DID I FIND OUT?

–That s’mores (had by me for the first time!) (Nick: “I can’t believe you never had them.” WELL, I DON’T GO CAMPING, SO WHERE WOULD I HAVE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO TRY THEM?) are better without the chocolate. Also that I have a talent for toasting marshmallows, which, like my talent for miniature golf, is due to a watchful patience that I have yet to display in any other areas of life. Perhaps I can take up a second career as a sniper. DID YOU KNOW? They make square marshmallows now for this purpose! For s’mores, I mean, not sniping.

–That I do not, in fact, know enough to come in out of the rain, but neither did anyone else at this event. We just sat there eating in the rain. Roughing it.

 

 

Day 1: Over and Out

I couldn’t get to sleep last night because I was too excited, then I couldn’t get back to sleep this morning because I was too nostalgic, so here I am. After dreaming that I took the wrong bus and ended up not knowing where I was, so I became a sort of feral person, going into people’s unlocked houses and stealing their food. This is my Plan B if retirement doesn’t work out.

The best I could do for a disreputable outfit turned out to be pants with a hole in them (but I wore matching underwear so you can’t tell where it is), an old bra I’ve been meaning to throw out ever since it turned dingy gray from being washed with jeans (I thought one time couldn’t hurt), a t-shirt that says “My Work Number Is 911,” because it never will be again, a cross Rom got me that I finally got the chain untangled to, a ring Rom got me that I normally wouldn’t wear to work because it’s too big to type with comfortably, and sandals which really make me hope I get a ride home because I can’t imagine walking a mile and a half wearing these. But in another way it’s a good thing, because I have a sore toe from cutting the nail too short. I also have another ugly toenail, because the damage done in the Alien Finger incident hasn’t completely grown out, plus I dropped a jar candle on it. (A Certain Person thanks me for this pedicure update.) So far, I have not been cold enough to put Security Blanket on my feet.

DIGRESSION

I hate the Indiana Department of Revenue. Either they screw up, or I screw up, every year, but you’ll never guess who ends up paying either way. Yes, that would be the person who just can’t figure out whether Rom’s Social Security is taxable. I’m dreading the taxes for this year. I may have to seek outside help.

UN-DIGRESSION

I came in here to find an amazing cake with red and black roses and the picture of me from last Halloween (appropriate, since I started work on Halloween), in skull t-shirt, Currant Red lipstick (artfully blotted–my mother would approve), and a headband of red and black roses that I snagged from Walgreen’s. If they’d told me when I was a kid that someday they’d be able to decorate cakes with photographs….the future is here! Also, the cake says, “QUITTER–1984-2017” on it. As I noted last time, I do kind of feel like a quitter, even though I may have had a longer sentence, I mean tenure, than anyone here. Speaking of which, my exit interview form asked why I was leaving, I think the dates 10/31/84–5/31/17 probably speak for themselves.

I also came in to find a dozen red roses, with a card with no name and the sentiment “Now you have to carry these home! Leave and don’t come back!” Sound like anyone we know? It has the smell of Nick about it. Well, except that he doesn’t smell like roses. He smells like Right Guard Fresh Blast deodorant. And when I found out the Army only requires him to bathe once a week (seven times less often than the Dispatch SOP), I sent him a case of it for his birthday. That was 3 years ago, and he only used it up recently, which should tell you something.

AND…

…a pack of Strawber-Rita, which I had been wanting to try since seeing a commercial for it JUST LAST NIGHT. I’m tempted to surreptitiously try it right now, but it’s hard to open a can surreptitiously.

