Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Dixie Goes Where I Go

It seems like it’s been a while since I last posted, although I believe it’s only been two weeks. I could be wrong, however. At any rate, I’ve had some ups and downs since my last posting, although things are looking up at the moment. Work has settled down, the weather has been fairly cooperative, except for the next few days which may prove to be hot and humid. I have casually followed the weather in Baltimore and saw today that it was going to be in the mid 90’s with just about the same humidity. I tell you, that kind of weather just tears me up. It’s not quite as hot or as humid up here, 400 miles to the north, but it is definitely warm.

I forgot to mention, in my last writing, of having gone to an opening at an art gallery. Talk about hot. It must have been close to 100 degrees in there. The gallery was in the Brookline section of Boston, along Commonwealth Ave. (or, as the locals say, Comm.Ave.). Anyway, the artist was a 20 something woman who made three dimensional art out of paper. But first she made her own paper. Then she made things out of it. One piece she did was a wedding gown out of paper. It was beautiful. Everything, the eye hooks, the buttons, the bodice, the layers of gown, all were made out of paper she made. Am I being redundant?

Another artist exhibiting there took photographs of people and attached skeletal parts onto the picture. She made her own paper, too, and made the bones as part of the paper and then overlaid the photo of the person, which she then developed onto the paper she made using a palatine process (old-timey photo processing). As though making the paper was hard enough, and developing photographs using a process that the early, early photographers used, she had to line up the bones to match the photo of the person she had taken a picture of. If what I’ve just said sounds complicated, it is. As she explained it, “it is very time consuming.” I don’t think I’d even be interested in trying a little bit of it, but if you are into making things, this may be the ultimate collage.

I wish I could remember their names, but I can’t. And, since at least one of them was a patient of Julie’s, I couldn’t divulge their identities even if I wanted. Which, of course, I’d want to do because that’s the way I am so maybe it’s better I didn’t know who they were. Nevertheless, outstanding art done by outstanding artists.

Last week, which has bled into this week, I managed to get myself in trouble at work. As you all know, this kind of stuff just seems to follow me around. Here’s what happened.

I had scheduled an afternoon Virtual Gateway training session at the Central Office for a service provider agency. One of the trainees showed up in the morning, instead. For some reason, he decided he wanted to look at blueprints of one of the state institutions and, since DMR is the repository of this kind of stuff, it has them. So, somehow he got down to look at the blueprints and apparently had been sitting on the floor doing so for a while before anyone questioned him – who let you in, how did you get here, how did you know where to look, yada, yada, yada. I wasn’t even in the building that morning, having conducted a training session for the WIC application in box workers at their location and then attending a VG meeting at a separate site before walking back to DMR at lunch time with an assistant commissioner. But, somehow, it turned out to be my fault. You know the reasoning - if I hadn’t scheduled the training the guy wouldn’t have shown up.

At the end of the training, which was at the end of the day, just after the trainees left, the guy in charge of the blue prints and the assistant to the commissioner came into the training room and wanted to know who the guy was, where did he go and how come he was here. They were huffing and puffing and talking about breaches of security and how all of what he had done had serious consequences. It wasn’t until after they told me the story that I even knew what had happened. I gave them the sign in sheet and said it was one of these two guys. I said there were four guys in the training session, two white, one black and one Vietnamese. If the guy was white then it was one of these two. They looked at me, they huffed and puffed some more, and then they left, telling me not to worry about it.

Then, the next day my supervisor called me in to her office and I repeated the story to her. She said that they said “I hadn’t taken the incident as seriously as I should have.” I said, how could I? I didn’t know what had happened, I wasn’t even there. She went on to tell me that now there were going to be a whole string of security measures put into place. A committee has been formed at the commissioner level to discuss whether DMR Central Office personnel have to wear visible badges. You know, like around your neck. Like an Albatross. Like a noose. Like a security badge. And, all because of me there’s all this high level discussion going on about breaches of security, and terrorism and, like Arlo Guthrie’s song about Alice’s Restaurant, people sittin’ on the group W bench and pictures bein’ taken of the crime scene and all this other nasty stuff goin’ on.

I tell you. We have George W. Bush and his administration to thank for the paranoia this country is now under. Under this administration, terrorism attacks worldwide have increased tenfold, people in America are more divided than ever before and we now don’t even trust each other. It’s a sad day for America and for all of us Americans.

I’ll wear a badge; I’ll give the receptionist my list of trainees at least 24 hours in advance; I’ll make sure that the only places they go while in the building other than the training lab is the bathroom. I am happy about having won one battle, though: I was able to get my department to buy paper cups for the drinking fountain in the training lab so now trainees – outsiders - can have a cup of water. And, the cups left over I covet and return to the supply cabinet so nobody else can get to them without authorization. Even if they are showing their badges.

Two Saturdays ago I went with Julie and her two sons to Six Flags in Agawam. The boys are 17 year old twins. We came together and we left together. In between, well…. I did go on the Mind Eraser roller coaster and sat in the front seat. Far out. Freaked out might be a better term. But, I loved it. Julie and I went on the Buzzsaw, which, after the Mind Eraser, was kind of lame to me, but it was a cool ride. It just didn’t go upside down and corkscrew at 70 mph along a slick, steel track.

We also went on a water ride, the Typhoon, which was also very cool. We were on a raft that was like a roller coaster on water. Unfortunately, the ride, like all the others we went on, didn’t last long enough.

The park was so packed that day that we had to wait an hour on line to get our turn on the water ride. Every person in the region who thought about going to Six Flags that day was there. There were so many people there it had to have been over fire code, even if it was outside. It also cost $41.99 per person over 34” tall to get in. But not for me – I got the senior citizen discount of $26.99. Hmmn. Wait a minute.

Kind of hard to take that I qualify for the senior citizen discount at an amusement park. On the other hand, I did save $15. As you know, I showed them my phony senior citizen ID just so I’d get the discount. It was amazing how much the picture of the guy on the driver’s license I had looked just like me.

This past Saturday Julie and I ventured up to Lowell to take in the Lowell Folk Music Festival. An annual event, the downtown area of the city turns into a 2 day music fest. It was very cool. Aside from excellent local and national talent, there was an incredible display of ethnic foods on sale – Phillipine, Greek, Polish, Jamaican, Chinese, among others. We ate our way through part of the day. Dixie even had a shish-kabob. One of the workers from the Greek stall came over and said a shish-kabob had hit the ground and could Dixie have it. Does a bear shit in the woods? I’m pretty sure Dixie tasted at least one piece of it as she inhaled it all. She liked it even more than licking out the last of the ice cream from the cup. We didn’t give her any of our beer; she had to settle for bottled water in her Outward Hound portable drinking bowl.

A show stealer, that dog. If one person came up to pet her, I know it was at least 50 who did. The elderly, little kids, men, women, and teenagers all came up to pet her. At one point Julie said to me – “You know, Dixie’s like a chick magnet.” I just smiled. I knew it was an innocent reflection on her part. Dixie’s my dog. Why do you think she goes everywhere I go?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

And now you are the guardian of the paper cups! That will look great on the next resume. (It was a fun week )- J

10:22 PM  

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