And I say a hearty farewell to August. I can't say I'm sorry to see you go. For one thing, it has been unbearably hot most of the month. Of course if we are honest with ourselves, there is no surprise in that for us here in So Cal. I hear it has been just as miserable in the midwest, the northeast, the south...well just about everywhere. I think the Europeans have the right idea: close down everything you can and go to the Mediterranean, or anywhere cool. Yet here, in the US, we send our kids back to school during the hottest time of the year. What the...
Anyway, for me it was a mixed bag of events. Several deaths turned my world upside down. Death, it is apparent, is our constant companion. It is a specter haunting us all along life's way. We can resist it, we can fight it, but sooner or later, it seems to win. But yet, I wonder, does it ever really win? No one ever dies who has been loved in this world. And I truly believe there is something we transition into that is much better than this proverbial "veil of tears."
Honestly, I do not believe life here is meant to be all sadness. It is really more of a learning experience. The month of August this year emphatically reminded me of that; what with good friends, beloved pets, and world events with so many senseless deaths. August had them all.
There is a lesson in all this. It is a lesson sometimes I forget, but in months like August usually I come back to the understanding that life is for living. Death is a teacher. We each much come to grips with the fact that earthly death is inevitable. No matter how much it hurts or cause us anguish.
But life goes on.
So its with that is mind, I say a hearty farewell to August this year. I hope when you return next year, you will behave yourself. I really want to like you, but you have to meet me half way.
Sometimes I get ideas that just won't lay still. Sometimes I get inspirations that disappear as soon as I look at them. Sometimes ideas take their inspirations and hide. I know they are in there somewhere, but they just won't come out and play. Geez, it can be hard sometimes. And I'm not sure whether its worse to have a plethora of multi-faceted bona-fide super dooper ideas competing for my attention or to have one vague yet intriguing gem of a brainchild that just won't get itself born. In all of it, there's always a blog in there somewhere.
Just look at the previous paragraph if you don't believe me. The word plethora is just such a rich word. I can imagine writing an entire essay about the plethoras of life. Or I could talk all day about how its so hard to just sit down and wrestle a great inspiration onto the page for your consideration. And brainchilds! Isn't that a delightful concept? Just waiting to be born...for sure. And it is just like giving birth sometimes. And no matter who we are, we all have some idea how painful that can be...and how rewarding it is once the birth has occurred.
Sometimes it takes a sorting of it all out. Its a matter of coming to and understanding and finding and reason solution. That is when you find that illusive blog that's always in there somewhere. It works for just about any creative endeavor. In fact anything that takes a bit of internal reflection. Its in there somewhere. It just takes a bit of looking, kinda like I just did here...
I often find myself sitting behind a car at a stoplight, trying to figure out just was the personalized plate means. This also happens on the freeway at fifty or sixty miles an hour or while stuck in a freeway slowdown (much safer). YAKTYYAK. OMG MOOV URBHND. Sometimes it takes a while to cypher them out. Sometimes they get away without resolve and of course I can't remember them by the time I get home.
This started me thinking about all the places we use ID Monikers these days. Passwords and email addresses. Cell phone locking. Security codes. Passwords are the best. They say never use PASSWORD. Duh. What about DROWSSAP? Probably not. 123456 is not good. I use three main ones with slight variations. All are mixes of letters and numbers.
But there are those sites that require a symbol. I usually use the same symbol, but sometimes I forget I use it. Then I end up changing my password yet again. Especially for a site I don't use that frequently like Social Security Admin, or Zillow. Even for sites I do use a lot, like Facebook or Google. That's a pain. I did create a list and printed it out put it in a top secret place. Its very handy, especially when I can remember the top secret place.
When I create a list of my passcodes and monikers, I usually put a password on the document on my computer and pray I remember it. That's when I use one of my favorites. But even then, if I forget, I guess that documents is rendered useless.
How about names? Many years ago when I was with Earthlink (remember Earthlink?) I had to chose a "handle". You know, the name that comes before the ".com"? For some reason it was more common not to use you real name. So there I was, staring at the keyboard, wondering what to use. The top row of letters on the keyboard begin with QWERTY. Hmmm. Not exactly right. So I came up with QWERKI, because, as staid and stodgy as I feel like I am, I thought might be nice to be thought of as, well, quirky. It stuck.
At the time QWERKI was uncommon. I even had a personalized license plate with QWERKI1 on it. That was fun, but expensive, so I surrendered it. Anyway, I left Earthlink and went with AOL for a while, then Google came along and I went with Gmail. Somewhere in all that, I duplicated the Qwerki too much, so I had to become Qwerki.rob. The rest is history I guess. TMI maybe, but I think its funny how these things progress.
I just did an Google search, oh, wait, now we say we "googled" it. So when I googled it the word "qwerki" I found a site that offers advice on Reddit, a site on Twitter that offers a "Qwerkibox is a Monthly Mystery box full of goodies from Movie, TV, Animation, DC, Marvel, Starwars, Funko Pop". and a singer calling himself Qwerki on Reverbnation.com with two recordings. You can sample it by clicking here: Qwerki Playlist. Not bad actually. I think its techno-rock, so listen at your own risk.
