Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Mondays Hate Us and Want to See Us Dead

Mondays hate us and want to see us dead so they can have the rest of the week to themselves.

I did not check my calendar last Friday for the upcoming week because I was on vacation.  So, I went to work in Barberburg as usual Monday morning.  When I got there I discovered I was supposed to be in Ore City and Toreador instead.

After gulping down the rest of my breakfast burrito, I grabbed my laptop, strapped it to the back of the motorcycle and headed up Farm to Market road 207 to Ore City.

I knew that was a bad idea.

FM 207 has been under construction for well over a year  and by construction, I mean dive-bombed into oblivion so as to make it a lunar landscape obstacle course that it is navigable only by the gravel and transport trucks of the wind energy construction crews.  Bad as it is, it's also at least 20 miles shorter than the alternative route.

I started off at a good pace and made it almost two whole miles before coming up behind a water truck.

I don't know why the water truck was spraying the pavement, but it was.

This is not really an issue in a car.  On a motorcycle it's a problem.  Although I stayed far enough behind him not to get sprayed directly, my front tire kicked up the water pooled on the road, soaking my boots and jeans.

If I tried to pass the truck the water would spray all down my right side.  Finally, though, that seemed the lesser evil, so I sped up and went around.

I got a little wet.

And then I saw a stoplight.

This isn't too unusual for most people, I know, but it is for me.  My job covers four counties.  In those four counties there is only one stoplight.

Not one per county.  Just one.  Period.

This stoplight was of the supposedly temporary, road construction variety.  The road is so torn up that they are down to one lane of traffic.  You have to wait at the stoplight for the pilot car to come and guide you through.

I stopped behind a pickup - of course - and turned off the engine.  The lumbering whine of the wind turbines and the sound of the idling truck mingled in the wind.  We didn't have to wait too long for the pilot car. Normally that's a good thing.

Today the short wait was not a good thing because my feet and shins were still wet.  And on the road in front of us the asphalt had all been peeled away, leaving only dusty white caliche underneath.

Seven miles later, I was covered from the knees down in sloppy white clay.

Eventually I made it back onto pavement, divorced from the pilot car, speeding north to the courthouse and nursing a vain hope of making it on time.

I did not make it on time.

Instead, I ran out of gas.

Thankfully, due to prior experience, I knew that the bike has a reserve tank good for about 50 miles.

Before I left home, I checked my mileage and made sure I had enough gas to get to work.  I did.  But that was when I thought I was supposed to be working in Barberburg.  So, when the engine died, I coasted to a stop on the side of the road and switched over to the reserve tank.

I made it to the courthouse 11 minutes late.  No time for hallway coffee with the seats of the county government, I dragged my weighty accouterments up the stairs to the Judge's Chambers.  The District Judge lets me use his office when I am in this courthouse.  It's the only courthouse that does not have a dedicated office for me.  Since I'm only here once a month, that's not a big deal.

What is sort of a big deal is that there is no electricity in that office.

That's not entirely true.  There is a single bare bulb at the very tip top of the high, high ceiling.  Two eight foot tall windows directly behind the desk make the bulb unnecessary.  I don't need artificial light, but I do need electricity.

Unfortunately, the closest outlet is a single plug in the jury room down the hall.  Once I unpacked my laptop and printer, I pulled a 50 foot extension cord and surge protector from the desk drawer where it rests atop a slew of expired urine collection cups and strung it down the hall.  I unplugged the coffee maker in the jury room, prayed no one on the second floor was jonesing for a refill, and plugged in the cord.

Ten minutes later, I'd connected to the world and was ready to start in on the folks lined up on the pew outside my door. The rest of the morning went pretty smoothly.

None of the local restaurants are open on Monday, so once I'd seen my last person I rode 30 miles to Turkey, Texas, home of Bob Wills. I had my once a month lunch at the Tex-Mex joint on the highway.  Then back on the bike for another 30 miles or so to Toreador.

Toreador is an interesting place, worthy of it's own story at a later date.

I have my own office in Toreador.  It's in a far back corner of the courthouse, right above the sheriff's office and right next to the employees' bathroom.  It had just been repainted and had all of the peeling wall plaster repaired.

It also has an electrical outlet.  I am in high cotton there!

My second appointment of the afternoon was a woman who's really not much older than me, buy you'd think she was in her early 70's.  She's had a hard, hard life.

She's in trouble for identity theft, which she is inadvertently guilty of as a result of committing a small scale theft.  Unfortunately, ID theft is a felony, so she's going to be seeing me for quite a few years.

That's ok with me.  I wish all my people were as cooperative as Marge.  She has, almost literally, nothing.  Yet she makes her monthly payments without fail.  Except for those six months when she was out for cancer treatment.  She missed a few payments then, but she's working to get caught back up.  She never misses an appointment, not even during chemo.

She's just skin and bones.  Partly because of stress, partly because of health and partly because she probably has never really had enough to eat.  Also partly due to drug and alcohol abuse, I suspect.  I'd drink too, if I was her.

She doesn't have any teeth, and her sunken cheeks make her wrinkled, leathery skin look decades older than it is.  Her mousy hair lies on her shoulders in lank, listless wisps.  Her glasses don't fit well and constantly slide down to the end of her pointy nose.

When she sat down across the desk from me, I slid a report form over for her to fill out.  It has contact information for her to verify, as well as a few standard questions to answer.  One of those is "Are you taking any medication?"

As she took a pen and bowed her head over the paperwork, I stared out the window next to my desk and contemplated the small figure on a riding mower who was circling the abandoned stone jail a block down the street.

