Is It, or Isn’t It…?
Taken November 7, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550
In a Parking Lot, Wellington St West, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada
Right, so I worked a night shift today (or last night), and have not yet slept, although I’m working through the night again tomorrow (or today [or tonight]).
You’ll have to excuse me; my brains have had a stir. See above.
It’s a lonely vigil, the night shift. There’s nobody else to dance with, for one thing. Not that I mind dancing alone (and I do dance in the parking lot all by myself, through the long night. I do.), but there are fewer 5-minute conversations, because there are fewer people – which is why I’m alone to begin with; fewer people to deal with means no side-kick for Les to dance with – and those few people tend to be tired and grumpy. Especially when it rains.
Myself, I like the rain in the middle of the night. I don’t have to sweep the “dance floor” in the rain, although I kind of like that part of the job. It’s rhythmic and soothing, and sometimes I find cool things. Like money – in 5 cent, 10 cent, 2-bits, and sometimes (gasp!) even whole dollar increments.
And then there’s that thing at the top of the page, stuck up there before the words start. Yes, it does look like that, doesn’t it? Or what I’ve always imagined that that would look like, if ever I encountered it, and up until I came across that ziploc bag while sweeping prior to the rain in the middle of last night, I had never encountered it.
If that’s what it really is, anyway.
And you know I’m not going to tell you that, at least, until the end of the story, right?
I’m going to interrupt here, one day later, to add some audio. With thanks to Suzi and Dale, I’ve worked up the guts to record the remaining portion of this post, as practice for The Waitress AudioBook project – you know, test the equipment and software, find my public speaking voice again, blah, blah, blah.
I’m pleased to say, that I dropped back into it with very few mishaps, and no tears whatsoever. In fact, I actually enjoyed myself, which I wouldn’t have believed possible, previously. I may just do this again.
Click the link – have a listen – read along. Sorry about the lack of a bouncing ball to follow, but maybe I’ll work that in when I switch the blog over to flash, which should happen sometime next decade with the flash conversion success rate that I boast…
Guess What I Found in the Parking Lot? – © Les Becker, 2008
Click it! Click it!
(You know you want to…)
I stand there in the parking lot, broom in hand, staring down at this ziploc bag, and nudge it with the very manly steel-toed toe of my very manly steel-toed boot…. and I look around as nonchalantly as is possible when one comes across what might be seriously illegal ziploc baggie-filler in the middle of the night at one’s place of employment, with Han Solo’s voice running through my head: “I don’t know! Fly casual!” Or, in this case, sweep casual….
Eventually, I get up the guts to pick it up. It’s heavier than I would have imagined cocaine would be; packed into a hard little, perfect little, ultra-thin zippo-lighter-sized rectanglular-shaped brick.
A nasty thought strikes me: Is this some kind of test?!
Not a “set up from the Boss” kind of test… I’m thinking more along the lines of God, or the Universe, or Whomever/Whatever really runs things… a kind of like, “Here! Have some of this. Free, even!” kind of test. I mean, if I had found a baggie of pot in the parking lot in the middle of the night, I wouldn’t be blogging this.
And I’m pretty sure I’d be sound asleep right now, too… 😀
But it very obviously isn’t pot… and I’ve no idea if it’s what I think it might be, which is coke, and on top of that, no idea if, assuming I had the opportunity/nerve to open it up, I would be able to tell cocaine from anything else that might resemble cocaine.
All I really know, is that whatever it is or isn’t, it’s illegal, and I’d better “do the right thing”, or risk arrest, and the loss of my groovy-cool new J.O.B.
So, what’s the “right thing to do”?
Do I sneak off to the bathroom and unwrap the thing…? No. I’m not worried about temptation (although wouldn’t that be a bugger – to crawl out from under, find a job I like for a change, and then get hooked on coke in the employee bathroom the first time out because I found somebody’s lost stash and thought, “Ah, what the hell…?”), but opening it up wouldn’t exactly look good on me later, would it?
Do I take it in to the “inside” side of the parking lot, to Pretty Girl who’s working tonight and Show and Tell it to her? I decide against… Pretty Girl is nice (she dances when I tell her to), but I don’t really know her that well. What if she’s a coke-head? It could happen – maybe she dropped it.
I decide to go inside and call the Boss – yes, wake him up out of a sound sleep, and ask him what to do. That’s the ticket.
At which point, a 5-Minute Conversationalist rolls up to park, grumpy as all hell, and I stuff the baggie in my pocket and go conversate.
And then I forget all about it.
I KNOW!!! Can you imagine?!
