Journal Entries

B4 - Where Were You Just Now? - 1 Jan 2012

smiley - space
It’s winter in Columbia, Missouri, right in the very heart of the USA. The folks here celebrate the out-going year / in-coming year with a big to-do called “First Night.” It entails a myriad of artists--whether musical, visual, dance, or otherwise--showcasing their specialties in the downtown area known as The District. The shops stay open later, some of them hosting the artists. Other wannabes and also-rans try to draw attention by performing on the sidewalks or in the open plazas. The culmination of the whole affair is the massive fireworks display at midnight.

Four couples from our church fellowship have come “into town” for the event and we’ve just finished dining at a fabulous Italian restaurant called The Rome, at 114 South 9th Street, halfway down the block south of Cherry Street. We step out into the gathering evening atmosphere, held at bay by the abundance of city lights from lampposts and from the corridors of shops. The temperature is still unseasonably warm, slowly tapering off from the near mid-60s high of the daytime. Knowing it wouldn’t be bitterly cold as in past years was our impetus to come out to enjoy the festivities. The other couples decide to grab a cup of coffee first, so my wife and I part company from them for the interim. Everyone else heads to Lakota Coffee, about a block north up the street; A--- and I proceed to our intended goal: the Columbia Art League Gallery at 207 South 9th Street, on the other side of the street past Locust Street. She wants to contact a harpist she met when she home-schooled our middle daughter, B---, and the lady is performing at the gallery.

We pass the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts, come to the glass-front art gallery, and step through the double doors. M--- is seated against a south wall, supporting her harp, head down, tuning a series of strings. My wife waits patiently until she’s done, then engages M--- in a short conversation. I catch snippets of it as I make an arc around the room. It’s a litany A--- shared with me before we came: she wants to learn to play one instrument in her life; our youngest daughter (Y---) isn’t using the expensive investment we made; even if it’s just “Twinkle, Twinkle” she wants to be able to play ~something~ for our fellowship next holiday. I see she’s finishing up and seems to have gotten some agreement for M--- to teach her to play, so I make my way back to her. We sit on a wide deep-brown wooden bench overlooking the venue and M--- begins to play.

To my surprise, it’s Celtic music. M--- plucks the strings in a jaunty rhythm and the tune swells from simple bouncing individual notes to flowing chords with a melancholy background. We applaud several times before I let my wife know I have to take a short break; I squeeze her shoulders and kiss her cheek before I go. More people are wandering into the gallery and several folks find space on the wide bench I just vacated. Some of the patrons are meandering between the gallery and the theater because there’s a pass-through connecting the two establishments. I make my way into an alcove and find the bathroom locked.

There’s plenty to look at while I wait. Local artists have their work on display on multiple partition walls, providing ample viewing and elbowroom. Many of the paintings are still-life studies, some are impressionistic, a few are character studies, some simply play with color and contrast. Most are clearly works of intricacy and detail designed to intrigue the viewer, while a handful are obviously haphazard concoctions churned out to make a buck. I notice a sign stating: “Ask about CAL's art-purchase payment plan and take home the artwork today!” It intrigues me one could market paintings and sculptures that way. I make my way along the waist-high L-shaped display case where local artisans have jewelry on display. A--- is so enthralled by the music, she doesn’t even notice me perusing the baubles on the shelves behind the display case. And there--right there--is something to bless her. She wants pink this year; she told me this quite plainly not even a whole 24 hours ago. The set of dangling, multiple stone, pink earrings on silver J-hooks are just the thing to bless her. And the price is reasonable for our budget. I make the decision to buy them, but don’t want to tip her off.

I walk back to her, whisper to her the bathroom was occupied, but that I’m going to try again. She smiles her gorgeous smile and adjures me to hurry back. I wink, and walk past the broad square column beside the bench. I notice it hides her from my view. Perfect! I do go to the bathroom, but before returning, I flag down the attendant behind the display case. In hushed tones, I let her know I’d like to purchase the pink earrings, the ones beside the large pink circle that looks like a buckle, and she goes to fetch it. Where I’m standing, the column completely hides my doings from A---’s view. The attendant verifies she’s brought me the correct item and we conclude the purchase. She places the earrings into a small red gift pouch, and I thank her. The gift goes into my right shirt pocket; I’ll give it to A--- in the morning, as the first gift of the New Year.

More and more people have come into the gallery, including the other couples who’d gone out for coffee. The bench is full, with six people lounging upon it while listening to the lilting tunes from the Celtic harp or glancing around the room at the various objets d’art. There’s only room enough for me to put one knee up beside my wife and balance against her. Finally, I let the music wash over me and I sway with the ebb and flow of the melody.

That’s when I notice it. Or rather, it’s when I notice them. People in the crowd are experiencing something similar to me--they’re being swept along by the song. I look around and two people in particular catch my eye. There’s a white-haired lady--thin, older--tapping her toes and gently swinging side-to-side; there’s a middle-aged gentleman in a green fedora whose vision is focused somewhere far away. Their response to the music draws me out of my reverie and I watch them for a while. I observe the white-hair lady for a bit longer and a question begins to surface in my mind. It niggles at me and at first defies articulation. I coax it and cajole it, but it’s sly and slips through my grasp like the ephemeral tune M--- is producing on her harp. Suddenly, she stops. There’s applause, and she lets us know she’s taking a pause in her set. The question is taken by surprise, laid bare without the cover of the melody, so I pounce upon it. Yes! That’s what I need to ask these folks.

