Identify what is most important )0( Eliminate everything else
The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world. Dr. Paul Farmer
The suffering of others is not alleviated when no one knows about it.
There is no one right way to live. Daniel Quinn Ishmael
The only thing that you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right sort of people.
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. Kurt Vonnegut

Friday, February 21, 2014

the legend of the invisible chicken and other terrible and true tales

On the way home from therapy and errands, I was hungry.  Head shrinking begins early in there here parts and there is no time for breakfast.  Yesterday there was not any time for lunch either.

The last...hopefully...of the paperwork I need for taxes is now at the guy who is helping me.  I have told that story of last year many times.  Forward movement, so, anyway.  I also paid my Internet server bill, mailed the three that I just did not have the time to deliver.  Sometimes stamps are less expensive than trying to micro-plan every errand. 

I stopped at my dentist and got some more of that horrible stuff that is helping to keep my gums alive and my teeth in their sockets.  I like my dentist and his hygienist and the x-ray people and everyone else, except for the receptionist.  I go to a chain clinic and she is the perfect example of a person with less talent than is needed for the person with whom potential clients have contact.  What a rude pain she is.  It is not just me, you like she took offense at me for simply existing.  I have observed her spreading her mission of rudeness to perfectly lovely patients waiting with me on the chairs near the television. 

Why are there televisions everywhere you go?  Waiting rooms, restaurants, the market, they all have a screen up there somewhere to give us something to do whilst waiting.  I do not mind waiting for appointments, as I always have a book and, of course, the television to keep me entertained

Anyway, I finished all of the things I had to do, with no energy left for going to the laundromat.  Rats, still have to fit that in this weekend.  So, there I was, on my way home and as I was approaching the market that has nice, already cooked chickens, a delight I just discovered sometime in the past couple of months; so yummy and easy. 

Then, I remembered that I already had one of them.

I did buy one.  When?  Recently.  Like this week.  Where is it?  I have no idea.

I bought it on the way back home from my daughter's on Sunday.  I remember the deli woman handing it to me.  I remember taking it out of the cart and putting it on the conveyor belt.  I remember taking the steamy and tasty dinner indulgence and putting it in the cart with the rest of the groceries.

And, that is my last memory of our time together.

It is not in the refrigerator.  It is not in the car, not the back seat, not the trunk, not the engine compartment.  It is not anywhere.  My best guess is that I left in the cart, which I pushed over the the cart corral.  And, anyway, I bought it on Sunday, so Thursday night would have kind of pushing it in the safe to eat realm.  So, no chicken for me, just another incident of me and my declining memory innocently running through the meadows of my day.  Life.  Maybe it is where all of the other things I have lost are now living.

Part B.

One of my Wednesday clients is someone that I really cannot help.  The short version is that he has either mental or emotional or physical issues that have a negative impact on his ability to stay employed.  In the past ten years, he has not had a job that lasted more than a couple of months.  Additionally, I found out this week that he has lied about nearly everything on his résumé.  I know this only because he made the mistake of showing me an earlier version of his work history that is entirely different company names, references and, well, just everything.  He also admitted that he made up the dates when he worked wherever it is he claims to have worked.

His behavior is eerily similar to other clients that try to fill in voids in their work records due to incarceration and/or long-term hospitalization.  The worst part is that all of those gaps can easily be determined by a prospective employer and that whilst I am a excellent detector of untruths, there is not a damn thing I can to do help someone in this kind of distress.

And, it is genuine and heartbreaking distress.  So, he shows up today at the drop-in Lab and is just his usual mess.  Sometime between the time I e-mailed his completed, albeit fictional, résumé to him, it seems to have been saved as an entirely different document.  I save and double-save everything as was able to pull his stuff out of my, well, you know.

He mentioned that he had to leave by a certain time because he had to pick up his mother from her job.  I reminded him, but he hung around talking, something he always does.  Rambling, delaying, I really do get that, which is why I give him the last appointment of the day.  Without that extra buffer of time, I would never get on to the next client.

It sounds like I do not like him, but I do.  It is just that there simply is no helping him in any meaningful way.  He has a résumé and other documents that I know are not honest, truthful or honest-honest-honest.  He comes to me because he has exhausted every other single resource available to him.  He refuses to consider getting any training, taking any workshops that I know could be very helpful to him, and, most especially, the agency in town that could help with his disabilities. 

I can only do what I can do, and it is not enough.  Today he cemented my sense of hopelessness.  When he kept delaying his departure, I finally escorted him to the door.  That does not always work, but I plodded on reminding him that his mother might be upset if he was late.  He finally left and ten minutes later, the facility guy came by, stood and looked at the clock and muttered something about it being at the correct time.  I asked him what was going on and he told me that a man had stopped by the main desk on his way out of the building to complain that the clock in the Lab was running ten minutes fast. 

