Why I Stopped Liking People Today Or …#First World Problems

Since I no longer expect anything from mankind except madness, meanness, and mendacity; egotism, cowardice, and self-delusion, I have stopped being a misanthrope. -Irving Layton

Hell is other people. Truly.

Am I walking around with a ‘be rude to me sign on my forehead?’

Today I saw a man walking in the middle of a busy 4 lane street.

His black jacket waving in a frigid April wind like a winged creature whipping its arms against his heels.

Maybe the creature in his brain told him today he would die, maybe it was the alcohol.

As he sauntered confidently toward oncoming traffic, I was hurtling forward in a minivan in the outermost lane.

To my right, a red mazda 6 sped up, aimed like an arrow at its target, a flesh and bone human and the motorist driving his foot deeper into the floor, gas peddle revving the engine, stopped short of the man to swerve in front of us at the last second.

He narrowly avoided hitting the person, clearly disturbed to be walking in the street in the first place and then proceeded to put me, my co-worker and our 2 clients in danger.

I was ready to jump out at the red light, open his car door and beat him to a bloody pulp for thinking because he was behind the wheel of a 2000 lb projectile that he was entitled to kill me and several other perfect strangers.

Was that to be the worst part? No dear reader, sadly it was not.

Why?

This should have been my answer to incident #2

“If you’re looking for sympathy you’ll find it between shit and syphilis in the dictionary.”

Upon arriving home safely, my coworker brings client #1 into the house while I collect the belongings of client #2 and wait for the coworker to come back and help me with the wheelchair of client #2.

Cue psycho hose beast…

Her hair is a mix of black and grey, dried from over processing and her make up appears to be layered on with a trowel.

She approaches the fence separating her property line from our group home’s driveway and calls,

“Hey, are you staff at this group home?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Do you see a mat down the walk way there,” she points in the direction of the walkway and grassy area between the two houses.

“No, I’m sorry, I don’t.” The gate to the fence is closed, I have no clue what she is talking about and I can’t see past a six foot closed gate.

“Really? Are you blind? You don’t see a mat sitting in front of your door?”

“I’m sorry what?” This come out in the tone of, no bitch, you did not just take that tone with me

“It’s my mat! It’s been missing for 3 years and there it is outside this group home!”

I’m dumbfounded, struck into speechlessness for a second while this woman mouths off to me.

“Were your legs broken? Is that why you didn’t go get it?”

“How dare you!” she hissed.

“Are you shitting me?” I think I said, though it might’ve been in my brain, I lost all sense of time and composure at this point.

“They told me when this group home went here we wouldn’t have any trouble and all there’s been is trouble.”

For the record, I have no clue what she’s talking about. Both my clients are non-verbal, one is in a wheelchair and the other is concerned only with rides in the car and cartoons. I can’t imagine what she means by trouble.

“Have you ever lived next door to clients with mental illness who destroy property?” I ask her.

I say this because I’ve worked at houses that look like a warzone, where holes are made in drywall faster than they can be patched, where I’ve safety restrained people in rotating 4 hour shifts because they were a danger to staff and themselves.

This house she lives next door to is decorated with flowers and shrubs it has a lovely natural wood fence and trees all around that are all maintained by staff.

“My issue isn’t with the clients.”

“Well it isn’t with the staff either,”

“It’s not very neighbourly to put up a fence without consulting me.”

“What?”

“Everything about this house is a problem, stealing other people’s property, my house is the most expensive thing I own,”

“Congratulations,” I say, turning to open the van door to my client who is waiting patiently to go inside.

“Listen bitch, I got more important shit to worry about…so go fuck yourself.”

“Excuse me?” she said, before walking away.

“Oh you heard me.”

My coworker has come back by this time, he’s wide eyed and helps me with client #2.

He whispers, “Did you just say that?”

“Yeah I did,” I replied, “fucking psychopath.”

Yep, I was unprofessional.

Nope, I don’t care.

I don’t know what happened before I arrived here over a year ago.

If you can’t have the civility to come knock on the door and clear up a misunderstanding while I help my clients get through day to day life with a disability, then you will have no respect and no patience from me.