The man in the fedora is navigating the crowd and it won’t take me but two or three steps to intercept him. The revelation scant moments ago emboldens me and I make a bee-line toward him. I place myself just on the edge of his intended path.

“Excuse me. May I ask you something?” His gaze comes up and he’s mildly startled to be accosted in this fashion. I see his expression change to quizzical interest and assent, though he hasn’t said a word yet. “Where were you just now?”

His questioning smile turns to disbelief, as if the answer was blatantly evident. “I was standing just over there, by the wall.” He points to the place he’d been, with the far-away look in his eyes.

“No, no. I mean, while you were listening to the music, where were you in here?” I tap my temples with two fingers. “What was going through your mind? What did you envision? Were you thinking of some other time or some other place in particular?”

He looks down, chuckles, then looks up. “Oh, I see what you mean now. Let me think about it for a second. Where was I?” I take the short pause to look him up-and-down. The lime-green fedora has a tan band with thin red piping atop and below. There’s a small feather canted low (not high) on the right side. His blazer is taupe, with a striped shirt beneath; his trousers are dark charcoal, and he’s wearing cream & brown spats. His angular face is framed beneath a salt-and-pepper mustache and beard, neatly trimmed. “Where was I? On a coastline.”

“A coastline?”

“Yes, bright waves, water. A coastline.”

“Anything more specific than that? Rolling breakers against rocks? Tall cliffs in the background?”

“Ah, well, no. Nothing more specific, I’m afraid. Why do you ask?”

“I was watching different people in the crowd respond to the music, and it seemed to me you were transported to some place far away from here--that you were imagining a place you’ve seen before.”

“A coastline.” He says it with emphasis and finality.

“Thanks for sharing that with me. If you’ll excuse me, I want to ask this other lady over here the same question.” He nods and smiles, shaking his head. I wade through the throng and step up beside the small frail woman with the white hair, biding my time. She’s just finishing a conversation with someone else, and turns at my presence.

“May I help you?” she asks.

“Would you answer a quick question for me? Where were you just now?”

“Listening to the music. Is that what you mean?” She tilts her head the slightest bit and the straight fringe of her bangs covers one of her dark bird-like eyes. Her black leather jacket’s straight lines cover a plain white shirt. Her black close-fitting pants end in gold-tone pointy shoes.

“Well, sort of. Where were you inside…in here?” I do the same tap-my-temple routine as before.

“Nowhere in particular. Why do you ask?” She tilts her head the other way, uncovering the other eye, but veiling the one she’d used to look up at me initially.

“I was observing the crowd, watching the people respond to the music, and it seemed to me you were remembering a different time and place. Perhaps long ago, dancing with someone special, swirling in a beautiful gown?” I raise my eyebrows, hopeful I’ve guessed her imaginings.

“No, that’s not it at all. I was only copying what I saw someone else doing, tapping his toes, so I did it, too.” She looks directly at me, both eyes peeking from under her straight white mane, and lets me know, “But if ~you~ want to imagine that’s what I’m thinking about, it’s okay with me.” She graces me with a kind yet condescending smile.

“Um...well, okay. Thank you for clearing that up. I appreciate you indulging me for a few moments, but I’ve got to get back to my wife.” I point across the room to where A--- is now standing beside the wide bench. “Thank you.” Her eyes completely disappear beneath her white bangs as she nods, then I make my way back to my darling.

“Where were you just now?” she looks up at me with her large hazel eyes and I smile.

“Funny you should ask…” I tell her what happened with the music and the nagging question. Then I recount what each of the people shared with me. She laughs about the whole thing and puts her hand on my arm. “How about you,” I prompt her. “Where were you just now, while the music played?”

“Mmm… I was floating,” she says.

“Floating? In water?”

“No, in the air. The music made me think of floating up in the sky, among the clouds, in a sunny blue sky. Silly, huh?” She dips her head, but I lift her chin gently to gaze into her eyes.

“No, honey, that’s beautiful. ‘Floating in the sky.’ I like that.” I look over my shoulder toward the harp and the musician. “The way M--- was playing the tunes, it conjured up a lot of different images for different people. I guess it affects each of us individually.” I turn back to her, place her hand in the crook of my arm, and lead her toward the door. “Let’s go home. How about I turn on the CD player in the car and we can ‘float’ home?” She giggles and nudges me as we step out into the city’s version of nighttime.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay, now it’s your turn.

What genre of music truly stirs your soul?
Are there any particular songs that always bring certain things to mind?
Have you ever let a tune transport you to a place in your imagination you’ve never been before?

Discuss this Journal entry [1]

Latest reply: Jan 18, 2012

B4 - Where Were You Just Now? - 1 Jan 2012

smiley - space
It’s winter in Columbia, Missouri, right in the very heart of the USA. The folks here celebrate the out-going year / in-coming year with a big to-do called “First Night.” It entails a myriad of artists--whether musical, visual, dance, or otherwise--showcasing their specialties in the downtown area known as The District. The shops stay open later, some of them hosting the artists. Other wannabes and also-rans try to draw attention by performing on the sidewalks or in the open plazas. The culmination of the whole affair is the massive fireworks display at midnight.

