Sunday, May 31, 2015

Special K IS pretty special

It's just gone 4am today and I'm doing another graveyard shift at the grouphome. This is the 5th one this month on top of working 40+ hour weeks driving a 5 ton.
I can't tell you about the kids at this place because they're minors, suffice it to say that there are not many "good" stories here.
Harry used to work in corrections. He landed a job at Oakalla prison here in BC and after several years there moved on to work out of a halfway house in South Vancouver on Hudson St. in the Marpole area. I couldn't imagine the Blue Bloods in that area allowing a house like that up there now! In fact, the original site is about 7 minutes from my home. Funny how things go.
If you don't know, a halfway house is where convicted criminals live upon release from prison to begin the process of reintegration with society while still providing monitoring and support. The Offenders get meals, a room and a program in addition to whatever their parole conditions are. Some end up back in prison unfortunately.
Opening a new halfway house is often opposed by vocal people called NIMBYs  ( Not In My Back Yard ) To be honest, I wouldn't want to live within a community of  NIMBY's.
Anyway, the reason I tell you this is that I get lonely on this shift if the kids are away or asleep like tonight and  I'm Missing Harry.
Harry was my dad if you didn't know...
Harry did shiftwork for about the last 20 years of his work life. You gotta admire a guy for that don't you?
In my mind's eye as a child and a teen, I can see Harry waving goodbye as he drove off to work in the different cars he owned throughout the years.
A 59 Pontiac Stratochief, 66 Pontiac Parisienne, an "in the meantime" 74 AMC Hornet until his 75 AMC Pacer came in and finally his 81 Chevy Caprice Estate wagon, the last car he'd drive.
He had to wear a uniform in Prison and hated the green colour and the tie. He hated anything even close to formal or military. I come by that formal bit honestly so it would seem.
The 70's were innovative years, so much changing so quickly. As a kid, I'm sure I missed a lot of things but I recall lots!
Harry hated it if mum "kept his dinner warm" in the oven under tin foil. I can still hear him "June (my mum) for Christ's sake, leave it on the counter Love. It's horrible all dried out like this."
He adored her, don't get me wrong! He was a crusty Brit is all. We eventually got a 60 lb microwave in the very late 70's. Probably from Sears...they were loyal to that place.
Harry wouldn't take food to work with him. I suppose they had meals in the house and leftovers like here, but the man was very picky...probably didn't eat. He DID take a little plug-in kettle and a few tea bags though. No tea there? Seemed odd even then. I can still see the fold-over baggie. No ziplocks then.
Somewhere along the line, Harry found a little black and white portable TV to take along. He could get 3 channels. Imagine 3 channels back in the 70's early 80's. What was even on during the lonely hours?
Lonely. Harry had 1 friend. Dave. ( Dave worked at the house and drove one of those very cool 70's Volvo P1800 E coupes. It was copper coloured. Ugly choice.)
I don't know how Harry managed lonely. Maybe he never got lonely? I get lonely. I'm lonely now.
Harry told me a few work stories in later years over beers in strip bars. Like the time he flushed the toilet at the house and the tank seemed "quick" to fill. He lifted the lid and found 2 bottles of Vodka.
Did he fill in a report? Nope...he tipped the spirit down the sink, filled the bottles with water and put them back where he found them. He said he never heard a word about it.
He played tricks on his work mates often, I wish I could recall some to tell you.
Some mornings, when I was still very young, I'd hear Harry get up and put the kettle on and I'd get up too. School was hours away but often I'd pretend I couldn't sleep just so I could sit with him before he left. We didn't really talk about anything. What is there to say to a little kid as you're getting ready for work?
I recall feeling sad for him though. I don't remember why I felt that way, I just recall the emotion as if it happened only yesterday.
A cup of tea and a bowl of Special K cereal, every time I got up...and I did it many times, that's what he was having for breakfast on day shift mornings. He ate, I was quiet. Damn I wish I remembered if we talked!
You know, I've tried Special K and I don't get the appeal...but sometimes, in a grocery store when I see it there, I look around in case someone is watching and if not...I touch the box.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Why does cerebral drama occur at night?

We've all got our shit to deal with. Unfortunately, others also have our shit to deal with too. You don't get to pick and choose how other people will respond to your madness or selfishness, but you may have to live with it.
Blow out is often seen as bad karma, but really...maybe you earned it.
I had a dream the other night. I don't put too much stock into dreams because as Ebenezer Scrooge says, "you may be the effect of an under cooked potato or a bit of undigested beef"
Never the less, my dreams are telling.
I recently had a dream wherein my wife put down her instrument in the middle of a jam we often attend to walk over to me and point out the 6 men that she had recently slept with. (caveat, she hasn't...)
I woke up mad.
Another nocturnal event had me shouting at my boss for being an utter tit with no clue about the daily goings on. Albeit true, I'd never resort to a public thrashing such as that.
I'm a news junkie. I had a dream that the jet I was on crashed into the sea. Many were lost...horribly. Victims were dismembered, burnt and bloated. I survived via a short swim. The dream was so vivid that I woke with heavy guilt that I survived while many perished.
Another dream, I lost an arm. No idea how...but for a motorcyclist and photographer, this is NOT good news. I just sat in a white room and cried.
So why is it that we can fumble through our respective days oblivious to our deepest fears and anguish?
Why, on our pillow, does all the shit slide down the wall and onto our brain?
What's your poison? Debt, age, health, kids, unfaithful spouse, middle age, aging parents, rebellious kids...
Why do our thoughts overtake us the moment we're meant to recharge...reboot...rejuvenate?
How many books have been written by authors with all the answers? ( we all know that they lay awake at night too! Save your money!!)
We try so many tactics and angles to sleep.
SEX, tea, lavender, reading, yoga, stretching, meditation, prayer, reading, massage, alcohol, snacks...
I may have missed your favourite angle, but I bet you lay awake too.
My brain is a convincing lier. My brain whilst horizontal on my pillow has a way of nullifying the effects of my citalopram and thereby convincingly whispering everything to me in the language I trust, everything  I dread or fear about YOU or me! ESPECIALLY what I think of me and what I think that YOU think of me!
This is quite like chasing a feather in the wind.