STAB FROM THE PAST–STUFF THAT WILL BE FORGOTTEN WHEN I’M GONE

“We understand you’re like the historian of this place!” Upper Management said to me many years ago, beaming and thrusting a notebook of photographs into my arms before I could step back out of reach. What I was was someone who kept a file of press clippings about all the problems we were having back when we first consolidated. And someone who abused the city’s new email system with a newsletter of said problems (the ancestor of what you’re reading now) to a select list of subscribers. Upper Management also came to me once and said, “Why don’t you send your newsletter out to everyone, so we can all read it?,” causing me to turn a whiter shade of pale. Um, because you’re usually what I’m writing about? It occurs to me now that they may have known that perfectly well, and said that in the spirit of “P.J.’s going to tell us all what’s so funny!”

So anyway (taking a deep breath of rose), here’s assorted stuff that will probably only be interesting to people who’ve worked here. And which I’ve probably addressed in previous posts. History repeats itself, or we’re doomed to repeat it, or something.

DOWNTOWN, 1986-1990 (I spent 1984-1986 in Records.)

Before we consolidated, a police sergeant was the supervisor, and there were 3 dispatchers on duty–one calltaker, one on dispatch, and one on info (or, as it was called then, Radio). One of those sergeants would let someone go home after 0300. (I spent a lot of time on 3rd shift in those days, because, as a colleague told me, “With that attitude, you belong on 3rd shift.”) Another sergeant wouldn’t let you go home, but would let one of us nap in the employee lounge for the last half of the shift. (Strangest dreams I’ve ever had.) And yet a third would take all the non-emergency lines off the hook (you do know what that means, don’t you?), so the phone wouldn’t disturb us while we ate dinner. Which was brought by an officer in those days.

In 1990, we consolidated (it was a fashionable idea back then, in the time-honored tradition of We Can, So We Should). Our new Upper Management decided we weren’t allowed to leave the building on breaks. (We actually got breaks back then–none of that “only leave the room long enough to heat food and bring it back to your console” ethos that now prevails.) I would defiantly go across the street and sit on a park bench for half an hour, staring stonily at the Civic Center. We were also told we weren’t allowed to get drunk on our own time, in case we were needed for overtime.

CRISIS IN PROGRESS–DIGRESSION

‘”My grandson is being taken care of by my son’s girlfriend’s grandmother, and…”

–“He was injured in a fight with his girlfriend’s other baby daddy.” You know, baby daddy wasn’t even a thing when I started. As for other baby daddy…

–“What makes it a terroristic threat, exactly?” When you find out, let me know. Because that term predates 9-11. In fact, it usually starts with, “I’m from Kentucky.”

DID YOU KNOW?

–They kept trying to get us in uniforms, but finally gave up when they realized they would have to pay for it.

–The assigned seating in here was not originally for greater efficiency, but because the people then in charge didn’t like the way people sat next to colleagues they liked and avoided others.

–We used to be able to trade positions, so if you didn’t want to be, say, info, you could trade with someone who didn’t want to be city dispatch.

–The wastebaskets next to the consoles have been here since the beginning. They are tiny because They thought that if we didn’t have big trash cans, we wouldn’t produce a lot of trash. You see how that worked out.

–I originally asked, “Who will clean the building when we leave the Civic Center and don’t have their cleaning people?” and was told, “Well, you’ll be expected to clean up after yourselves.”

–We originally had no snack machine out here because the people who were on duty when They asked didn’t want to be tempted off their diets. I was very annoyed when I came in and found this out. Currently, the only food that can be bought on-site is M&M’s. I have sometimes subsisted on them for a whole 8 hours. They must be eaten in this order: brown-yellow-green-orange-red-blue.

BUT THIS COMMERCIAL INTERRUPTION IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAPA JOHN’S PIZZA

And I took the piece with the fattest crust, because one doesn’t retire every day. OK, I did that before, too.

SLICES LATER…

Squirming out of these sandals. I’ve forgotten how annoying leather straps against my skin can be.

–Report from the Pet Food Center of a subject rapping at all the employees and foaming at the mouth. He then left with a woman pushing a stroller.

