Saturday, May 18, 2013

Quizno's Subs Burns Down.

I once worked at a Quizno's in Fargo, ND. And one day, a co-worker of mine called me up, and told me that I wouldn't need to go to work that day. I asked her why? and she told me it had burned down during the night. I will have to tell the story of that on another day, as it was quite a story.
But I just came across the poem I wrote about it. It is quite a awful experience seeing with your eyes the place you worked out burned to the ground. Here is my poem.

There will be no more walking through the front door.
The front door is broken.
The glass is strewn across the sidewalk.
I would like to take that red chair,
the one sticking out the burned out front window,
and sit on it for a while.
I would like to sit there and think about all the good times,
all the stressful times, motivational times,
that I spent there in that store.
The back door is still standing
I would like to enter through the back door
just one more time,
I still have a key for it,
Shall I see if it still works?
Oh, but wait.
The back door only opens into a big gaping hole,
a big gaping hole now filled with the bricks from the top floor,
and burnt debris.
Where is the upstairs?
Where is the downstairs?
Hello, I am suppose to work today.
Could you please tell me where the kitchen is?
Don't tell me it's gone,
Our kitchen, our cooler, our freezer,
All our food,
The bread, the soup, the meats and cheeses.
The desk.
I just organized it on Saturday.
The sink.
Our 8 quarts, 4 quarts, metal pans and metal lids.
Our till and all the money we made on Saturday.
The pop machine, counter, and make tables.
The oven,
The soup kettles, hot tables, and salad cooler.
Our green and red lobby table and chairs.
Our cute little dressing bottles all neatly labeled,
All of this melting, all burning, crumbling, caving in,
Holding on, some not,
some exploding.
All of it finally giving way after a hard fight,
having turned black,
turning to ashes,
falling down, falling down,
into nothing, but black upon black.
I want to take back that blackened night,
When the hot, bright light of fire took away the life of our store.
I want to go back to a night when the store stood fully intact,
waiting patiently for us all to come to work the following day,
waiting for us to turn on the lights,
and bring life into it for the day.
If I only I could walk through the front doors one more time,
just to say goodbye.

Impromptu Speech Topics

I was quite a quiet nobody back in my high school days. I always had a crush on some popular boy, and secretly admired him from afar. Let me tell you two stories of terribly shy teenage me trying to get her boy crush to notice her. 

So I was a Sophomore taking a speech class, and almost everyone in my class was a Junior. I felt privileged to be in a class with all these Junior High kids. And of course I had a crush on a ever so popular boy who was in my class. What his name was, I don't recall, but he had a identical twin brother, and well I liked them both. I recall writing both their names down in my speech notebook and putting a heart around their names. Well one day I had the great misfortune of being called on to do an impromptu speech with someone else in the class; and oh wow, the teacher called on my crush to come up and do the speech with me. Our assignment was to do an impromptu speech on body language. So speeches are bad enough to do right?, but impromptu and with your adorable popular boy crush?!? So there I was in front of the class with my big glasses and my badly permed mop of hair, and with my incredible shyness leading the way. So somehow we came to decide to demonstrate handshakes. And I reached out and tried to demonstrate shaking his hand like a fish; and well this caused the class to giggle a bit, and this caused me to try to not giggle, which in turn led to me suddenly bursting out in laughter, with compliments of snot flying out of my nose. Not just some snot, but a enough snot to require the whole hand wipe, and well we were doing handshakes. You get the picture right. Yep, true story.

Now let me tell a successful ploy of mine to get a boy to notice me.
So, my first big crush came in the 8th grade, and I had all my classes with this boy called Jim, (I think the twin from the story above, was Tim). Every day I tried to do a little something to get this boy to notice me, of which things I don't recall, except just one. It was study hall and it was the end of a long day, and we were all to be quiet and to study. He was sitting just behind me this day, slightly off to my left side. And there I sat with butterflies in my tummy and a slight flush to my cheeks, cuz I so close to my boy crush. I was trying to appear to be really focused on reading my text book. Well, my funny little mind thought perhaps I would place the book upside down and pretend to still read, and not notice the book was upside down. So I made a point of holding the book up high, and noisily flipping pages. Well it didn't take long before he noticed, after all we were in study hall, where there is nothing to catch your attention except the misbehavior of your fellow students. So he tapped me on a shoulder, and I slowly turned around, to see a wry little smile on his face and  he said with slight swagger 'Your book is upside down." Yep, true story too. 