Anyway, that's what I was thinking about this morning when I sat down to write this blog. I'm sure there's a moral to this diatribe, but I haven't figured it out just yet. Maybe it's just to learn to accept change, go with the flow and live in the mystery of never knowing why anyone would put ZYXWVUT on their license plate.
Yesterday I had the (mis)fortune...all in how you look at it...to find myself in the Urgent Care waiting room at Kaiser. I had put off too long having someone look at what were apparent spider bites. One bite was big...on my left leg. It hurt like a sun of a gun for the first few days, but I didn't want to find out I was dying, so I waiting. Shortly after that, another bit appeared near the back of my right ear. (Traveling spider?) I suppose it was during the night, but who knows? Anyway, I finally decided it wasn't healing fast enough, so I got myself to UC. Long story short, the Physician's Assistant gave it a glance or two. "Insect bite. I'm prescribing a steroid creme, K-Flex, and an anti-biotic." I said spider bite. He wouldn't commit, but his notes said spider bite. Sigh.
So there's the how and why I ended up in Urgent Care...reluctantly of course, but it was quite the experience in people watching.
I found my way to the registration desk. I was standing in line, waiting the HIPPA mandated six feet (or?) away. A male voice called out, "Next Member!". He was hidden behind a pillar, but I finally found him. Unsmiling or welcoming, he asked for my member card and why I was there. I described what I had. He made notes, didn't say a word. He gave me a sheet of paper to take to window B and deposit through the slot. "Next!"
I dutifully did as the reception clerk directed. The waiting room was probably 95% full. Not too bad. Lots of seats. I chose one next to a lovely old woman, well dressed and very polite appearing. Sitting down, I said I would try not to bump her. "You won't," she smiled. "Lots a people here needing attention. Some of them sick," she said. I decided to break out my Morning Pages journal and just write.
As I wrote, I could overhear the young couple to my right talking about her "needing to pee so often". "Well," he chided her, "You are pregnant." "Yes," she said, "I guess that's it." They were called in shortly after that. Not to long after, they came out. "Where is X-ray?" he asked. "This way," she said. And they were gone.
Just then another woman sat down. She was on her cell. "Betty can hardly walk," she was explaining. "I had to wheel her in and they gave us a big old wheelchair. It wasn't easy, poor thing. They told us it would be two hours. Two hours! What can you do?" The woman decided to go get Betty and wheel her in next to where she was sitting. Betty didn't look comfortable, but seemed in good spirits. They kept repeating "two hours, its gonna be two hours! Did you tell her?" "Yes" "Well, I guess all we can do is wait." Good choice I guess. Emergency is right around the corner, but I bet you wait there, too.
I surveyed the room at that point. It seems like every other person waiting had the hand held devices out. Playing games? Facebook? Email? Very serious expressions on their faces, too. Life or death it appeared, but most likely just their zombie faces while engaged in electronic communications.
I also noted there were people from every stripe of life. White folk, black folk, brown folk, old folk, young folk, folks alone, folks with the whole family. A few who appeared financially secure and a few who would appear to be worried this might cost more than they had.
There was a muffled commotion in the entry hall. A man was moaning, breathing hard. I glance around to see a burly hispanic man in one of those guerny/wheelchair contraptions. I was wearing sunglasses, a black tee and there were a few tatoos, but not many. A woman was with him. They wheeled him in, just a few seats down from me to the left, just beyond the elderly lady I had first encountered. (This is when they called her in).
The poor guy, all big and buff, was in misery. He complained he was cold. Could he have a blanket? His companion knocked on the door to the locked examination area. Someone emerged, came near him. "Sorry, we can't give you a blanket." "Why not?" "You haven't had your vitals done yet." "I"m freezing," he pleaded. His companion asked, "Please, he's so cold." "Not until we do his vitals," the nurse assistant said, and turned back into the exam room. The scene was repeated with another nurse assistant. He was remarkably restrained, but was obviously chilled to the bone. He kept asking, "Why? Why no blanket? Who ever heard of that?" Shortly after that they took him in. I hope he got his blanket, poor guy.
It was finally my turn. One hour wait, but between writing my pages, and observing my fellow waiters, I was in. A nurse took my vitals. I almost asked about a blanket, but decided not to. The nurse warmed up as we chatted about having worked or nearly worked for the coroner and in hospitals.
Once I saw the PA, and he gave me the prescriptions, I trotted over to the pharmacy. The first young man must have had the same training as the receptionist guy in the UC. No smile, no acknowlegement to "How are you?" Just, "Three? Give us ten minute." I did. I waiting by the board of flashing names. When your name appears, you're rx's are ready. I waited. Ten minutes (more or less). My name appeared. I snapped a picture. I went to the line and was called up by a friendly, smiling young lady. "Here you go," she said sweetly. It felt good to hear a friendly voice. "The pharmacist will be right over to go over these with you. Anything else?" "No, thank you." I wanted to compliment her on her demeanor, but held my tongue. She might think me sarcastic, which would not be the intention.
The pharmacist, obviously overworked, or busy, or just a bit grumpy, mumbled a few words about each item. "Apply this creme sparingly," is all I remember really. And I was done!
I wanted to put on the creme and take the first doses of the meds right away as the itching and burning was starting up again, but I refrained until I got home. But when I did apply the creme and take the meds, it felt like the healing had begun. I thought you would like to know. I doubt the UC staff would be all that concerned, so I won't call them.