LYRICAL CRITICISM

Song overheard at Thornton’s–“Girl, give in to me completely, stop holding back our love.” Baby mama in 3..2..1…

BY SPECIAL REQUEST…

…and because I was fishing for compliments, I told Nikki the Tragically Hip that I had this story to tell. We were talking about when you mistakenly send your text to the person you were talking about at work.

Longtime readers, if any, may remember that I occasionally refer to someone called the Nemesis. This person started in Records after I did, transferred to Dispatch shortly before I did, and was then promoted to supervisor, which I resented, even though I had no desire to become a supervisor myself. (My feelings about promotion were, to quote Joan Jett, “I wanna see you begging then say ‘Forget it’ just for spite.” Yes, Nick, I know I also quoted those words to you, but that was in a different context. I don’t even want to think about an alternate universe where you were my supervisor.)

Because the Nemesis and I started on the department at about the same time, we were always sent to training, testing, etc., together, even though we detested each other. In fairness to her, since I don’t drive, whenever there was training up at the state police post, or the police academy near Indianapolis,  she was told to give me a ride. And room with me once we got there. It was like an episode from “The Office,” except that I’m not sure which of us was Dwight. I just know that one of us was.

During our days in Records, the Nemesis wore Forever Krystle perfume, a drugstore scent based on the “Dynasty” TV character. After she was promoted, she upgraded to department store scent and wore Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door. Now I don’t dislike perfume, quite the opposite, but Red Door is a potent scent, the sort you should just apply one spritz of and never reapply until the next day. And when I roomed with the Nemesis, I found out why we could smell her coming down the hall at work. She applied Red Door like it was spray tanner, from head to toe, for complete coverage.

I offer this background to give you some idea of the context. The Nemesis was a martinet and a micro-manager, and the atmosphere in Operations was tense and uncomfortable on any shift she supervised. We were deathly silent, except for the mad clicking of keys as we messaged each other around the room.

THIS LONGER PAUSE WAS BROUGHT TO YOU BY CAKE

I had a work buddy (and regular reader here!) who I will unimaginatively refer to as D.T. We survived these shifts by messaging each other in between calls–I remember one lengthy exchange of “There’s a skeeter on my peter”  “Knock it off!”–I’m guessing for no other reason than because we’d been told that YOUR MESSAGES ARE PUBLIC RECORD, SO DON’T SEND ANYTHING YOU WOULDN’T WANT TO READ IN THE NEWSPAPER. Anyway, I sent something smart about the Nemesis–I don’t remember what or why, so I don’t know why I ended my message with “The winds of change are blowing,” but D.T. answered me back with “And they smell like Red Door.” Which, of course, revealed who we’d been talking about. Which became an issue when I somehow hit Print. You have never seen a person sprint across the room to a printer faster, so I could snatch it out from under her hand–“It’s OK, I got this”–I’m surprised she didn’t make me show it to her.

I guess you had to have been there. (I’m picturing Rom shaking his head at my immaturity.) But, of course, many of my readers were there. So they will also understand the undercurrent of hilarity when we received a teletype from another agency that a truckload of Red Door had been stolen.

Someone eventually complained about her perfume, and she started wearing Elizabeth Arden’s Green Tea instead, which is a much lighter scent. I actually felt a little sad about that. I’m sometimes tempted to buy a small bottle of Red Door to sniff and relive the moment. I wish her well in her retirement, which occurred a few years ago, but hope our paths don’t cross.

OK, I finally forced a confession out of Nick. He did indeed send the flowers. Also, the instructions with them say, “Keep away from fruits and vegetables.” Why, will they fight?

MEANWHILE, HERE AND NOW…

“Theft suspect left outta here with a bulge in his pants like he was King Kong.”

“Caller said her brother is acting a donkey.” I guess that replaces “actin’ a fool” and “clownin’.” Some time back, we had an epidemic of “monkey ass.” “Send the cops to get his monkey ass outta here!” That, by the way, is why there was a picture of the Six Flags guy pointing to a picture of a monkey on my locker. You had to have been there, too. Well, not at 6 Flags. I saw something on the news where a ride stopped with people stuck at the top for some long period of time. I would be unable to move or speak by the time they got me down.