Tell someone who actually cares.

I know what her fundamental problem is: like most people who live next door to a group home, she’s pissed because she thinks her property values are going down, she feels like her ‘tax dollars’ are paying for it so she can accost me and yell at me like I’m ‘the help’, that people with disabilities should live in the ghetto where she doesn’t have to deal with them, this is what her snotty obnoxious mouth is really saying.

And I’m replying with an unapologetic, FUCK you.

“I’m killing time while I wait for life to shower me with meaning and happiness.”

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Two weirdos in the park or…my wife takes me for a walk

I got my vitamin D and a little sun burn on my pale irish skin today from a hobble in the park across the street. Yay!!

She brought me a hat, a sweet brown fedora lookin thing, my shades and we hit the trail and the speed of  crawl

I never remember what we chat about on our walks but it usually involves some hilarity, a trip or occasional fall with some more laughing to follow.

Today for some reason, in the middle of an empty field, we decided to pull up my shirt to see how my surgery scars are healing, they’re nowhere near boob zone and I still don’t know why we decided that was a good time and place,

I think its because we forget other people most of the time and are just generally used to be stared at when we’re together.

I think we also scared some kids and parents on the play structure several hundred feet away because in poking a finger at one scar, we realised a suture was missed and clumsily, my wife poked at it, causing it to come out and fall on the waistband of my shorts.

We both screamed a little like two ladies who saw a tarantula with an AK-47.

It  didn’t hurt. I think it mostly it was the shock that it popped out that gave us a start.

Then I snuggled a giant oak tree and admired some shoots newly poking their heads out of the ground, aaah lovely.

“You stepped in some dog shit with your boot,” said B

“Noooo I didn’t,” I replied, “I would’ve seen it.”

So because I didn’t see it, to me it didn’t happen.

Well, I’m definitely smelling something a little dog shit-esque in the living room right now.

Yep. Pretty sure it’s me….*groan*

Happy spring dear readers!

Manliness Challenge!

While poking around stuff on the interwebs on my favourite motorcycles, I found an article about ‘great men and their motorcycles’ and was subsequently seduced by a new website/blog; drum roll folks:

http://artofmanliness.com

It is filled with awesome and entertaining articles every manly man and manly woman and manly androgynous human should know.
For example: 9 ways to build a fire without matches, How To Build a Table by Thanksgiving and Rediscovering the Barbershop.

For me, the blog is like visual crack. Not to poke fun at addictions but sweet god it’s pretty awesome.

So as a result, I’ve decided to give myself, the manliness challenge:

Here goes, until I get bored or almost kill myself, I’m going to attempt to do one of the things from the blog per week, report on and with photos of the disastrous/hilarious/near-fatal results.

Some of these aren’t feasible, i.e, I don’t have money to go experience Vegas like a gentleman, frankly, I don’t have the cash to experience Winnipeg like a gentleman.

I also have no intention of hunting wild game with a broken foot in the middle of a city. But we’ll see how it goes!

So come back tomorrow for round one: A Beginner’s Guide To Whittling — me, a sharp object and a stick.
Wish me luck.

May the best “man” win?

Mother Courage

I’ve been through it all, baby, I’m mother courage.
Elizabeth Taylor

This quote reminds me of my mom.

We are not close, I haven’t set eyes on her in 9 years nor will I. We’re not good for each other.
She still needs a mom of her own and me, well, I don’t want to be that for her anymore.
To me, she’s a reminder of fear, instability and untreated mental illness.

To her, I’m a monument to her perceived failure as a mother.

I say her perceived failure because I don’t think she failed at it, I think her overwhelming guilt sunk her to the depths of anger and finally bitterness.

To say I haven’t seen her is kind of a fallacy, each time I speak or laugh or look at my own body, I see her.
She is in me, the good parts and the bad.

There are times when optimism and longing for a relationship makes me hope toward finding her, but I don’t think I could, even if I wanted to because I know the city she’s in and that’s it. She probably doesn’t have a phone let alone a computer.