Four couples from our church fellowship have come “into town” for the event and we’ve just finished dining at a fabulous Italian restaurant called The Rome, at 114 South 9th Street, halfway down the block south of Cherry Street. We step out into the gathering evening atmosphere, held at bay by the abundance of city lights from lampposts and from the corridors of shops. The temperature is still unseasonably warm, slowly tapering off from the near mid-60s high of the daytime. Knowing it wouldn’t be bitterly cold as in past years was our impetus to come out to enjoy the festivities. The other couples decide to grab a cup of coffee first, so my wife and I part company from them for the interim. Everyone else heads to Lakota Coffee, about a block north up the street; A--- and I proceed to our intended goal: the Columbia Art League Gallery at 207 South 9th Street, on the other side of the street past Locust Street. She wants to contact a harpist she met when she home-schooled our middle daughter, B---, and the lady is performing at the gallery.

We pass the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts, come to the glass-front art gallery, and step through the double doors. M--- is seated against a south wall, supporting her harp, head down, tuning a series of strings. My wife waits patiently until she’s done, then engages M--- in a short conversation. I catch snippets of it as I make an arc around the room. It’s a litany A--- shared with me before we came: she wants to learn to play one instrument in her life; our youngest daughter (Y---) isn’t using the expensive investment we made; even if it’s just “Twinkle, Twinkle” she wants to be able to play ~something~ for our fellowship next holiday. I see she’s finishing up and seems to have gotten some agreement for M--- to teach her to play, so I make my way back to her. We sit on a wide deep-brown wooden bench overlooking the venue and M--- begins to play.

To my surprise, it’s Celtic music. M--- plucks the strings in a jaunty rhythm and the tune swells from simple bouncing individual notes to flowing chords with a melancholy background. We applaud several times before I let my wife know I have to take a short break; I squeeze her shoulders and kiss her cheek before I go. More people are wandering into the gallery and several folks find space on the wide bench I just vacated. Some of the patrons are meandering between the gallery and the theater because there’s a pass-through connecting the two establishments. I make my way into an alcove and find the bathroom locked.

There’s plenty to look at while I wait. Local artists have their work on display on multiple partition walls, providing ample viewing and elbowroom. Many of the paintings are still-life studies, some are impressionistic, a few are character studies, some simply play with color and contrast. Most are clearly works of intricacy and detail designed to intrigue the viewer, while a handful are obviously haphazard concoctions churned out to make a buck. I notice a sign stating: “Ask about CAL's art-purchase payment plan and take home the artwork today!” It intrigues me one could market paintings and sculptures that way. I make my way along the waist-high L-shaped display case where local artisans have jewelry on display. A--- is so enthralled by the music, she doesn’t even notice me perusing the baubles on the shelves behind the display case. And there--right there--is something to bless her. She wants pink this year; she told me this quite plainly not even a whole 24 hours ago. The set of dangling, multiple stone, pink earrings on silver J-hooks are just the thing to bless her. And the price is reasonable for our budget. I make the decision to buy them, but don’t want to tip her off.

I walk back to her, whisper to her the bathroom was occupied, but that I’m going to try again. She smiles her gorgeous smile and adjures me to hurry back. I wink, and walk past the broad square column beside the bench. I notice it hides her from my view. Perfect! I do go to the bathroom, but before returning, I flag down the attendant behind the display case. In hushed tones, I let her know I’d like to purchase the pink earrings, the ones beside the large pink circle that looks like a buckle, and she goes to fetch it. Where I’m standing, the column completely hides my doings from A---’s view. The attendant verifies she’s brought me the correct item and we conclude the purchase. She places the earrings into a small red gift pouch, and I thank her. The gift goes into my right shirt pocket; I’ll give it to A--- in the morning, as the first gift of the New Year.

More and more people have come into the gallery, including the other couples who’d gone out for coffee. The bench is full, with six people lounging upon it while listening to the lilting tunes from the Celtic harp or glancing around the room at the various objets d’art. There’s only room enough for me to put one knee up beside my wife and balance against her. Finally, I let the music wash over me and I sway with the ebb and flow of the melody.

That’s when I notice it. Or rather, it’s when I notice them. People in the crowd are experiencing something similar to me--they’re being swept along by the song. I look around and two people in particular catch my eye. There’s a white-haired lady--thin, older--tapping her toes and gently swinging side-to-side; there’s a middle-aged gentleman in a green fedora whose vision is focused somewhere far away. Their response to the music draws me out of my reverie and I watch them for a while. I observe the white-hair lady for a bit longer and a question begins to surface in my mind. It niggles at me and at first defies articulation. I coax it and cajole it, but it’s sly and slips through my grasp like the ephemeral tune M--- is producing on her harp. Suddenly, she stops. There’s applause, and she lets us know she’s taking a pause in her set. The question is taken by surprise, laid bare without the cover of the melody, so I pounce upon it. Yes! That’s what I need to ask these folks.

The man in the fedora is navigating the crowd and it won’t take me but two or three steps to intercept him. The revelation scant moments ago emboldens me and I make a bee-line toward him. I place myself just on the edge of his intended path.

“Excuse me. May I ask you something?” His gaze comes up and he’s mildly startled to be accosted in this fashion. I see his expression change to quizzical interest and assent, though he hasn’t said a word yet. “Where were you just now?”

His questioning smile turns to disbelief, as if the answer was blatantly evident. “I was standing just over there, by the wall.” He points to the place he’d been, with the far-away look in his eyes.

