Sunday, January 18, 2015

We Know You're a Jerk...Did You Really Have to Reinforce It?

It's funny, with most people that show their assholian tendencies, you just stop hanging out with them, talking to them, associating with them, or whatever. A perk of being human is free will, and in general you can avoid people that are truly horrible.

Unless they're family. Or co-workers. However, both of those situations are usually short-term (as in, I guess I can handle the occasional get-together with totally miserable family members or sit in a meeting an hour a week or so where highly immature and rude co-workers think it's okay to make jokes about a rather structured colleague water boarding peers for stepping out of a meeting), and we all have our crosses to bear.

My ex-husband seems to enjoy being a cruel and emotionally manipulative force in my daughter's life, though. It is utterly unnecessary, and I will never understand why he (and others like him) can't just accept the terrible damage that they've done to others and walk the hell away. Reopening the wounds over and over again, for six years now, just drives home the fact of your douchebaggedness over and over...

He's playing this "I've found God" game lately, so I'd like to put this into language that goes along with that: a true and just God will make you burn in hell for eternity. No matter how many Facebook posts you make about the greatness of God and how amazing life is since you've found Him, I'm pretty sure that He hears actions louder than words, so really you should be quaking with fear if your religious claims are true. Douchebag.

My children are the most important thing in the world to me, and I'm especially protective of my middle daughter, Ari, because of the emotional torture she's had to endure (and the physical torture she's had to observe) at the hands of her biological father. Nobody needs to hear the saga beyond the fact that court paperwork is explicit that he is not allowed to be alone with her because of his "issues". That, I assume, speaks volumes.

If you aren't equipped to be a parent, if your presence is going to damage your child, nobody would blame you for walking away. In some cases, this would be the greatest gift you could give your child.

If you make the choice not to do this, however, then there is an implied expectation that you will do your best to make up for six years' worth of cruelty and mind games. 

One very small way to do this would be to answer the phone when your daughter calls (at the time you've requested, on the number you've requested) on her birthday. Seriously, picking up the phone and saying, "Happy birthday" is a very simple thing to do; it's a seemingly small gesture that nonetheless shows a degree of care, no matter how small.

Yet you couldn't be bothered.

And not because you were on a bender (which Ari understands because it's happened so many times) or were in jail/rehab/et cetera (been there, done that, many times, so she gets that as well).

Even though Ari primarily hates you due directly to your own actions six years ago and your constant emotional manipulation in the years since, there is still a part of her that hopes. Your daughter has a beautiful and giving heart, something you will never understand, and so she still wants you to answer the phone when she calls.

I am not going to tell her that you didn't answer the phone because you were too busy with your girlfriend's grandson that you somehow have custody of (you aren't allowed to see your own child unsupervised, yet you are allowed to raise a baby...what a sick world).

I would never show her this post your girlfriend made last night:

This was Ari's birthday:

She had a wonderful day, and she was surrounded by people that loved her--aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, sisters--but you taking twelve seconds to answer the phone and say happy birthday (or call back, or text, or whatever) could have been a positive addition to the day.

Instead, you chose to reinforce what a loser you are.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Pretty Sure I Saw Racism at the Pharmacy

True story...I've had a sickness of some sort (it's been called bronchitis, pneumonia, even whooping cough) since early December. I've taken three rounds of antibiotics, got better for the course of treatment, then I'm sick all over again.

Started feeling it coming back yesterday, so I decided to be proactive and call the doctor today. Apparently it's a sinus infection this week, and they're trying a different antibiotic along with still more codeine cough medicine.

The doctor faxed the Clindamycin script to Walgreen's, but the Phenergan with Codeine is apparently a controlled substance, so I had to deliver a paper copy, show ID, promise there is no meth lab in my basement...

I should probably mention that my pharmacy is sort of in the ghetto. It's an inner-city kind of drugstore. I almost never leave there without some sort of story...

For example, today there was a guy talking in rapid Spanish on his cell phone, quite loudly. I know enough Spanish to infer that he was getting hell from his wife/girlfriend/maybe even mother for not coming home last night. His excuses were increasingly creative, and when he got called up to the pharmacy and said, "Te amo" into the phone, he got hung up on. Poor guy's night got even worse because he was apparently one day early for his nicotine patch prescription. He was pretty irate because he'd been waiting for awhile and it took him that long for Walgreen's to inform him that he'd have to come back tomorrow. I felt like stepping in and saying to the pharmacy tech, "Come on, dude, he's in deep shit with a female in his life. He wants a patch instead of a cigarette. You'll give it to him at nine in the morning but not now?", but I was already pretty pissed off about something that happened to me earlier.

