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My First Week as a Crossing Guard

I realize that it "ain't rocket science" as the woman who trained me said but it can be demanding, especially at rush hour at a four way intersection in a busy downtown area.

There are many lovely things about it, not the least of which are seeing all the everyday human interactions that are for the most part lovely.

-a woman tells me after I ask if she would like me to cross her that she went to the school as a child and crossed this very intersection with a crossing guard, and "here I am feeling eleven years old again!"
-an elderly lady says she doesn't live around here anymore; Her friend and roommate died and so she came back to the old neighbourhood, because "you can't be all alone feeling sad, you have to get out." She had just been to visit the owner of the convenience store who she told me was "the nicest man on the planet."
-people with walkers and canes and wheelchairs smiling and saying thank you and you can see that they are, despite pain and difficulty, grateful just to be out and pushing themselves to remain a part of the fabric of the neighbourhood, and people with issues with reality, with their minds, doing the same
-numerous and sundry people thanking me for being there, their hope that I would be placed there as a permanent crossing guard, (some introduced themselves and their children and asked my name)
-I see people parting for the day with kisses, I see people enjoying the sudden warm Autumn weather at the coffee shop patio reading their papers sitting in the Muskoka chairs that are lined along the wall. The gaggles of pre-teenage girls plotting and pruning and laughing, the boys perpetually uncomfortable and posturing, the dog walkers, the harried parents and bubbling babies and bouncing and fidgeting children, the late ones, the ones who keep their heads down, the ones who smile like other worldly beings, wise and gentle...

There is also a pretty awesome graffic on the the wall across from me. Can't post a pic here but I will take one anyway.

I find each hour shift is intense. The drivers are in such a rush it is exhausting to keep an eye out all the time but I am getting better at it. It's funny how some A.Hats will give me a WTF because I am walking as bright as an orange with my sign and vest to the curb as they are trying to WHAT? PUSH ME OUT OF THEIR WAY WITH THERE BIG STUPID HIGHLANDER TRUCK? because they Have to Make a Right TURN NOW...? in a school zone when kids could run out at any time in front of their impatience and then change a whole bunch of lives for the worse? So I shrug my shoulders and make each step count as I step to the curb and lower the sign and smile.

Humans. Humans in large fast moving vehicles, trying to get to their next big mistake EVEN FASTER. :)

Getting to know a neighbourhood is like getting to know a person.

I hope I do go back next week.

That's a lot of walking and listening.

My new job as a crossing guard, training and then on my own. Lots of walking. Yup. By the end of Friday my legs felt like overcooked spaghetti. I was a quarter mile from a mall so I walked there between shifts and then of course I walked around the mall to return to the cross walk to walk kids back and forth.

On the plus side I have a whistle which I blow. I get a real kick out of that. And they tell me that walking is good for you.

I downloaded an audio book from the library to my phone and listened to it while I walked, not while working ofcourse. It was called: Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet who is a savant. I enjoyed it, though I probably looked a bit crazy listening to it, smiling and laughing wandering around the mall.

I also downloaded A Tale for the Time Being to my tablet to listen to while sewing. I would highly recommend this book. It is beautiful and often heart wrenching and read by the author, Ruth Ozeki. I won't say much about it but it rang so true I could feel a resonance in my chest. It is a book that, while painful in parts and viciously funny, knit some of the open wounds I have in my heart and mind, at least for the time being...

Metaphors, sheesh

I am at a cross roads in the my life so what do I do? I get a job as a crossing guard. WHAT?!!!

Thursday I go to get on the payroll with the Metro Police, get my I.D. badge etc. I am confident and have the a.o.k. from the neurologist. No migraine in three months (a first in my lifetime). I really need the income too and the city needs crossing guards. It will mean covering a whole division but it is in my daughters area so if I need a pit stop I won't have to come all the way home. It's a better area than where I live. I live in the place where there is largely inadequate transit, and really long distances between libraries, coffee shops and places where one can hang out between shifts.

I am actually looking forward to it. I can bring my hand sewing with me in between morning, noon and afterschool shifts. I am doing a lot of applique stuff right now. I hope to sell it all on etsy soon as I have enough cash to chance getting an account there without knowing if it will pay for itself, never mind grant me an income...

stuff about my brainCollapse )
I started reading hard copy or frankly books for at least twenty minutes a night just before bed. I can't remember where I read this, probably off a blinking screen (it blinks so fast you can perceive it but it is blinking) that to sleep well you need at least a half hour reading from a stationary surface that does not emit it's own illumination.

I was also told that with a concussion I should avoid looking at computer screens, and smart phones, tablets etc. all together.

As cash poor as I was, once I even bought a Samsung e-reader; it broke after a year and would have cost the same to repair as to buy a new one, so much for cutting down on environmental waste. So I decided that even if I did end up with overdue fines I would start using the library again. Now I can even renew my subscriptions AND order books to pick up at my local library and get this: I HAVE DOWN-LOADED AUDIO BOOKS to my tablet and even a book, The Goldfinch, to my smart phone, really great for a long bus ride to cottage country, although I found the book lyrical but too painfully long.