“No, no. I mean, while you were listening to the music, where were you in here?” I tap my temples with two fingers. “What was going through your mind? What did you envision? Were you thinking of some other time or some other place in particular?”

He looks down, chuckles, then looks up. “Oh, I see what you mean now. Let me think about it for a second. Where was I?” I take the short pause to look him up-and-down. The lime-green fedora has a tan band with thin red piping atop and below. There’s a small feather canted low (not high) on the right side. His blazer is taupe, with a striped shirt beneath; his trousers are dark charcoal, and he’s wearing cream & brown spats. His angular face is framed beneath a salt-and-pepper mustache and beard, neatly trimmed. “Where was I? On a coastline.”

“A coastline?”

“Yes, bright waves, water. A coastline.”

“Anything more specific than that? Rolling breakers against rocks? Tall cliffs in the background?”

“Ah, well, no. Nothing more specific, I’m afraid. Why do you ask?”

“I was watching different people in the crowd respond to the music, and it seemed to me you were transported to some place far away from here--that you were imagining a place you’ve seen before.”

“A coastline.” He says it with emphasis and finality.

“Thanks for sharing that with me. If you’ll excuse me, I want to ask this other lady over here the same question.” He nods and smiles, shaking his head. I wade through the throng and step up beside the small frail woman with the white hair, biding my time. She’s just finishing a conversation with someone else, and turns at my presence.

“May I help you?” she asks.

“Would you answer a quick question for me? Where were you just now?”

“Listening to the music. Is that what you mean?” She tilts her head the slightest bit and the straight fringe of her bangs covers one of her dark bird-like eyes. Her black leather jacket’s straight lines cover a plain white shirt. Her black close-fitting pants end in gold-tone pointy shoes.

“Well, sort of. Where were you inside…in here?” I do the same tap-my-temple routine as before.

“Nowhere in particular. Why do you ask?” She tilts her head the other way, uncovering the other eye, but veiling the one she’d used to look up at me initially.

“I was observing the crowd, watching the people respond to the music, and it seemed to me you were remembering a different time and place. Perhaps long ago, dancing with someone special, swirling in a beautiful gown?” I raise my eyebrows, hopeful I’ve guessed her imaginings.

“No, that’s not it at all. I was only copying what I saw someone else doing, tapping his toes, so I did it, too.” She looks directly at me, both eyes peeking from under her straight white mane, and lets me know, “But if ~you~ want to imagine that’s what I’m thinking about, it’s okay with me.” She graces me with a kind yet condescending smile.

“Um...well, okay. Thank you for clearing that up. I appreciate you indulging me for a few moments, but I’ve got to get back to my wife.” I point across the room to where A--- is now standing beside the wide bench. “Thank you.” Her eyes completely disappear beneath her white bangs as she nods, then I make my way back to my darling.

“Where were you just now?” she looks up at me with her large hazel eyes and I smile.

“Funny you should ask…” I tell her what happened with the music and the nagging question. Then I recount what each of the people shared with me. She laughs about the whole thing and puts her hand on my arm. “How about you,” I prompt her. “Where were you just now, while the music played?”

“Mmm… I was floating,” she says.

“Floating? In water?”

“No, in the air. The music made me think of floating up in the sky, among the clouds, in a sunny blue sky. Silly, huh?” She dips her head, but I lift her chin gently to gaze into her eyes.

“No, honey, that’s beautiful. ‘Floating in the sky.’ I like that.” I look over my shoulder toward the harp and the musician. “The way M--- was playing the tunes, it conjured up a lot of different images for different people. I guess it affects each of us individually.” I turn back to her, place her hand in the crook of my arm, and lead her toward the door. “Let’s go home. How about I turn on the CD player in the car and we can ‘float’ home?” She giggles and nudges me as we step out into the city’s version of nighttime.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay, now it’s your turn.

What genre of music truly stirs your soul?
Are there any particular songs that always bring certain things to mind?
Have you ever let a tune transport you to a place in your imagination you’ve never been before?

Discuss this Journal entry [12]

Latest reply: Jan 4, 2012

B4 - Jilted Lovers - 10 Nov 2011

smiley - space
“You found her over the internet?”

“Well, yes.”

“You bastard! How could you?”

“It's just--”

“Don't even try to answer that! I know how you could...”

“If it's any consolation, this isn't something I planned; it just happened.”

“No, it's no consolation. What were you thinking?”

“I dunno. This guy told me about her--”

“Oh, great! You had someone else acting as matchmaker? That's just great!”

“Well she sounded nice and he showed me a picture--”

“You fell in love with her because of a photo? God...”

“Well, she did look nice--”

“Stop it! Just stop it! I can't take this. But I ~have~ to know. What drew you to her?”

“She had more to offer--”

“I haven't given you ~enough~? We've had some great times together, seen some wonderful things. I gave you two years of my ~life~ and this is how you repay me?”

“Look, our time together has been wonderful. We've gone places I never would have thought to go by myself, but maybe it's time for me to move on.”

“She's younger, isn't she?”

“Actually, she's a couple of years older than you and--”

“So you opted out for experience?”

“In a way, yes. She's traveled a lot, and she's European...”

“So I'm not good enough for you because I'm...Asian? All of a sudden you don't like Japanese--”

“Oh, how do I explain the attraction? I felt more of a kinship, because I come from Germany. She's from Bavaria and she runs with a different crowd...”