But that’s what I do… until the sun rises, and I’m suddenly surrounded by 5-Minute Conversationalists and it isn’t until the Boss pulls up and parks that I remember it.
And then shift-change is upon us, and things go nuts, because we have to shut everything down for a whole minute-and-a-half and all the grumpy 5-Minute Conversationalists are freaking because they have to wait for their conversations, and by the time it calms down and I’m free to talk to the Boss about the baggie full of drugs I found in his parking lot, my Idiot Child (now don’t come down on me for renaming my formerly wonderful albeit sometimes stupid kid – she’s a full-blown teenager now, clinically insane and has recently earned the new name, believe me) comes flying into the fray to tell me she missed her bus, and can I please, please drive her all the way to the far edge of town to school?
To which I find myself driving in a downpour, with a minor child, and me with no purse (hence, no driver’s license), with my pockets stuffed full of cocaine.
I’m certain I’m going to be stopped for driving erratically. I am, in point of fact, driving very erratically, being in a panic about my pending arrest and all. The knowledge that I am about to become the much-honoured Family Cup Holder does not please me nearly as much as I’ve always believed it would.
I’m sure that, even if I don’t get stopped by the police, I’m certain to run a red light, plow through twenty-seven other vehicles, roll the Prissy-van, mow down a whole bloody mess of school-children, and eventually wake up from my coma in handcuffs because somebody is going to find cocaine in my pockets, dammit, and, somehow, I don’t think, “I found it in the parking lot,” is gonna fly… Nuh-uhhh.
I decide to drop my Idiot Child off at school, and then drive to the police station with my contraband and turn myself in. I’m pretty sure they’ll believe the parking lot story if I surrender the goods of my own volition, so I concentrate on not killing anyone, and driving safely, and I must be doing alright, because I turn into my driveway having had only two fists shaken in my direction, and three or four fingers, ummm, fingered at me.
Yes. I turn into my driveway… having driven by rote and gone home rather than the police station.
At this point, I decide, to hell with it all, I’m going to flush it and forget it. I get inside, lock the door, lock the bathroom door, you know, to be on the safe side, and unwrap the hard little, perfect little, ultra-thin zippo-lighter-sized rectanglular-shaped brick.
Which turns out to be a dead camera battery wrapped in a tissue and folded into a ziploc bag for recycling.
Lucky for me… because a few minutes later, I discover that my toilet won’t flush.
Some drug dealer I’d make. I’m disgusted with myself. I don’t deserve The Family Cup after all.
And Google is going to send me some wicked-weird visitors because of this post, I know it.
Not-So-Random Song-for-the-Day: “Cocaine” – Eric Clapton
Taken November 26, 2007 with Canon PowerShot A550
So, after a lovely Tilapia dinner, The Cook – oops – Kitchen Manager – no, make that Soon-To-Be-Revealed Self-Named Story-Teller, told me his earliest memory.
It was a memory that’s haunted him his whole life (and he’s even older than me, so you know that’s a whole lotta life to be haunted), and I really felt kind of sorry for the poor guy. When I think of some of the things that frightened me as a child, I sometimes feel just as afraid as when I was little…
I don’t know if I’ve got his “voice” down properly – hopefully, I’ll get some more stories out of him, so I can practice. When he gets going, he tends to speak loudly, and during several parts of this story, he would start to have an accent. I’ve begun to figure out when he’s a little upset by whether he has an accent or not. Which is kind of cool. Makes me want to piss him off, so I can hear the accent.
Okay, maybe that’s not so cool. Maybe that’s just a little mean. I’m such a little shit-disturber, sometimes. Ahem…*
Him: When I was little – maybe about four or five – we lived in an apartment that was across the parking lot of a funeral home. It didn’t bother me, at first, because I didn’t know what a funeral home was, but I remember I always had weird stuff happen there.
Me: What kind of weird stuff?
Him: In my bedroom. In the middle of the night. Weird stuff, man!
Me: What kind of weird stuff? “Funeral Home” kind of weird stuff?
Him: Yeah! Sort of. People used to come out of my closet.
Me: What kind of people?
Him: Dead people; that’s what kind of people. Geez! I lived across from a funeral home!
[I laughed. Couldn’t help it.]
Him: Why are you laughing?! That’s not funny; it scared the shit outta me! I was just a little kid!
Me: I’m sorry… Okay, so was this nightmare full of, like, zombies, all rotted and gushy or-
Him: NO!! And it wasn’t a nightmare! It was like, almost every night, and they were dead people! Dead. People. Coming out of my closet, and into my room!
Me: How do you know they were dead people? For that matter, how do you know they weren’t nightmares? You know, like the same scary dream when you’re a kid, because you’re stressing out, but you’re a kid, so you don’t know what stress is, and it comes out in repetitive dreams?