 

 

 

Day 2: Last Day On Phones

THESE ARE NOT EMERGENCIES

“So you need police because someone is calling you names?”

“Caller complaining that her husband keeps pulling the blanket off her, which makes it a physical dispute.” And then….”Called back saying to cancel, because she doesn’t need the drama.” Well, calling 911 because someone pulled the blanket off you is pretty much the definition of drama.

I just told a guy not to call me “dude.”

THIS, ON THE OTHER HAND, IS AN EMERGENCY

“This is not an emergency.”

“OK, what is the problem?”

“My girlfriend has kidney stones and can hardly walk. She needs an ambulance.”

THOUGHTFUL WHINING

I feel like a weenie for retiring just as soon as I can afford to, but, in the immortal words of Tragically-Hip Nikki, I want to go to that magical land where no one screams at me on the phone and I don’t have to work while I eat. And once I realized it was making me lose my hair, I started wondering what else it might be doing to my health. (Of course, I could also wonder what all the Coke I drink is doing to my health. Oh right, the thousands of dollars in dental work.) So I think 30 years is long enough.

OH HEY, IT’S MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND!

“Ma’am, officers investigated your complaint of shots fired and determined it was fireworks.”

“Well, if someone was killed, I guess you’ll find them tomorrow morning.” Yeah, I guess we will.

And for everyone assuring us, “I know the sound of a gunshot, and that’s not fireworks”–I once had an officer say he heard gunshots, and another officer nearby said, “No, that was fireworks.” So if even officers can’t always tell the difference, you can’t, either.

One more hour, and I will be freed from the shrill whinny of the phone.

 

Day 3: The Almost-Forgotten Post

It’s like I’m retired already.

LIVING IN THE FUTURE

I will be phones for the last time tomorrow. It’s never good when you’re walking toward the door and you hear a co-worker saying, “I’m not sending them, someone else is sending them,” which is the standard response to, “WHY ARE YOU ASKIN’ ALL THESE QUESTIONS? JUST GET ‘EM OUT HERE!” Everyone knows how to do this job better than we do. Or, “Can’t you give me an address? OK, that’s much better,” which is the standard response to, “AT MY APARTMENT COMPLEX!!!” (Fill in apartment complex name here, or just scream “CAN’T YOU TELL WHERE I’M CALLING FROM??!”  It’s all good.) I myself had someone screaming and crying because she ran out of gas.

In other news, I have finished coloring the octopus (and its extra arms) to the best of my ability, and will be moving on to a pair of elephants with paisleys on them. The instructions say to add my own botanical motifs, but I don’t know if I will follow that directive. There was actually no need to get me an adult coloring book. I’d have done as well with a child’s one, and even better with one of those for really little kids that tell you what color to make each thing. I still remember when I was 5 and my mother encouraged me to be creative and color the grass purple, when the book said  to color it green. I was disturbed by the very suggestion. I will probably be disturbed if I don’t follow the instruction to add my own motifs to the elephants, as well.

 

Day 4: Let Me Out Of This Crate

…inspired by the Onion’s supposed documentation of Sean Spicer’s Descent Into Madness, as illustrated by emails to his uncle, who turns out to have been dead for 20 years. Anyway, a crate was involved.

Speaking of crates and those who should be in them, I’m compiling a list of–

THINGS NICK WOULD PAY TO SEE ME DO

–Get on a horse.

–Sing.

There may be other things Nick would pay to see me do, but this is a good start. I would pay to see him drunk, so maybe we could work something out.

DEFINITION OF 2ND SHIFT

Courtesy of 911SK–“2nd shift is 8 hours of trying to get through the next 10 minutes.”

IDLE SPECULATION

I’m not sure what I’ll do with this blog once I retire. I’ll be losing a major source of material, and what’s left is in danger of sounding like Andy Rooney.