“Wonderful! She comes with friends attached!”

“Look, I haven't met many of them, except in passing. It had been a long-distance relationship until the first time we met, and that was while she was laid up. No one she knew was there, only the attendants.”

“See, not even her friends want anything to do with her. Leave her be!”

“I can't do that. I don't want to do that. I've invested a bit to bring her to this area and I'm not willing to just leave her where she's staying.”

“Knight in shining armor, are you?”

“Yeah, maybe you're right. I suppose I did the same when you and I met. You'd been turned out of a relationship--”

“That was different! I'd been with him since '97...'98?...I don’t remember. And we were good together! It tore me up when he let me go after more than ten years.”

“I'm sorry. I didn't want to make you feel like a 'starter bi--'”

“Shut up! I don't want to hear it! You could have at least given me the courtesy of letting me go gently...before you went out and found another--”

“That's just it. I wasn't planning to let you go at all. I just got caught up in events and the next thing I knew, she was mine.”

“Well, I hope you're happy with her! At least I won't be around to deal with her.”

“About that. I was wondering if you'd mind sharing some space together.”

“You are ~unreal~!”

“Hear me out. There's enough elbowroom in the garage for both of you. My wife and I have moved the storage cabinets out to the shed in the back yard, and I'm still in the process of rearranging the tool boxes and hanging wall bins so there's ample parking space for the two of you.”

“Do you realize how crowded that'll be? Who gets the forward berth with easy access to roll out, me or her?”

“You'd be willing to consider it, then, Black Betty?”

“Do I have any choice?”

“Well...not really. I want to keep you both. But you need to know...I may eventually have to part with one of you.”

“If you think about this reasonably, I'm sure you'll want to keep me. I'm a Honda Nighthawk CB750 with only 57,000 miles and I've performed admirably for you. You've invested in a new seat after the hailstorm last year, and you know it suits you better because it was custom-made. You've only ever had to buy me new tires, a new battery, and keep me lubed. I've given you good gas mileage--in the 40's until you let my carbs foul out. All I'm asking is that you keep looking after me and I'll keep giving you good rides. Besides, who is she that she could do better?”

“I call her '7 of 9'. That's because she came with some extra baggage. The advertisement stated she had an MTC Voyager attached, so it reminded me of Star Trek, and she had the same silver/blue paint as that one gal's uniform who was assimilated by the Borg. I've since found out she's been cobbled together a bit, kind of like a Franken-bike, so it's even more apropos.”

“Sounds like a charity case to me. How could she have anything going for her?”

“She's a BMW K1100LT, which means she's designed for long-distance cruising, because she has a 5-gallon tank. That's big enou--”

“Typical male! Didn't get past looking at her tank. I'll have you know I have a 5.55-gallon tank…or did you just never notice? With my slimmer profile and lower weight, I bet I can take you farther than she can. Damn it, don't you see she'll leave you hanging?”

“Okay, I’m sorry for seeming to overlook your better qualities.”

“Somehow, that still doesn’t sound like an apology. It still feels like you’re two-timing me.”

“Truth be told, it’s more like I’m triple-dippin’, because my wife is involved in all this, too. My wife was the main reason I wanted to get a slightly bigger road cruising bike. 7 of 9 is designed with a wider passenger’s seat whereas you, Betty, have never really made my wife feel comfortable.”

“You could have bought a Corbin seat as a replacement, but nooo…”

“Are we quibbling over could-have-beens now?”

“If you wanted her to feel at ease while riding with us, ~you~ should have spent the extra cash for a good aftermarket saddle. You could have even purchased a ~real~ MTC Voyager kit so she wouldn’t feel skittish about leaning into curves. You know one of those would make me steer more like a car?”

“Yeah, I know. And you’re right, the extra wheels would go on or off in a matter of minutes. I could put them on for weekend rides with my lady, and I could take them off to ride back-and-forth to work during the week.”

“Now you’re being sensible. See, you didn’t even need a second bike, did you?”

“Stop smiling! The deal is already done and 7 of 9 is coming home next weekend.”

“Damn!”

“If--mind you, only IF--she doesn’t work out in the long run, she’ll go and you’ll stay. Hey, I saw that smirk!”
smiley - biker
B4thisbecomesaknockdowndragoutfightbetweenall4ofus

Discuss this Journal entry [7]

Latest reply: Dec 12, 2011

B4 - Moulage Ruin - 7 Dec 2011

smiley - grr
“Where the hell ~are~ they?” My voice is guttural and muffled through clenched teeth. “They should be here by now.”

From my sprawled position on the floor I can barely raise my head to see where my right leg is wedged under the large Conex box. A small smudge of red is just visible under the lower edge of the metal container, in stark contrast to the pale blue of my scrub pants. The white lab coat I'm wearing is rumpled around me, but there are no traces of blood on it. I can tell my hardhat is canted at an odd angle as I lie on the cold cement floor of the Fuel Building. The evacuation alarm had wailed and echoed in the confines of the open truck bay, and it seems an eternity since it has died away.

I have to reassure myself by reminding myself, 'If the Security guys in CAS have done an electronic head count, they should be sending a search and rescue team out, because I'm still logged in through this room's door.' I try to rise up on an elbow, unsuccessfully, lay back down and shout, “C'mon! Somebody should ~be~ here by now!” Seconds later, the door klaxon goes off in the neighboring pump room.