Movie quote time. "That's IT! Call the FRONT DESK, AND GET A ROOM OF YOUR OWN!" 

Speaking of high gas prices and how they somehow feel obligated to jump 10 cents every day, let's talk about driving. 
Note to self for when I look back at this blog. Four days ago gas was $3.89, then three days ago $4.19 (put the stick in my ugly sticker), then the next day $4.29, and today $4.39 (first time for me that I have had to pay over $4 dollars for a gallon of gas). Therefore, I will be sitting home writing blogs more often now, instead of running about the town. 
Ok, back to the subject of driving. There are go-carts, and while they are fun to drive, the other people on the track take away the fun for me. I can't stand the thrill of crashing into go-carts, and trying to race ahead in tight spots. I would prefer to have the track to myself and race really fast all on my own. When my sister and I each got our own cars as teenagers; I do remember racing her in my little blue 88' Chevy Cavalier down the Bootlegger Trail: she had more guts, racing me with her blue Pontiac Sundance. But then she was always racing on the right side of the road, while I took the outside and dared to race against the possibility of oncoming traffic. It was a part of the road less traveled, I don't recall every facing the thrill of an oncoming car.... As a side note, I also do not like the bumper cars at the fair. Oh, she always won
Ok, so angry driving. Let's talk about when other drivers piss you off. I find delayed anger while behind the wheel to be the greater of the angry's. Don't you hate when the car in front of you is slow, but don't you hate it more when your own distractions cause you to notice you have been behind the slow vehicle for a while, and now you are missing green lights, and the cars in the lane next to you are flying by?!? I also find if I am on the highway, and I am behind a standard car that is going slow, I pass the car by in a normal manner, without much thought. However, if the vehicle in front of me is old and ugly and going slow, I pass with great irritation; it's the "get up on it's ugly backside, and yank the wheel to the left, and pass by with a great gunning of the gas, fly by, look over, glare at the driver, and then watch them disappear in your rear view mirror" kind of passing of the car. Ugly cars make for greater road rage. Or it that just me? 

So, I think most people have experienced a "homeless" person standing at a busy intersection holding  their sign, waiting for someone to roll down the window and stick out their hand with an offering of money or food. At some intersections, there is someone on all 4 sides. I have wondered before what the word on the street is for which intersections pay the most. What day is the best tipping day? Do they fight among themselves to stand at certain lights. If  five people show up at a four way stop, where does the 5th person then decide to go? Well I pass by one particular intersection here in the heart of uptown and everyday someone is there with a sign; with their individualized written statement written across the sign. Well, the other day I caught the red light at this particular intersection, and on this day no one stood on the side. But there in the grass just off to the side a bit was a rather large cardboard sign that simply said "Homeless." No person was with the sign. No person was walking among the cars collecting hand outs. This struck me as very odd, this abandoned "homeless" cardboard sign. What happened to the person who had held that sign? Did the day pay so well that they were now doing well in the world, and they had got a job and a place to stay? Did someone hand them a $100 dollar bill which caused them to then toss the sign aside and leave that street corner behind? Did they trade off that sign for a more personalized sign? That abandoned cardboard sign almost felt like I was at a crime scene, as a mystery certainly did exist as to how the simply stated "homeless" sign got to be all alone at the busy intersection of Lyndale and Hwy 94, where every day someone stood.

Same movie: another quote:  
Hank: "I don't like to see Kate upset."
Him: "Well if I were you, I would invest in blindfolds." 

Last but not least, the last subject I wish to discuss is people who have to work with the elderly. I spend a fair amount of time with my grandmother, and I bring her to her doctor's appointments, and I witness the patience that these employees have to show when they are working with the elderly. My experience has mostly been that people who work as receptionists at different doctor's offices are not entirely patient or kind  with the elderly; this makes me very sad. Well the other day, I was sitting in the waiting room at my Grandma's eye doctor appointment and all elderly people were coming in. So while I am sitting there I overhear a grumpy old lady state loudly to the receptionist that she is there for her appointment with Dr. Smoo. I hear a pause, and then the receptionist saying "I don't see that appointment in here for today, are you sure it was today?" The grouchy lady then says "What, I can't hear you?" The receptionist then states a little louder, "I don't show that you have an appointment today, that doctor doesn't work today." The elderly lady then gruffly says, "I'm deaf, I can't hear you, what did you say" Oh my, I felt for that poor employee!