Day 5: Ready To Quit Already

Very first call: “Someone is at the bus terminal trying to sell a rotten fish for $20.” Attempts to confirm the address were met with, “Well, you don’t have to get smart with me! How many bus terminals are there, anyway?” Who got smart first here, anyway? know how many bus terminals there are, but the person I was training didn’t, as I seem to be the only city employee who rides the bus. Speaking of which, I got on the bus the other day, and the guy behind me said to me, “I couldn’t believe that driver wouldn’t let you on the bus with your drink the other day! And then when you threw the drink out the door, that was great!” Yeah, that was a proud moment. AND SPEAKING of bus-related adventures, remember I mentioned the warning sign with the stick figure guy leaning against the back door of the bus, and then the drawing of that guy falling out the door, but you could tell by his posture that he was a smartass, and you were glad it happened? Well, I saw that guy in Real Life the other day. There were plenty of empty seats available, but he insisted on standing there with his arms folded and leaning against the back door of the bus. I waited breathlessly, but he never fell out. There is no justice in this world.

Oh, and now the would-be seller of rotten fish is calling in cussing us out. So we’ve managed to displease both sides of the controversy.

WHY NOT?

Officer’s comments on a run: “Subject wanted to know how to research the names of people who may have given him steroids as a kid, because he has small balls and a small dick.” It’s always someone else’s fault.

WHAT I DID ON MY SPRING VACATION

–Observed the 1-year anniversary of Alien Finger on the 20th. Alien Finger has apparently decided that 87% functionality is good enough. Its motto is, “I’ll do it, but I don’t have to like it.” I think it sensed my resentment in the first weeks after the injury, when I told Rom, “I almost wish they’d just amputate it.” (Having one finger that won’t bend, especially if it’s the longest one, makes everything from flossing your teeth to applying your deodorant difficult.) “But it wants to help,” Rom said, watching it attempt to curl into a halfway-natural resting position. Noble finger! Valiant finger! Please be like all the other dislocated fingers I hear about that end up just as good as new. After all, I had 5 months of surprisingly unpleasant therapy. (“I wish I could have been your therapist,” Nick murmurs wistfully.)

–Observed the 30-year anniversary of marrying Rom on the 22nd. As Nick said to me after meeting him, “You sleep with Gandalf!” Yeah, and you’d best remember that before you call me a Muggle again.

INTERIOR MONOLOGUE UPON ROM’S ILL-ADVISED RETIREMENT GIFT TO ME OF A COLORING BOOK AND 64 CRAYOLAS

“‘All the iconic colors are here, from Macaroni & Cheese to Purple Mountain Majesties’? In my day, no crayon was called Macaroni & Cheese. Names like Green-Blue and Blue-Green were good enough for us. I’m just glad my favorite Periwinkle is still here. {Note: The 64 Crayolas of my youth were eaten by our basset hound. You can guess the outcome.}

Look how complicated these drawings are! I can’t fill them all in, I’ll never have time for anything else. OK, I’ll just fill in parts. But which parts?

OK, the first drawing is an octopus. I know! I can make it all the shades of blue there are. Start out with my favorite color. But I do have to use all 64 at some time or other. {“Do you have to use them all proportionately?” Rom asks, but he is just making trouble.}

Oh no, I colored over the line. I know! I’ll just color the spot next to it with a dark color, and no one will know the difference. But not too dark, or the stripes underneath won’t show through like they’re supposed to. 

Well, I intended to color each arm of the octopus a different color, but I can’t figure out which arm is which. I should have started at the other end of the octopus. Wait a minute–I think there are too many arms here for one octopus. {This possibility troubled me greatly, and I had to stop and think about it for several minutes.}

And this is only the first page. I will keep you updated as I progress, if “progress” is really the word we want here.

ALIEN FINGER THINKS I AM TYPING TOO MUCH, KTHNXBAI.

 

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