Monday, July 6, 2009

More Bits and Pieces

Sometimes it’s nice to live with my adult little brother because we have the same sense of humor. Conversations always leave us amused and enlightened because we’re on the same page. It wasn’t always this way, but it is now, and I cherish it.

When I come home from work, we make dinner together. That’s just how it’s gotten to be. Sometimes the prep work is all me, sometimes it’s all him, sometimes we split the duties, but I always set out food for the two of us and count on him to participate.

As I was prepping food tonight, we had a discussion about the chicken.

Me: Want some chicken and cheesy potatoes?

Bro: What did you bread the chicken with?

Me: Crushed tortilla chips, flax, wheat flour, garlic, Parmesan, salt, pepper and Mrs. Dash.

We love Mrs. Dash. We put it on everything.

Bro: Sounds good. I’m hungry but I don’t want to cook.

He pretends like this isn’t a ritual and I didn’t already know we were having dinner together. We act like it’s random, but there’s a reason we’re both hungry at the same time. It’s become our thing.

Me: Look at these breasts! They came from the Anna Nicole of chickens!

Bro: Why? Are they on drugs?

Me: Are they dead?

Bro: Are they drunk?

Me: Did they have their own reality show…that sucked?

Bro: Did they have trouble putting complete sentences together?

Me: Did they marry a rich guy for his money?

And on it went. That’s quality family time in my house.

By the way, the chicken was awesome.

* * *

I know I’ve already mentioned this, but I’ve become obsessed with going green, probably five years after it was trendy, but I’m not concerned with trends. Like all obsessions and fetishes, mine originates from somewhere dark.

Since he died, I’ve had recurring nightmares about my father, where he’s still alive but hurt and dying, and I try to get him help, but can’t. Either he’s been stabbed and I’m running from house to house, screaming in the streets, begging someone to call 9-1-1, with every phone I find dead and useless, or I see a truck coming at him and can’t scream loud enough to warn him to get out of the street. These dreams plague me. I still carry an enormous amount of guilt about not being able to save him from his cancer or prevent him from getting it to begin with.

I’ve developed such a terrorizing fear of death that I frequently burst into tears when I see a dead animal on the road. Death is something I cannot handle on any level anymore. They all strike me as preventable and it maddens me that someone could be gone forever, needlessly.

It wasn’t until last Easter that I figured out why my horror over anything dead upsets me so. How’s this for irony? I was driving on Easter and I hit and killed a rabbit. I killed my own Easter Bunny. Of course, it totally flipped me out, I turned the car around and went back to see if the rabbit was savable. It wasn’t. It was gruesome. So, I was telling a coworker about it the next day, trying hard to hold back the tears, trembling, and she expressed sorrow that I went through that, but asked what bothered me so much about it.

I said, “What if he was a dad?! What if he had a family who needed him?! What about everyone who loved him?!” Then I realized what I’ve been doing. Every dead person or creature became my dad to me. It still goes on, and I still battle the sobs each and every time I see a dead animal or hear about a person dying, but at least I understand where it comes from now.

Back go going green. In doing green research for work, I have found that everything seems to boil down to the prevention of needless death and cancer. Dioxins and nitrates and BPAs, oh my! I don’t believe the FDA anymore about pretty much anything, and turn to the Canadians for true, objective research about what’s safe and what’s dangerous. And so much is dangerous. So much is killing ecosystems. So many toxins go right back into our bodies through our water supply or as the end of the food chain, where poisons accumulate. It all amounts to death and cancer, and I have turned my life upside down trying to eliminate all these needless, external carcinogens.

I started a Going Green display at the library, and one of my very clever coworkers suggested I add a Green Tip as a signature to my emails, instead of those stupid quotes that seem to be inside jokes or quotes that represent the opposite of what that coworker exhibits. So, for a few months, this is what I’ve been doing. Every week or two I change my Green Tip in both my email signature and on a dry erase board on our Going Green display, and something amazing has been happening.

Lately, my coworkers have repeated one of my own Green Tips back to me. They don’t remember where they heard it, they don’t have a clue that it came from me, but they are telling people, and they’re also telling me.

First Marina told me about having to remove the caps from plastic bottles you recycle or the entire bottle will be rejected because each piece is made of a different grade of plastic, so the sensors pick up the combination and reject the piece entirely. That was my first Green Tip. We talked about it extensively because one of my other coworkers even called the garbage company to verify, and they did indeed. It’s cute that some months later, that one stuck with her and she’s still telling people about it.

Today another of my coworkers quoted to me a Green Tip she hadn’t realized she read in a global email I’d just send about something unrelated, and the Tip mentioned the dangers of chlorine in our water supply, and the need to have a chlorine filter on your showerhead.

It’s spreading. I may not be able to bring my dad back and I might not even be able to stop anyone I care about from getting cancer, but it’s the beginning of something right here in my library, and every revolution starts with people caring and sharing the need to make changes.

And the nightmares are not coming as frequently. Maybe one day I’ll fight death enough that I’ll be able to finally accept it.