“Hey! Hey, in HERE! Somebody HELP! In HERE!”

I crane my neck to look past the right side of the big yellow box. Two people come barreling through the doorway and head my way. They both round the box and do a quick scan. I recognize them.

“Jeez! What happened?” Tim steps in closer and notices I'm trapped under the box, then steps back when he notices something else.

“I was moving a couple of Conex boxes...stacked on top of one another...and one toppled off and knocked me down. I can't get up or pull my leg out. What's wrong?” I ask because I see a strange look in his eyes and making signs to Karl to fetch something.

“There's a bunch of potentially contaminated liquid that's seeping from the container and it looks like it's gotten all over you. Karl, get some rags and bags; I'll take some readings.”

“What the heck? Tim, c'mon, get me outta here!”

“Okay, wait a moment. Settle down. I'm not a paramedic. The MERT team will be here in a couple of minutes; they'll know what to do better than me.” He passes his Geiger counter over my torso, careful not to touch me. He then pulls out a couple of disk-sized swabs and samples the fluid on the floor. “I'll be right back, TJ. Just hold on few minutes, okay?” He walks to the isolation booth set up in the corner of the room, shielded from background radiation, and uses the other tester inside to determine the extent of the problem.

I yell out, “What! You're just going to leave me here! What the hell, Tim!” I raise my left leg and kick the Conex box with the flat of my foot. “Ow! Damn-damn-damn! Remind me not to do that again. Tim! Karl?”

Tim returns and kneels beside me. “Look, TJ, if I move you now, I could do more harm than good. If your leg is crushed, you could wind up bleeding to death. Don't want that, right?” I shake my head. “Then be patient. I've gotta call the TSC and confirm that we found you.” He stands and takes a few steps, pulling out a radio comm unit. In hushed tones, he relays the info and then pulls Kurt aside to talk with him.

I let him know I'm in pain by groaning and writhing on the floor. “The MERT team...better...hurry...up! I don't know...how long...I can stand this...!” My hands scrabble on the concrete floor, gaining no purchase, and I notice one of the yellow rubber gloves I'm wearing—the one on my right hand—has an odd greasy grey blotch on its palm. I examine it and realize it must be from something that stained it during a previous work activity. Surely it's been laundered since then and I've only gotten a hand-me-down. The door klaxon breaks my reverie.

Two Operations Techs stride in; they're carrying a stretcher. I haven't met these guys before; they're still new faces at the plant and obviously still in training. They lean the carrier against the wall and one of them squats next to me, checking out my leg pinned beneath the box. I check out their hardhats. Kurt and Tim. Great! This could lend itself to some confusion.

“So, you guys are my ride?”

“Yeah, we're here to get you out. Good lord!” Kurt looks over his shoulder to Tim. “How are we gonna pry him out of this?”

“I don't know if I'm pinned...maybe just wedged...can't move my leg to get out 'cause it hurts too much. Is the MERT team comin' or not?” I squirm and let him know this is an untenable position for me. “Did you guys talk to each other to let 'em know where I'm at?”

“I'm sure they're on their way. We heard the call go out probably the same time they did.”

“Then where...the hell...are they! Don't they know how to read a grid map of the floor plans? If they can't find their way here, why don't y'all go out and escort them back! I need some MEDICAL ATTENTION!” The outburst drains me and I lie back, spent. There's a flush building within me, but it's being overridden by a case of hyperventilation. The dizziness passes and I realize Tim, the tall Operations Tech is talking to me; he has been for a few seconds.

“...sure it won't be long now. TJ, is it? Look, you need to calm down. This isn't doing you any good. We've got to wait just a couple more minutes and they'll be here...with the medical kits to help out. Just lie back and relax, okay?”

“Hard concrete. Stuck under a large metal container. Not very comfortable.” I let my head drop and the sound of the hardhat smacking the floor slaps off the walls. Several moments later, Tim, the RadChem Tech is standing over me, offering to slip a pile of Masselin cloths under my head. I oblige by lifting and grunting; he slides them under the nape of my neck. I lean back against the thin cushion of yellow folded cloths and it's nominally less uncomfortable. “Thanks,” I mutter.

Moments tick away. I continue to voice my pain. Time elongates and drags on. I can feel my right leg going numb beneath the fallen box. I start to vent my frustration. “Where the f---?” And two Security Guards step into my field of vision. I hadn't even heard the klaxon go off, I was thrashing so much. “Finally! About time y'all showed up. I could have called Callaway Community and ~they~ could have been here before now.” I see the offended look in their eyes and finish with a feeble attempt to salvage my bad manners. “Except, of course,” I roll slightly to one side and point across the room to the far wall, “that the Gaitronics and the phone are way over there.”

Rick is carrying the EMT kit bag and comes to a halt; Sherry stands with her hands on her hips and says, “Your airway is definitely NOT blocked.” Rick starts unpacking the essentials behind me, past my head. Sherry leans down to inspect the damage, then reaches out for a set of latex gloves Rick proffers. “Tell me where you hurt. Anything other than the obvious—your leg?”

“What? Oh, anything else? Um...” I take a moment to assess what I can tell her. “No. Nothing else. Just my leg. I think I got knocked down pretty hard by the box, but my hardhat spared me from crackin' my head. So...yeah, just my leg.”

“I'm going to need to examine it...”