Him: What are you, a shrink?! Are you telling me I’m nuts?
Me (laughing again – see? Shit-disturber.): NO! I’m just saying maybe they were dreams.
Him: One: I was not sleeping; I was awake. Therefore, I was not dreaming. Two: I know they were dead, because I could see through them.
Him: Yeah. If you can see through them, they’re spirits, and they’re dead.
Him: Ghosts. Yeah.
Me: And you stopped seeing the ghosts after you moved away?
Him: Whose story is this, Girl?
Me: Sorry. I’ll shut up.
Him: Thank you. So, every night, almost, these ghost-people would come out of my closet and scare the shit out of me. They didn’t jump out and yell, “Boo!” or anything, but they’d look at me. And they’d wander around the room, and after awhile they’d sort of just…. go away. Fade away, or just disappear or something.
But it was always different people. It’s not like I had one ghost or the same couple ghosts haunting my room every night. Every night, it was different dead people, and they were always dressed up like they were going to a dance. The women were always in fancy dresses, with their jewelry on, and the men were always in nice suits and ties, but it was always different people. Different dead people. Brrrr!
I think I coulda got used to it, if it was the same people all the time, but different people made it worse. Damn!
[Very, very, very, long pause….]
Him: And, what?
Me: And, then what? Need an ending, here. Do you still have dead people coming out of your closet, or what?!
Him: No! That stopped after we moved.
Me: Like I said…
Him: Yeah, yeah. But, I started dreaming about that a few years ago, and every now and again I dream about those dead people wandering around my room, and looking at me, and I’m like, four or five years old again, but not really, and it still scares me. Kind of gives me a creepy feeling for a few hours every morning after I have that dream.
Me: Yeah, that is a little creepy.
Him: But then, worse, a few nights ago, I had that dream, and you know how you wake up after a bad dream, and it kind of sticks with you while you get up, and you’re trying to wake up and get ready for the day? Well, I was in the shower, thinking about that dream, when I realized, looking back on that room I slept in, that those dead people weren’t coming out of the closet at all! The closet was on a different wall! They were coming through the window!
[Pause… as if he’s expecting a reaction from me.]
Me: And that’s… worse…?
Him: Yes, it’s worse! They were coming out of that funeral home! And right through the window-glass, into my room! Geez!
Me: Why is that worse?
Him: ‘Why is that worse?! ‘Why’?! Are you serious?!
Me: I don’t understand why it’s worse that they were coming through the window-glass than if they were coming through the closet door. What’s the difference?
Him: What do you mean ‘what’s the difference’?! The difference is that I could deal with them coming through the closet door and just hanging out in my room! Every little kid that ever lived has monsters in their closet! It scared me, but I could deal with it. Once I figured out they were coming out of the damn funeral home, walking all the way across the parking lot and then coming into my room, I knew they were after me! I’m lucky I survived! ‘What’s the difference?’ Damn, I don’t believe you said that.
[Okay, so then I laughed again. I shouldn’t have laughed, because I’m pretty sure he was seriously freaked out about the whole thing, and laughing was just mean. I couldn’t help it; it was funny as hell.]
Me: Okay… Ahem…* What do you want to call yourself?
Him: What? Call myself? What?
Me: On the blog? When I write your story… how do you want me to refer to you?
Him, with no hesitation whatsoever: As The Victim! I want you to refer to me as The Victim! Geez!
And, so, “The Victim” he shall be called, at least in this space, now and forever more.
Random Song-for-the-Day: “Hayfield Crooning” – The Wild Turkeys
Waste Not, Want Not
Taken September 22, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550
Ruby needed to know the date the other day, and that’s how she asked it: “This is the what’th of September…?” It struck me as a good title for a blog post because it’s felt like the “what’th of September” for pretty much the entire month.
The photo is fairly symbolic for my September, as well. September has been a waste: blog-wise, writing-wise, and life-wise. I’ve done nothing of note this month, and nothing productive, unless you count cleaning the bathroom.
I don’t count cleaning the bathroom as productive unless it’s been an horrific mess and takes a while to clean, and that hasn’t been the case in some time. And if this new-for-me bathroom were to get itself into the state of “horrific mess”, it would still only take 10 minutes to clean it – I’ve seen bigger broom closets.
I’ve spent most of my September taking stock of things. One would think that would be productive, but it’s turned into a waste of my time. I’m becoming more aware of “time” lately, since I overheard somebody say to somebody else, “Time is money….”, and the somebody else replied, “No. Time is life.”