As hard as I “think” I had it in my childhood, she grew up in a warzone where her life was constantly under threat; abuse, substance problems, loaded weapons all figured in her narrative. Her own mom was worried about survival and had no time to protect her own burgeoning brood.

As a young adult, she gave up her first born and was ostracised from her family, had two more kids and some time to think about her own trauma. As a counsellor now, I can see how PTSD was probably a factor and her own mental illness.

Thinking about starting my own family within the year makes me think of her more. My role models will be my aunt, my grandmother, my mother-in-law for certain. I hope some of the memories of our fun times together, and there were lots, will somewhere sink into the nurturing of my own children.

Universe, just give me a little of mother courage.

Too Beautiful

It’s much too nice a day to stay inside. The weather is beautiful, sunny, not warm, but actually hot!

Me and my book hobble to the front door to get some much-needed vitamin D.

I’m so lucky to live across the street from a lovely treed park and a playground.

It gives me a chance to indulge in one of my favourite activities; people watching.

While sitting on my front step, reading in the warm spring sun, I watched a man and his daughter. He looked to be a young Dad and she was about three.

He was watching her with pride and encouragement as she climbed the structure, close enough to see to a skinned knee, but far enough away to say “I trust you,” to her.

“Look at me!” she called, climbing a little higher than maybe she did on their last park visit.

“That’s amazing!” He replied, “you’re doing awesome!”

I’m not a parent yet, but I see myself being like this guy.

In very early life, about 2 or 3, my Dad used to take me to the park like that, it’s a cherished memory from when I was a kid.

We would play on the old statues, feed the ducks, play on the swings, it was a very large city park that you could easily spend the whole day at as a child and I spent many days as a kid swimming in the big pool, running through the bushes and playing on the tire swings.

What reminds you of summer as a child?

Why Bhutan is better than the U.S, and Canada and the UK…for real

You might hear the phrase “gross national happiness” and think, hippy dippy, airy fairy or completely ineffectual for other countries to emulate…and if you do, check out Bhutan.

http://www.gnhc.gov.bt/

I’m behind the times as I only saw the documentary myself a couple of weeks ago and it only firms my belief that we’re doing it wrong…And by “it” I mean EVERYTHING.

They’re a monarchical society where the king is actually working toward democracy even though the people are contented with his rule.

This is actually working!

What does GNH mean? In the words of the commission that oversees this policy in Bhutan, their objectives are:

OBJECTIVES

“The GNHC shall ensure that GNH is mainstreamed into the planning, policy making and implementation process by evaluating their relevance to the GNH framework of:
i.developing a dynamic economy as the foundation for a vibrant democracy;
ii.Harmonious Living – in harmony with tradition and nature;
iii.Effective and good governance; and
iv.Our people: investing in the nation’s greatest asset.”

Unlike first world nations, Bhutan has taken a measured approach to how fast and how useful is technological advancement is; to the people, the environment and the overall wellbeing of Bhutan.

Now this is a place I would like to create, not just move there but demand it from my own government.
Who’s with me?

Back in the saddle

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.
Richard Bach

Most of my nearest and dearest have no genetic link to me at all. They are people who I met by chance, through working together or caring for them in my work; I love them dearly all the same.

Today, I got to attend a meeting with all of my coworkers and friends again and got to see the boys I work with, it was wonderful!

I haven’t seen any of my coworkers in 2 months and only phone conversations with my boss; who, by the way, is the BEST boss I have ever, ever had in my life.

This guy fought for me when my company was following policy and ruining my life while I was on sick leave.
He is clear, honest, has high expectations, and because he works hard and demands so much for himself, he makes you want to work as hard as possible for him in return.

The joy on their faces and the happiness in their eyes, conversations and smiles was such a welcome change. There were hugs and smiles and jokes about my useless legs all around. I knew I missed them, I just didn’t realise how much.

The hardest thing these past weeks has been the isolation and the knowledge of how much they need me back and miss me.
The knowledge I could do nothing more to help than answer the phone.

Now I’m back to the family I joined, on a short term basis and even that’s enough.