“We're going to have to pull him out from under the box,” chimes in Kurt, the Ops Tech. “He seems to think he's not pinned, but just wedged. Do you think we can move him?”

“You'll have to. Just be careful.” Sherry moves aside to let them get to my shoulders and legs.

Tim catches under my arms and holds me up a bit. Kurt pushes my good leg back, then starts to gently slide my right leg from the gap below the box. I scream, then whimper. “Aaaah! Ow! Shit, that hurts!”

“Try to relax.”

“Swap places with me,” I gasp, “then let me know how easy this is!”

“I've almost got you...there! You're out.” He sits back on his haunches then gets out of the way. Sherry moves back into place and cuts the leg of my scrub pants with a pair of scissors, all the way up to my knee. I raise my chin and see my shin, bloody, bruised, a large welt longer than my thumb rising askew from the flesh of my leg. There are bone spurs and fragments protruding and the blood is still oozing from the gash.

“I shouldn't be looking at that, should I?”

“No. We don't want you to get sick. Lie back and stay down, please. Let us work. Are you ready, Rick?”

“Ready.” He's got his gloves on, too, and I can barely make out a fancy contraption in his hands. “You want me to get his boot off while you immobilize his leg?”

Sherry nods and takes the thing of molded plastic and straps. She sets it down at her knees and pulls a length of very thick brown tape to full arms' length. She bends down, partially obscuring what she's doing, and I feel her beginning to wrap the stuff around my leg.

“Aaaaah! Rrrrrgh! Jeez that hurts! Can you ~stop~ that?” I start to pull my leg back, but Sherry maintains a firm grip to prevent it.

“We've got to immobilize your leg, TJ. Hold as still as you can...and breathe. Just breathe.”

“Okay, I can do this, I can do this, I can—Oh! Ow! Hrrrrrgh!” I wrap both my arms around my chest in a hugging motion and squeeze myself, not daring to kick out or thrash while she does what's necessary. Rick simultaneously unzips my boot and begins to work it off my foot. “Damnit-damnit-damnit! Do you ~hafta~ do that at the same time?”

“It's over, dude. Now let's get the rest of the splint on.”

“I'm going to lift your leg to put the splint in place. Ready?” Sherry looks back at me.

“Yeah, go ahead. You'll be gentle, right?”

“You tell me...” She lifts my injured leg and I have to let out a groan. “Guess not. Bear with me. I've got to hold this in place while Rick secures the straps. You close your eyes and ~breathe~, okay?”

“Sure. Breathe. Hfff! Ow! Okay. Done yet?” I wait for the answer in the dark behind my eyelids. There's more rustling and movement, and I let them know it's still painful. “Grrrr... Any time... Done yet?”

“She said, 'Breathe.' Do it. We're almost finished.” Rick is firm about it, but his voice lets me know he means well.

“We're going to need to put him on the back board, strap him down, and provide some more support for his legs.” Sherry's still thinking ahead to the next steps.

I open my eyes in time to see Rick motioning to the Ops Techs. They fetch the stretcher and lay it down to my left. Rick points to the four corners and each of them moves into the remaining spots. Rick is tall and has reach, so does Tim from Ops; they'll pull me onto the stretcher. Sherry and Kurt will lift and set me. With a quick count they work together and I'm atop the flat surface. It isn't long before they have the straps around my torso so I don't slip off.

Sherry says, “I don't know if he has a neck injury, but I think we should take the precaution, don't you?” Rick avers and they wrap a neck brace around me. Rick also finds a long cushion and places it between my legs, wedging it under the torso harness.

“Let's get him into position for the ambulance to pick him up,” says Rick, and suggests, “We can move him closer to the roll-up door and stage all the stuff that's got to go with him.”

“Before you move him,” Tim, the RadChem Tech says, “I've got to do another survey of him and the area. We don't want any contamination to travel in the ambulance if we can prevent it.”

“Contamination?” I shoot him a glance. “Tim, you gotta be kidding me! Is that crap on me! Is it getting in my wound?”

“Now, take it easy, TJ. We can't do much about it right this second. We can have the folks at the hospital do a thorough decon when you get there. They're only one of two places we'll send you, and the staff at both have been trained to deal with this sort of thing. They'll take good care of you.”

“But, Tim, the contamination!” I'm almost pleading.

“Stop and think about your RadWorker training. This stuff has a low incidence of getting into wounds, plus your body's circulatory system is acting as a natural 'positive pressure' system, pushing it out. Cool your jets, bud.”

“Yeah. Okay. No mutations or extra appendages. Right.”

“You take the ambulance ride and get fixed up; we'll stay here and clean up the mess you made.”

Sherry looks from Tim to me, then at the rest of the crew. “All right, guys, Heave-ho!” She points toward a spot several feet in from the exterior door, they all lift, walk together, and set me down gently.

“Hey, no bumps,” I mumble.

“Okay, I'm calling it,” says the Exercise Director. “This drill is done. Let's gather up our things and meet in the RadChem briefing room upstairs, instead of the TSC like we original planned. We can get this all done here.”

Everyone breathes a sigh of relief and the MERT team members begin to undo the fetters holding me to the stretcher. The site Nurse grins at me as I sit up. “You did that really well. Very believable. How do you feel?”

I stop in mid-motion, trying to get my feet under me. “All that thrashing around and hollering made me a bit light-headed. I think I was coming close to hyperventilating. I'll take it slow and I should be fine in a minute. You think it was okay? I tried to stay 'in character' the whole time. I hope I made it real enough for these folks.”

