Sunday, February 22, 2015

Heavy pressures of the past presently present.

I had a nap the other day. I think I work too hard and it may be catching up to me. I work full time driving truck and part time at the group home not to mention trying to learn this blasted ukelele with classes once a week.
My wife keeps me tired too, but thats good tired. Welcomed tired.
But damn I'm dragging.
So I nap sometimes. Its come to that.
The other day while absorbed in thick sleep, I dreamed of my dad Harry. I was a teenager back in North Vancouver and I was doing my chores around the apartment complex that my mum managed.
Harry would often govern my chores...certainly afterwards if not during. He worked too ya know! Didn't have time to chase after 2 idiot sons...
So in my dream I was sweeping up in the 40 stall underground parkade that usually saw me net about 300 cigarette butts and the odd bit of paper trash in my handy scooper. Every 3 or 4 months I'd take a large push broom to the entire area. I hated that day!
How difficult do you s'pose it is to sweep butts into a catcher pan? You've seen the sort.
But Harry watched in my dream. It was surreal and vivid and realistic.
He'd come down to the parkade to check up on me in real life.
Do you know he'd point out any trash that I missed? Cars came and went as I swept up...could have happened anytime!
We had grass on the boulevard and there was a bus stop there. Another chore saw me picking up trash with a spear I made. Why bend over when I could stab the paper crap rolling along the grass?
Harry's place was 3 stories above that grass. "OI, you missed a bit back there!" he'd shout and point.
I also painted suites when people moved out, bachelours, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom appartments. I was rather good at it and quick...but Harry would mention shortfalls.
"You left a bit of a mess in the sink in the tool room after you cleaned up..."  What was I then? 17 I think.
Maybe Harry's tutelage created the workforce that I am now? Still...that pisses off a kid!
I used to cut the grass too. I recall Harry showing me areas that were missed from our 3rd floor balcony. I tried.
Dreams are funny. They provoke memories.
As you know, I work in an emergency receiving group home. Tonight, I managed to talk a very stoned 16 year old heroin addict into cleaning her room. I'm fond of this kid! I'd like to rescue her! I began by telling her that I bet she couldn't deal with her room in 30 minutes. Her room is derelict! (am I the only one that works there?)
She took up the challenge giving me the usual sass and taking mine in stride.
Talk about impressive! This kid tidied, thru in laundry, vacuumed, sanitized and hung up clothes in record time! Protocol says I'm meant to check her room, but I didn't.
I told her that I was satisfied with the job if SHE was satisfied with the job. She tried!
Later on, my co-worker said it was well done.
Years ago, a dad called me to set up a meeting with him. I'm game for anything!
He told me about his frustrations with his 17 year old son. "the kid lay around all weekend and I have to badger him into doing any jobs around here" I asked what kind of jobs.
Usual stuff. Taking out the trash, clean the room, homework, put away dishes, walk the dog, cut the grass....
Theres a nerve!
Tell me about him cutting the grass.
"It takes me forever to finally get him out there and then he does a lousy job!"
"He misses the edge, clips flowers and it looks like mow hawk hairstyles in several areas"
So what do you do?
"I show him the crappy job and do it again myself! If you want anything done right..."
I remember asking him if his grass was more important than his relationship with his son. Of course he said no. I pointed out that he tries.
I challenged him to set the kid to the task and NOT CHECK IT afterwards.
He really struggled with the instruction.
Towards summer's end, he noticed that he didn't have to ask the kid to get out and cut the grass and he no longer cared about the quality of the job the boy did. It got better however...and the kid seemed to enjoy the task. Funny that.
My friend Ray is on Social Assistance and lives in a nasty SRO in Vancouver. You remember Ray?
Ray goes about binning and manages to keep himself in crapy beer for his bottle collecting efforts, he also sweeps up and rakes leaves for a few local businesses for roughly $3 an hour. Its smoke money he tells me.
Ray pulls 2 big trash cans from an apartment complex into the alley each week in the West End of Vancouver so the truck can tip them.
The Asian apartment manager gives Ray $24 a month for his efforts. Saves the manager doing the job. Ray is crowding 60 and he says that he has nothing better to do. He's an alcoholic with a shitty track record of jobs and addresses. Not what you'd call hireable. But he tries.
The Undertaker is that odd dude that I welcome on my truck whenever he wants to help swamp. I like the guy a lot but he talks none stop. Literally, non stop.
The other morning he was walking up Hastings street to meet me at the truck and 2 guys stopped him. At 6:30am they asked if he wanted to buy some hash (I didn't even know hash was still around) They said $20 and showed him the chunk. He giggled and said "I'll give you a dollar"
Offended, they came at him but they ended up worse for wear. The Undertaker made it to my truck but was too grieved to work. He was physically ok but felt horrible for smacking the 2 clowns around. He also felt bad because he was going to let me down swapping for the day. Hey man, you're a luxury on my tried!
I sent him home to read, chill and forgive himself.
Isn't it funny how we beat ourselves up when we think we've failed? Or worse, when we've been told that we've failed?
We keep track of our shortcomings. We brood.
I'm sure Hawkeye Pierce could tell you how many lives he's lost...but that he has no idea how many he's saved!
I'm guilty first hand! If you follow me on social network sites, you'll notice how I moan about early morning commuters that try to kill me as I ride my motorbike to and fro...but I rarely communicate a good trip without issue.
All this to, to suggest, that you try and ponder the good and let the bad go away.
At least you can try.


  1. Thumbs up, this is what you call "Correct Thinking"!!!

  2. Awesome to read and absorb. Thank you Lance.