* * *

Should I include my Green Tip on my blog, maybe in the sidebar, for anyone interested? Do you guys care? Would you hate me if I did it anyway? I promise, they’re not all gloom and doom, like this week’s is about organic foods, how much more nutritional value they have, and that it can amount to the equivalent of, or more than, an additional serving of fruit and vegetables each day.

* * *

I was down in Tech Services today, begging them to move the Marco Polo book from 915 (my travel section) to anywhere else in the building or I’d weed the fucker because it’s only circulated twice in twenty years. Bless their detail-oriented, rule-ruled hearts, they are considering my plea, but it’s not looking good for Mr. Polo.

While down there, the clock struck lunchtime and two of us mentioned that we were due to go to lunch pronto.

One asked me where I was going and I said, “The gym.”

As if I didn’t like them all enough already, they poo-pooed the gym idea, booing and telling me that was no way to spend my lunch break.

They’re my kind of people, but I went anyway.

When I got to the gym, one of the employees was there teaching someone new how to use the equipment and she asked, “Are you here on your lunch break?”

I answered yes, but it made me curious why she would ask. Did she need me to stay later or something?

Me: Why, what’s up?

Her: Nothing, I just can’t believe you come in on your lunch break. I could never do that! That’s really amazing.

Huh? What? I don’t do amazing things when it comes to working out. I’m a lazy slob who wears stained shirts, doesn’t shower after, and returns to work. Ick. So NOT amazing.

Another woman who was there piped in.

Woman: Yeah, I could never come on my lunch break.

Me: But, no, you have to understand how lazy I am. I refuse to get up early to do this before work, like normal people. I won’t sacrifice my sleep for exercise.

Woman: I won’t give up my lunch break for anything!

Her daughter agreed.

Daughter: Ohhh, yeah, I totally vegetate on my lunch break. No talking, no thinking, barely human.

Me: C’mon, you guys. You’re making me feel good. Cut it out.

We all laughed and they shut up. Do they think I’m sacrificing my lunch, meaning my food, to work out? Or do they understand that I eat after working out? Because, truly, this is the lazy way to exercise. Trust me.

* * *

My brother got a check in the mail for $10 today.

Bro: Can you believe I just now got the rebate for my wireless antenna today?

Me: Oh yeah?

Bro: I bought it SIX MONTHS AGO! I sent that rebate in immediately, too, because I wanted the money back, and it was only supposed to take 4-6 weeks. I’d actually forgotten about it. SIX MONTHS LATER, I got my $10! That’s criminal!

Me: But think about it. People say 4-6 weeks, but we know that when they say a week, they mean a business week. So five days now equal seven in the real world. If you’re talking about multiple weeks, I’m sure it stretches out to being six months. Which is another reason why I fucking hate the whole concept of business weeks.

Bro: Yeah, why do they get to call 14 days only 10? ‘It will take only 10 days to clear…but we mean 10 BUSINESS DAYS, so fuck you, it’s going to take 4 more because we don’t work weekends!’

Me: Just because they’re not working doesn’t mean time isn’t elapsing. You can’t redefine time based on your hours of operation! Call during the business day? FUCK THE BUSINESS DAYS! Business happens 24 hours a day and doesn’t come to a halt because you send your employees home at 5 o’clock! So their business day is 8 hours, their business week is only 40 hours, and that means that 4-6 weeks in business time will arrive in about 6 months. It adds up, those assholes!

Bro: Wait! I am only awake 16 hours a day, so those other 8 hours don’t count toward anything. For anyone.

Me: Oh, does that mean you’re only 21 years old, because only 2/3 of your life counts?

Bro: That’s right! And some of those days I slept way more than 8 hours, so I’m even younger than that!

Me: Yeah, but in business time, translated to real time, you’re ancient.

Bro: That’s just wrong.

Me: Be happy you got your $10. The last rebate I sent away for, which was the last rebate I ever WILL send away for, sent me a letter 3 months later saying my rebate was void because I filled something out wrong, and the time had since expired for the rebate to be valid. I couldn’t even fix it. I just didn’t get my money, even though they had everything they needed to issue the check.

Bro: Business ethics.

Me: HAH! Only a fraction of actual ethics!


Cat. said...

About your Green Tip (which makes me giggle, btw), I've a confession to make: I mostly read you in Bloglines, so I wouldn't see a Tip in your sidebar unless I came over and commented on every post. ;-) Maybe you can append it to the end--or beginning--of each post, like a sig.

OK, anyway, the meat of my comment--no it's is not chicken breast!--is that identifying the basis for nightmares and other things that upset you (and me and others) "too much" goes a long way towards making them less nightmarish. So, good for you for getting there. It took me a VERY long time to come to terms with my sister's death 15 years ago. My dad died around the same time and I never had the struggle with his departure that I did with hers. I still get upset, of course, over certain things, but I (mostly) understand why.

And thanks for the comment the other day.

Also, "business ethics"=oxymoron, similiar to "jumbo shrimp" (pace George Carlin)

Megan said...

I love the idea of adding a green tip! Very cool.

I get sad, too, when I see a dead animal. I get irrationally worked up about it - what if it's a small rabbit trying to find his way home to his parents? I don't even want to think about it, you know?

Anonymous said...

Green tips sound cool. And very green! (yah, that is my favrotie color. Go figure). Go for it!