“Yeah, real enough, TJ. I was about to get upset with you and punch your lights out to keep you quiet.” Rick smirks and I recognize I've done my job.
smiley - cool



http://www.troop502.info/moulage_tips.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moulage
http://www.emsworld.com/article/10319722/low-budget-moulage-techniques

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Latest reply: Dec 8, 2011

B4 - NaJoPoMo 30 Nov 2011 - Completing a Project

smiley - smooch
smiley - spacesmiley - spacesmiley - spaceGood night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow,
smiley - spacesmiley - spacesmiley - spaceThat I shall say good night till it be morrow. -- "Romeo and Juliet," Shakespeare
smiley - erm
How much longer can I put this off? No longer, it seems. It's time to finish this.
smiley - towel
It was with a bit of trepidation I signed up for the NaJoPoMo challenge here on HooToo. I didn't expect to stay the course because I've had so many other projects hanging in limbo over the years it's almost comical…or sad…or plainly a sign of procrastination. All that unfinished business is one of the reasons I said "Yes" to the challenge: to prove to myself I can actually ~do~ a scheduled series of writings.
smiley - eureka
Honestly, I don't think I could've pushed through the whole month without a little bit of pre-planning before the challenge kicked off. Sitting down to consider the types of things I'd feel comfortable writing about took some of the edge off the project; it gave me a defined path with milestones and enough prompts to put me at ease with each session of writing. I confess there were a couple of times I flew by the seat of my pants, but--for the most part--I stuck to the schedule of topics, though I shuffled a few because I drew a blank and had to work them at a later date. Just having the basic framework in place kept me from panicking, though, because I ~could~ trade out topics as necessary. So, the 2-column table of dates, paired with a title and a short set of blurbs to jog my creative juices, paid off in aces!
smiley - ok
I now have a real sense of accomplishment for seeing it through to the end. It feels good. Yet, it also feels a bit awkward. "Why?" you might ask.
smiley - rolleyes
I think it hails back to my teenage years, when I used to build scale models. I built everything from the battleship Bismarck to a Romulan battle cruiser, from a Husqvarna trail motorcycle to a Frankenstein's monster diorama, from a USAF F-106 Delta Dart fighter/interceptor aircraft to an Opel GT fastback coupe automobile. If it entailed plastic parts, paint, and lots of lemon-scented glue, I was working on it. And--oh!--I enjoyed the process of building each one of the models. The attention to detail they required is what I thrived upon. I'd sit down with the illustrated parts breakdown and the parts tree, then ensure everything was available. Next, I'd check my supply of paints and level of thinner, then make a list of any new or replacement colors I'd need for the project. Condition of the brushes? Buy new ones if needed. How's the tube of glue holding out? Get a new one if there's an inkling of running short. Rubber bands, clothes pins, drop cloth? Check, check, check. All systems GO!
smiley - rocket
And--as I said--the process of assembling the model was sheer joy. The day of completion was a day of celebration and showing it off to my parents and to my friends. Then came the day after, when the model found a home on a shelf. I'd often pull one down and gaze at it, reveling in the special touches I'd imbued it with, or noting the tiny flaws in my workmanship and promising myself to "do it better next time." As the days passed, after finishing, I'd experience an odd sort of malaise and an unrequited longing. The feeling would linger until I found another project to dive into, immerse myself in; something to occupy my time and challenge my skills once again.
smiley - weird
I know that crazy feeling is going to happen again, as soon as I hit the "Submit" button for this posting. I've already experienced some of the same tendencies with these Journal Entries as when I'd finish a model. I've gone back and re-read each one, weighing the merits of the information presented, gauging the style in lieu of the subject, noting the syntax and grammar, catching the odd misspelling (bath, instead of bathe), and printing each one for inclusion in a portfolio to chronicle this effort. I've reveled in the completion of each one; I've felt the pangs of moving ever forward to the next one. And the malaise is still waiting for me, skulking in the shadows, expecting me to fall into the same trap as in years gone by, intending to wash over me and bring me to my knees once again. This time, though, I'm prepared.
smiley - handcuffs
I've promised myself out as a "galley slave" for my wife. A--- has actually done the NaNoWriMo competition this year; it's her first attempt and she has worked it marvelously! She concentrated her efforts upon it often, and multi-tasked at other times in order to add to her story. She surpassed the requisite 50k word count and will submit her document for validation a day ahead of schedule. She's motivated like that. But now she needs someone to peruse it and edit it for SPAG. I'm her man!
smiley - bigeyes
Not only the editing job, but the renewed interest I have in picking up the threads of the stories still unfinished. These tasks will stave off the melancholy of the "aftermath" of all this work. It has been fun, and I thank those who conceived the idea for getting us all involved. This exercise in writing has revealed a number of things to me about how I do this, the mannerisms I drag into the process, the flow and tenor of the words I use to get ideas across, and the format in which I present the tales. It's been an eye-opening experience, and for that I'm eternally grateful. Now…on to the next writing project!
smiley - biro
B4Iclose,realizingthatperhapstheendinghasnotyetbeenwritten†



† Myst -- http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0158814/quotes



http://h2g2.com/dna/h2g2/brunel/A426692

{Yes, I know this doesn't work in the Posting, but you ~could~ use it in your Personal Space introduction.}

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