I love the library. I love Toronto libraries. Yes I got kicked out of one with a friend for laughing too much in one of the tubes for private study with a friend this winter, but we both had events kick us really hard recently and it was one of those laughs that would please The Ghost of Christmas Past, you know, the kind: You could as easily be crying except that life is holding you to this side of the equation and so you laugh. It is an acknowledgement of the fickleness of life that can not be tamed by words or thoughtfulness, that sort of laughter.

So I would decree if I were the Supreme Decree-er that all persons should READ FROM A BOOK FOR TWENTY MINUTES A NIGHT BEFORE SLEEPING.

I will take the drug for another month.

It seems this dizziness is a side effect of the medication that I am trying for the migraine.

I have read that they will dissipate after "several" weeks. My next appointment with the neurologist is in August.

The tai chi continues to help.

People bug me. Persons do not.

I have to stay away from Facebook. I really do. There is no point in pretending that anything useful in the way of discussion can come about from it.

I sometimes look at it like watching a flock of seagulls tearing up garbage. But when I try to glean the next stupid disaster humanity is teetering at the edge of it is always the same: People are largely assholes, they love reacting and reacting TO EVERYTHING. The more the volume can go up the less likelihood of anything really useful coming from any of it, and now not only is it about NON-NEWS but its "news" about how many clicks the non news gets.

But here's the thing, when I meet someone and we talk there is a wonderful release of tension as we both discover that the other is not an opinionated asshole. And that can only happen away from the colourful blinking screen.


As the concussion clears

I have to soften my tone.  I have seen a lot of medical personel this week and they have all been lovely.
Most notably a strange plastic surgeon who made me laugh and gave me a story that I have shared and shared and made others laugh with.
I was scared waiting to see the Ear Nose and Throat guy because I had no idea if it would hurt or how much or if my nose would have to re-broken etc.  My daughter her husband and four month old were waiting and I didn't know how long anything would take.
I sat in the ex chair gripping the arm rests and doctor in very new blue scrubs walked by, looked at me and said, "Don't I know you?"
Now I can't post a picture of myself but I have a face that looks like a shoe, a black and blue shoe.  I am in here but I look like a pretty gruesome visual poem for domestic abuse or war or other violence.
I said, "I must just have one of those faces."
He returned, "No, I think we've met somewhere..."
Me: "Perhaps the Zoo, AT THE PANDA EXHIBIT?"  Hilarious right?
Later I thought of this one:  "THE FIRST RULE OF FIGHT CLUB..."

It must be hard working in a downtown ER where you help the same people over and over and yet you can't really help them at all.  You witness hopelessness over and over and you get jaded.  You work twelve hour shifts and days get strung together without "weekends" and its hard to muster any emotion other than exhaustion.

What has to change is the way we make E.R. staff work.  We have to allow them reasonable work environments and improve the scope of what they can do on an individual basis.  Then the brightest of the bright, our new doctors, can do all sorts of healing, maybe starting with themselves.


Three days ago.

 Three days ago I fell and broke my nose.  I spent a horrible nine hours in the ER of a downtown hospital (a place where they see many people who end up looking like I did who are judged because of how they got that way, nepharious activity that no doubt gains them no sympathy and perhaps wears down the staff with its repeditive and unsatisfactory treatment.)  I was tested for drugs and alcohol and sent a social worker to talk to.  I started showing people pictures of myself before the fall so they could see that I AM NOT THE BLOODY THING YOU SEE.
I wasn't drunk or drinking or taking drugs.  I didn't get beaten by my partner or dealer or pimp.
I fell on a busy street because, i think, I was dodging people with oversized bags who were in a hurry, one of whom clipped me the other I avoided and lost my balance on weak ankles and met the curb with my face. A lot of tests were done to see why I fell.  At one point I was told I could have a blood clot that could kill me.  A contrast dye CT was done.  The results sat for three hours just a few feet away from me (I had been there six hours already) and no one would tell me what they said because they had to be read by the doctor who could not be found.
I washed my own wounds with the help of a nursing assistant. I got no stitches.  The tip of my nose is on the pavement on a downtown street.
I flipped out finally.  Numerous pages on the loud speaker did not turn him up.  I dressed myself.  Got someone to take out the IV. One of the nurses said, "She found him! Go, follow her!"  I followed the nurse.  I stood while he chatted for 15 minutes with a pretty young woman who twisted her ankle.  Finally he told me I DO NOT HAVE A BLOOD CLOT. I was given all the paper work and allowed to leave.  I was given no instructions on how to care for myself in the following days.  The previous doctor had written me a referal to see a Ear, Nose and Throat doctor.  It was suggested I see my GP.

I dreamt of apple blossoms

 Beautiful blossoms, pink white and red edged on wet black branches, a dream.
I knew it was a dream because they had no odor, but I at least appreciated how bright they were, how clear, until I tried to take a photo of them. Sheesh.


APAD, what's left of it

Pearl and violet,
City teeth bite reflections
Dancing on the lake.

I seem to be coughing up haiku like hair balls. I do have a cough, seasonal allergies, raking up the moldy leafs. *cough* this was some work though, I had a really terrible thing written and then reminded myself not to editorialize, look for colour, so I looked at a painting I call "Copenhagen", for no reason but it has pearl and violet and what could be a shoreline, it's an abstract...

One more day! One more day! APAD IS ALMOST OVER.




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