Her cracking, high pitched voice pulled me out of my reverie.

"I'm supposed to take medicine, but I haven't had it for almost a month!"

"Why not?" I asked.

"Because someone STOLE it right out of my bathroom!"

I opened my mouth to inquire if she'd reported the theft to the sheriff, but she cut me off.

"And they stole my PRESCRIPTION DILDO!"

I totally forgot what I was going to say.  And forgot to close my mouth.

Finally I stammered "You....  Your...  Pardon me?!"

"They stole my prescription dildo," she repeated.  "It was for MEDICAL PURPOSES ONLY!"  She pounded a palm on the desk to emphasize the words.

I stared at her, slack-jawed with stupidity.  Finally I managed to ask what had been stolen, pretty sure I'd misheard her.

I had not.

Marge went to the doctor because she thought she had a bladder infection of some sort.  She was experiencing burning and pain.  She fully expected to come home with a fistful of antibiotics.  Instead, she came home with a dildo.

And a recommendation from her doctor to purchase a bottle of Wesson Oil.  Not sure why he had a brand preference.

It turns out that Marge is suffering from a collapsing vagina and she is supposed to use the medical device to help improve muscle tone in that area.

"It's for medical purposes only.  Not pleasure!" she reiterated for at least the fifth time.

She thinks either her brother's girlfriend or her son's girlfriend is the thief.  She made the very good point of asking why someone was want to take a used dildo.  "I confronted them about it," she said.  "They didn't admit to anything and I told them I don't want it back, now."

Again she slapped the top of the desk.  "Medical purposes only!"

I couldn't help it.  I lost it.  "I'm so sorry," I managed, trying to stifle my laughter. "I'm sorry someone stole from you, but it's really, really funny."

She started to smile with just a corner of her mouth, then broke into a grin.  "Well, at least they left the Wesson Oil.  I guess I can fry up some chicken!"

Is it any wonder that after a Monday like this that my ride home was not uneventful?  This was my Facebook status posted later that evening:

"It has been a Monday.

I did something today that I've evidently never done before. I chewed gum while riding my motorcycle.

After a while I was lost in thought and zoned out and without thinking about it, I blew a bubble.

Bad, bad idea.

I had to stop on the side of the road and clean all the gum out off of my face.

It was a beautiful afternoon and the clouds made the ride much more pleasant. In a few miles I was lost in thought again.

I blew another bubble.

As God is my witness, I will never chew gum on the motorcycle again."

Happy Monday, y'all.  It can only get better from here.  

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

100 Things Divorce Taught Me - Six, Six, Six

42.  I missed the ribs.  So I learned how to make them myself.  And I excel at it, she said feministly.
43.  Being single means not finding the last elusive EKG lead until days after the surgery.
44.  Occasionally, not having someone to whine to sort of sucks.
45.  One learns not to whine so much.  Hopefully.
46.  The creativity thing is improving.  For instance, I'm back to blogging.  You might have noticed?  I am doing more art.  Not a lot more, but some.  And tonight I plan to put the finishing touches on a new video.  I haven't done one of those since my photo assistant/best buddy died two years ago.  I'm excited to have gotten back on that horse.  I painted a mural/cartoon on one of the doors going into my house.  Next project is to finally repaint my "The Jacksons, Est. 1999" sign with something about "Bistro Raquel" so I can rehang it on the patio.
47.  Car repairs are now the bane of my existence.  There is no greater suckage than trying to arrange to get the vehicle in the shop and myself to work in another town/another county all at the same time.  Once that is accomplished, I've got to get the oil changed on my motorcycle.  Again I'm reminded of how must worse this would be if I was also trying to wrangle children at the same time.  Single parents are strong, strong people.
48.  I read an article today about how "Managing Your Feelings Is Not My Job".
  • "One of the almost unconscious (and completely unpaid) jobs that women are doing all the damn time is managing their own behavior in order to manage men’s emotions.  We do it so much that we’re often not even aware that we’re doing it.  While the Jungian projection is that women are “too emotional” and “let their emotions run away with them,” the fact is that, of course, it’s most men who really can’t manage their own emotions."   
Holy hell.  I have done that for much longer than I'd care to admit.  Or even think about.  I excel at this, too.  And I'm slowly but surely getting really pissed off about it.  Nevermore, she said ravenously.  (And please don't feel the need to point out to me that not all men have trouble managing their emotions.  I am well aware of that and I will assume you are an idiot if you try to mansplain this to me, she said judgingly.)
49.  If I ever do date again, it will be because I met someone who is an emotional grown up.  And maybe they will even be smarter than me, she said challengingly.
50.  I cracked myself up when I realized that, as per number 42, I considered learning to cook something to be a feminist triumph.  In my case, it's valid, she said reverse role reversally.
51.  Now that I have the whole bed to myself, I awake each morning to find myself virtually cocooned in a seriously decadent number of pillows.  Not prissy little decorator pillows, but substantial, softly-cased, and seriously smushed sleeping pillows.  A few years back we splurged on a memory foam mattresses.  It's too dang hot, but I can't give it up - it's way too comfortable.  Between the mattress and now all the pillows, I really hate getting out of bed in the mornings.  Having to exert some sort of muscle power in order to hold my body in whatever upright position I'm aiming for seems like far too much to expect from someone who just spent eight hours in a trough of libertinely luxurious, cottony, bliss, she said hedonistically.
                         51a.  I like adverbs, she said grammatically.