So I mentioned that my Walgreen's is an inner-city one. I enjoy going there because I almost always encounter interesting people. I am usually an ethnic minority and I perhaps have a higher grasp of the nuances of English grammar, but none of that really matters. I've had men that don't speak English get something off a shelf for me. I've held the newborn baby of a young Hispanic mother while she went to the bathroom (must be my honest face...she didn't speak English, either). I've crawled around on the floor picking up a display of boxes an old man accidentally knocked over (tears of gratitude on that one).

So, yeah, this is my store. These are my people. I have never felt unsafe or in danger there. I've never felt disrespected or looked down on there. 

Until today.

I knew it was busy from the moment I had to park my car in a spot not right in front of the store, so I wasn't surprised that there was a line at the pharmacy. There were four people ahead of me. 

My cough sounded wonderful, and the young African-American kid in front of me kindly offered to let me go ahead of him. I thanked him but told him he'd been waiting and that was fine. He asked if I was sure (I suspect he didn't want to catchy my pestilence), and I said that I was but appreciated the gesture.

And then the game-changer walked toward the pharmacy...

He was a middle-aged man wearing a camel hair suit coat, creased khakis, loafers that I'm pretty sure had "Gucci" stamped on them. He was wearing a Rolex, and he carried himself like he was better than everyone else.

He carried himself, in fact, right past the long line and to the front of the counter, where he stood drumming his fingers on the Walgreen's sign and looking expectantly toward the pharmacist. "Picking up for Jones," he called in a calm voice that was loud enough to carry over.

And I'll be damned if they didn't stop what they were doing and get this guy his prescriptions! 

Never mind that the waiting line was five people deep. Never mind that those of us waiting had shown patience, tolerance, and, yes, kindness to each other.

It wasn't until that moment, as I started coughing so hard I thanked God for pantiliners that catch leaked pee, that I realized I was going to have to wait even longer to even *drop off* my codeine cough medicine, never mind get to bring it home and take it.

And why?

Because this rich-looking white guy thought the rules didn't apply to him...and the idiots at Walgreen's backed him up on that!

I was appalled!

Anyway, I finally got my prescription dropped off (and heard the saga of Unfaithful Nicotine Patch Dude), but I was so disillusioned.

It got me wondering if I had worn a dress and nice shoes (I have both, although I don't often wear either) and put my one-carat diamond earrings in, replaced my trusty Vera Bradley purse with the more stylish one with a Coach label, straightened my hair and put on makeup (I can still look pretty good when I try; I just don't see the need to try very often)...could I have pushed my way to the front, gotten my medicine, and been treated like I was superior to the other customers?

Sadly, I'm pretty sure the answer is yes.

Racism (or maybe it's classism??) still exists, make no mistake about it. I just wish I hadn't had to see it...

Has racism ever reared its ugly head when you were least expecting it?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Trying to Find Writing Again ...

So I think it's safe to say that I've lost writing.

This is heartbreaking to me, as writing has been my solace, my sanity, and my safety since I was a very little girl. I don't remember NOT writing ... and now I can't seem to do it.

There's a part of me that says, "Gee, you know, maybe I've said all I need to say." Deep inside, though, I know this isn't the truth.

So, then, what is?

I think the truth is that the things I have to say are complicated. They are inflammatory. They put a lens on people, including myself, who have not acted well.

That lens is strong. It's unbreakable. It's also got a "no going back" clause.

I have always had a rebellious streak. I never wanted to do what I was supposed to do in the way I was supposed to do it.

However, I also have a "people-pleaser" streak. I would hope that nothing I write would never hurt people. At this point in time, I'm not sure that's possible.

I could write about fluffy bunnies and Christmas spirit and how beautiful the ocean is ... but who really cares?

What I want to write about ... well, I suspect people would care, but it might piss off a lot of people. Intentionally lighting fires under folks is not my style.

And so I'm silent.

The other problem is that there is a novel brewing. It's very John Irving-esque, and it's largely true. Writing that novel could either kill me or save me. I'm not sure I'm ready to roll the dice on that one.

Yet it haunts me, that story that is begging to be told, that story that has never been told. Even with the protective label of "fiction", I don't know that I have the courage to go there, and so I beat myself up metaphorically every time I fire up my laptop.

Anyway, I'll stop rambling. I am going to try to write more.

I don't feel like me without writing.

Are Minorities Discouraged from Taking Upper-Level Classes?: The Elephant in the Room

As a public school teacher for sixteen years, I sometimes feel like I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen Standards come and go (and despite the brou...