Scared me a little bit.
I spent very little time during August purging enough stuff to allow me to fit myself and my child into this wee small space. I expected to agonize over what to keep and what to toss, and I was surprised how easy it was to just get rid of it all – shred it, trash it, give it away. Everything I owned held some meaning for me at one point and every previous attempt over the last 25 years to unclutter my living space has always been impossible when it came to memorabilia: photos, letters, stupid little bits of things that would mean nothing to anyone else, but meant everything to me.
Nostalgia is a weird thing. This time, when I started to cull the junk, everything I picked up could have been someone else’s memory. It didn’t mean much of anything anymore.
Now, it’s time to cull the things I’m wasting my time with and start getting productive. I thought I knew what I wanted, but now I’m not so sure.
[[[… time passes…]]]
How weird is this?! I’m in the middle of this post when I get a phone call from a friend asking me what I’m doing about “this writing thing you’re into”. 26 minutes of Kick-My-Ass has convinced me somewhat that I should continue the dream.
Except, I think it’s time to quit dreaming and start doing. I’ve already wasted too much of my time.
Time is Life, after all…
Random Song-for-the-Day: “Doctor Who Theme” – Orbital
“The Tattered and Worn”
Taken November 10, 2007 with Canon PowerShot A550
Tattered and worn is how Ky and I both feel about now. Our move of residence is imminent. As in, Today.
I hate moving. I wanted to space it all out over a period of a couple of weeks, and the plan was working for awhile, even. The J.O.B., though, has me worn out. When I’m there, I’m thinking of all the packing still left to do, and when I’m here, I’m too overwhelmed and “procrastinatey” to get much done.
I don’t have to be completely gone from this building until the 31st, but The Fly-Girl’s wedding reception is on the 30th, which requires an overnight… and nope- can’t book the following day off for the last little pickings involved in moving house, so I’m hoping I can get it done ahead of the celebrations. And that I’m not hungover at work the day after the dog bites me.
I hate moving. I said that already, didn’t I? Well, I hate it even more now, than two paragraphs ago.
We’ve been chauffering little stuff in boxes over since the 15th, with much of it going the opposite direction to the charity drop. I’m forced to abandon items that I would have clung to fiercely a year ago, and I’m surprisingly at peace doing so. There is no room for more than is absolutely necessary, and no storage space. At. All. The place we’re moving into is even smaller than the one we’re leaving. I wouldn’t have thought that to be possible, but…
I took the place sight unseen (or is that site unseen? Whatever.), because every apartment I did look at was filthy. And expensive. And filthy. I considered buying a small house. Even looked at a couple. They were filthy, too.
And then Ruby suggested I check into an apartment above a store, right around the corner from her. She figured that even if they didn’t have anything available, they might know who owned the really well-kept up, retrofitted house next to them. Turns out “they” own both buildings, and a basement apartment would be available in the retro just in time for me.
It was small, they said. Very small. Newly renovated, though, with new fixtures, and floors, and appliances, and cupboards, and a sauna. Convincing Ky to take an unseen apartment (with a sauna) was actually a simple procedure: “Want a sauna?” “Duh! YES!!!”
I stood outside the building, not being able to see the place, yet, because of the squatter that refused to leave it, and pictured a full basement. I convinced myself that if it wasn’t bigger than the place we were leaving, it at least had to be close to the same size.
I paid a deposit. And the landlord hit me with another zinger.
We have no walls.
Hmmmm…. Okay, so it will be a Basement Loft with Sauna, then, won’t it? I signed a contract, and wrote out a bunch of post-dated checks. Accepted a key, and signed for that.
On the 15th, we went to see it.
It’s about this big.
Well, the new landlord tried to warn me, didn’t he? I’m taking it anyway, though. I can’t imagine looking at any more filthy, little expensive places…
There are all those pluses, too… I could spit and hit Ruby’s door… security parking for Prissy, behind a chain-link fence, complete with barbed-wire ruffles at the top… cheap rent, all inclusive… decent landlord…. the new everything he put in the place… Oh and did I mention
And I’ll be glad to get out of this place, finally. It’s not the same without Ruby at the helm, and about the only things I’ll miss are the considerable whack-jobs populating the block.. like Captain Underpants, who moved in across the street last winter, and introduced himself to the neighbourhood by walking around barefoot in the snow, wearing nothing but his green boxers, beer in hand, yelling “Howdy!” to everybody he saw. Every day.
Now that the snow is gone, he yells from his kitchen window. I don’t think Captain Underpants likes heat. At least I know I won’t find him in my sauna some day.
Random Song-for-the-Day: “i am the walrus” – The Beatles