That is all. It is a gray spring day today, all is quiet outside except the sound of falling rain, and the occasional passing car. A fine spring May day.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Boy and His Cat

I have my usual odd and creative thought in my head, but my mind is exhausted today, so instead I want to tell a story that I clipped out of the Readers Digest many years ago, that tells the love of a boy and his cat. It is a sad story, but for those who have dealt with the loss of a pet this story will touch your heart.
I also want to share this story knowing of the recent loss of my cousin, and of other people I know that are dealing with the loss of a loved one this year.
May there be peace in death, perhaps not right away, but in time.
I'm not sure how he got to my clinic. He didn't look old enough to drive, although his child's body had begun to broaden and he moved with a heavy grace of young manhood. His face was direct and open.
When I walked into the waiting room, he was lovingly petting his cat through the open door of the carrier on his lap. With a school-boys faith in authority, he had brought his sick cat in for me to mend.
The cat was a tiny thing, exquisitely formed, with a delicate skull and beautiful markings. She was about the boy's own age, give or take a year. I could see how her spots and stripes and her fierce, bright face had evoked the image of a tiger in a child's mind, and Tigress she had become.
Age had dimmed the bright green fire of her eyes into a faded lace, but she was elegant and self poised. She greeted me with a friendly rub against my hand.
I began to ask questions to determine what had brought this charming pair to see me.Unlike most adults, the boy answered simply and directly. Tigress had had a normal appetite until recently, when she'd begun to vomit a couple times a day. Now she was not eating at all and withdrawn from her human family. She had lost a pound, which is a lot when you only weigh six.
Stroking Tigress, I told her how beautiful she was while I examined her eyes and mouth, listened to her heart and lungs, and felt her stomach. My fingers found it: a tubular mass in mid-abdomen. Tigress politely tried to slip away. She did not like the mass being handled.
I looked at the fresh-faced boy and back at the cat he had probably loved all his life. I was going to have to tell him that his beloved companion had a tumor. Even if it were surgically removed, she probably would survive less then a year, and might need weekly chemotherapy to last that long.
It would be very difficult and expensive. So I was going to have to tell this boy that his was cat was likely to die. And there he was, all alone.
Death is something we push to the background and ignore as long as possible  but in reality every living thing we love will die. It is an omnipresent part of life. How death is first experienced can be a life-forming. It can be a thing of horror and suffering, or a peaceful release.
So I would have to guide the boy through this myself. I did not want the burden. It had to be done perfectly, or he might end up emotionally scarred.
I would have been easy to shirk this task and summon a parent. But when I looked at the boy's face, I could not do it. He sensed something was wrong. I could not just ignore him. So I talked to him as Tigress's rightful owner and told him as gently as I could what I had found, and what it meant.
As I spoke, the boy jerked convulsively away from me, probably so I could not see his face, but I had seen it begin to twist as he turned. I sat down and turned to Tigress, to give the boy some privacy, and stroked her beautiful old face while I discussed the alternatives with him: I could do a biopsy of the mass, let her fade away at home, or give her an injection and put her to sleep.
He listened carefully and nodded gravely. He said he didn't think she was very comfortable anymore, and he didn't want her to suffer. He was trying very hard. The pair of them broke my heart. I offered to call a parent to explain what was going on.
He gave me his father's number. I went over everything again with the father while the boy listened and petted his cat. Then I let the father speak to his son. The boy paced and gestured and his voice broke a few times, but when he hung up, he turned to me with dry eyes and said they had decided to put her to sleep.
No rage, no denial, no hysteria, just acceptance of the inevitable. I could see, though, how much it was costing him. I asked if he wanted to take her home overnight to say goodbye. But he said no. He just wanted to be alone with her for a few minutes.
I left them and to sign out the barbiturate I would use to ease her into a painless sleep. I could not control the tears streaming down my face, or the grief I felt welling inside for this boy who had to become a man so quickly and so alone.
I waited outside the exam room. In a few minutes he came out and said that he was ready. I asked if he wanted to stay with her. He looked surprised  but I explained that it was often easier to observe how peaceful it was then forever to wonder how it exactly happened.
Immediately seeing the logic of that, he held her head and reassured her while I administered the injection.She drifted off to sleep, her head cradled in his hand.
The animal looked quiet and at rest. The owner now bore all the suffering. This was the finest gift you could give, I said, to assume another's pain so that a loved one may rest.
He nodded. He understood.
Something was missing, though.I did not feel I had completed my task. It came to me suddenly that though I had asked him to become a man instantly, and he had done so with grace and strength, he was still a child.
I held out my arms and asked if he needed a hug. He did indeed, and in truth, do did I.