I started laughing, described that client and it was, still is I guess, the same person.  My best guess is that he was going to use that excuse for fetching his mother late and was, still is, hoping that if she checks he will have the evidence of having complained.  Man.  He is in his mid-thirties.  He is nice.  I like him.  I really cannot help me any further.  He will keep coming on Fridays.  It is what we do.

Tale number three, not that I am counting. 

I am seeing a spiritual counselor.  She is a nun and a quite groovy one at that, as most nuns are.  Nuns have a long and glorious reputation as movers and shakers for all sorts of things, social justice only one of those noble things that nuns do.  I enjoy our time together and she is managing to pull some pretty amazing stuff out of me whilst I struggle to find my way back to faith.  Maybe God, too, although maybe not. 

One of the things with which I struggle these days is regret, piles and mountains and planets of regret.  Today is the two-year anniversary of the day I fled that other life.  This second year is so much worse than the first one.  I am mired in wishing that I could have left with, gosh, at least some dignity, that I had not had to try and save my life, that it had not been such a fucking dramatic escape.  Maybe that is what escape is supposed to be.  Maybe I am just wishing that I had crept out of there as the stupid and compliant mouse I always was.  Maybe, if I had been a proper rodent, that I would have stayed compliant and silent and just accepted what was happening that day.  I mean, I am glad that I am here and that I am around to have this totally wonderful life, but fleeing that day was the validation, or maybe verification, of just what a miserable creature I was then.  I am glad to be alive.  It is just that running and hiding caused all sorts of other problems.

I know that if I had planned and deliberated and eased into leaving and divorcing and that he had been a part of the process, you know, like normal and decent people behave when decently ending their marriage, that everything would have been bad, just in a different way.  Just a mess. 

I wish that I could have been kinder, more humane or something.  Yeah, I think it would have been worse.  J, just let this go.

Sister MA is one of the best people, ever.  She lets me expend all that energy and listened as I whimpered through all of that regret stuff.  I am not ready to share what she said to me, only that it was something that I would never have come to on my own.  It shortened our session by half and I am not the same person I was when I entered the place that morning.  You know how when you learn or hear something that is entirely new to you and your response is that Oh! I knew that!  And, it resonates you straight to the bone because it is true and somewhere, even though it truly is something new, you just know that it must be cellular memory or something, and that you finally heard it at exactly the right moment because it was exactly what you needed to know.  Right then.  Was it Jung who called that the ah-ha moment?  I think so.

When that happened, she let it be whatever it was for me, and when I was able to talk again, we talked and she told me that all she ever does is reflect back to me what she hears me saying.  Sharing. 

I shared a bit of the experience with the support group that E runs, and we all talked about those moments, if we ever had any, and to what in our lives that might be drawing our attention. 

For me, it is about being taken from that other life, rescued and E told me that despite the desperateness of having this second anniversary of that day, that maybe what happened to me yesterday could be the anniversary to take the place of the bad one.  Which is the good one, really, just so damn traumatic.  Leaving that life. 

I like that idea.  I like it a lot.

I am going to keep on paying attention to my now-life.  And, if I was truly rescued that day, it seems to me that I have a responsibility to make the best of what I have, that it would be a shame to waste all of this new opportunity, shameful and disrespectful.

Friday is over, the 21st is over.  Tomorrow I begin a deep cleaning and divesting of anything from that other life that no longer serves me.  Not just stuff, but the emotional baggage that I might be using to hold me back from where my life is calling me.


  1. J, after all that you just need to sit down, relax and start to make your wind chime. It's nice to just let your mind go out for lunch sometimes when you get to our age. Mind you, sometimes it goes out for lunch whether we want it to or not. :-)

  2. Ahhh, lunch! I could not sleep last night and just now awoke, at nearly 11:00 in the morning.

    Thanks. As I continue to re-enter what passes for normal life, I forget to stop and smell the wind chimes.

    One of the newest members of that support group says that, big picture-wise, we (the messed up ones) are also the normal ones. I do not agree, but it sure is an interesting notion.

  3. Your new-now life! :D I tried saying that out loud but got my tongue tied! And that's without a drink. The second from last paragraph...awesome, you go girl. As for forgetting things I forget thing all the time, I forget what they are but rest assured it happens...I think! My mum lost a cucumber once (keep mind out of gutter if you please) and it turned up in the freezer a month later...frozen solid! She leaves half eaten bananas lying around, sometimes on radiators..when they're on! Heck the woman is certifiable! But if we got her locked up who'd make us all a cup of tea?

  4. I did the freezer thing recently with a sweet/green pepper/capsicum. It is still in there because they are expensive and I am hoping to use it in some cooked something or the other before it shrivels up in there.

    Yeah, tea trumps locked-up.

    Have a wonderful time on your trip. I will think of you during the next crippling snow storm. We had thunder snow again this week. So cool.