August 8, 2014
The oncoming car stops just in time. The driver is aghast, frightened at almost hitting us. Why is she driving the wrong way? Oh, no! We are the ones going the wrong way. Lisa is slumped at the wheel of our car. Heart attack? Passed out? Dead? I try to get our car out of the lane but I can’t get to the controls. No, think clearly. What is the priority? I gently pull Lisa out of her seat. She is so small, I can get her prone across my lap inside the car. Breaths, short shallow breaths, are coming through. She is alive; there is hope. I get her revived.
* * *
The new supervisor has his own style for presentations. I gave him beautiful printouts, the ones he asked for, to place on the display board for the meeting. Now that he sees them, he wants to make changes. Okay, we can do that. He doesn’t know what to do with a two-sided document he wants split out, so I explain the options to him. I do tell him I’m done for the day and won’t be coming to his room later. I’m not sure what he wants, but I know to protect myself from such a long workday. Oh, no. I forgot to give him the pile of submissions. Lisa will take them to him.
* * *
M. wants to use the bathroom and he doesn’t care that Judith is still in there. I tell him, but he is determined. With his full force and a boulder he knocks in the white bathroom door. It dislodges from its hinges and falls directly on Judith in the tub, knocking her out. She slips below the bath water. I dash in. I don’t know how I do it but I get her out and stretch her out on the floor; I know she is naked and feel bad for that but I must save her life if I can. Yes, she is breathing; I feel the air with my hand. It will be okay.
* * *
The new building lacks bathrooms, except for one in its depths accessible only by the obstacle-course training stairwell. We go up and down the stairwell, pushing against the sides and swinging from one foothold to another. The stairwell is too wide for my short body; I can only get from one wall to the other by leaping across. Too scary. I realize I can get down to the bathroom in the women’s locker room by simply walking down the stairs! I cheat and do it that way.
It’s a long walk from the building back to the road but I can do it. We remark on how stupid the building planners were, leaving out bathrooms and placing the building remotely. Maybe it was cheaper in the short run, but now who would want to buy the building?
* * *
What a beautiful amusement park! Does it even have a Japanese Garden within its borders? That even I can visit? Yes! All included in the park’s entrance fee! A lovely bubbling brook is in front of the Japanese Garden’s enchanting, lush entrance … uh oh, that water looks deep. More like a fast creek. Oh, I see some stepping-stones on one end, maybe I can cross it. The man in the entrance fee booth encourages me to try. I make it over; wasn’t too bad. I love the animals in the garden! Yes, they are wild and might hurt me but so far they are friendly and I can manage it fine. After all, I saved three lives today.
* * *
One of the staff alongside of me, walking down the stairs, looks angry and standoffish. As usual. Finally, I’ll just ask. “What do you have against me?”
“You cheat. You take credit for other people’s work.”
“I don’t! That isn’t true! Why do you think that?” I am so upset hearing this unjust accusation.
“People have known it for years. You copy from other people’s papers on tests. And after that change in policy in 1987, when things became stricter, we didn’t have to hide it anymore, hide how we don’t like you.”
“But who said that? It isn’t true!” I am so unjustly accused, but powerless. How does one stop a rumor that has circulated for years, and believed even though it isn’t true. Well, at least now I know why they act like they hate me. Why they do hate me. I’m so frustrated, trying to figure out how to right the record.
August 6, 2014
Beautiful cat. Big beautiful. Wow she’s big. Looks like a leopard. Spots, and big and all. Coming up to me for petting. Love the cat.
* * *
The stairs are missing, so I float through the air down from the second story to the first. The walls are covered with decorations. What are they? Oh, Christmas decorations? I’m looking for the woman who did them. Amazingly, I find her right next to me.
My dressing up in the Christmas suit is appropriate after all. My red flannel pullovers, with the holiday decorations, fit right in with the other costumes at the Christmas party. So warm in here. Must be 200 people. I start to remove pieces of the costume to cool myself off. I have regular clothes on underneath.
Felicias emails me asking me out for Friday night. He wants me to go to a Finish dance with him. Checking the website, I see he probably is confused. The dance is the last weekend of December, not November as he thought. He gave me a strange, partial email address to use to respond to him. “You’ll figure it out he tells me,” with his thick Spanish accent, accenting his good looks. So that’s who he is! I wasn’t sure at first, when I got the email. Yes, I’ll go out with him.
I don’t want to move to another desk but I have no choice but to share a cubicle with another person now. She complains about people who keep out more than one pen or pencil and I say yes, I am one of those. I always have a few lined up. I did wean out many, see these coffee mugs with just a few pens in them? I eye a few inches of wall space near my cubicle mate’s desk. “Could I put a file cabinet there?”
“You’re taking up all the room here.”
No room for my supplies; must ask Merle for my own office or cubicle back. Karen G. lets me in; wasn’t sure if it was right apt. because of the two baby carriages outside the door. Phil Lang is there. Again he doesn’t feel well. He is lying down, naked from the waist up. Has been having fevers. “You weren’t feeling well last time I saw you, Phil. Sorry you aren’t better.” Karen looks surprised at our familiarity.
Someone finds me to tell me that I’m late for a meeting. “Sorry, I didn’t realize it was on my calendar. It came on when I was out of town and I didn’t notice it.” I have trouble finding room 124 but when I finally stumble on it, it’s the room I first found a while back for some other class; the one with the strange, fluid, moving desks. I find an empty one in front; I see F. is in the room as well. But I don’t have anything for taking notes. I want one of my white pads; they are at my old workspace – there wasn’t any room for them in the new cubicle. But now they are gone; someone returned them to the supply room and they were taken. Someone walks into the room now and gives me one of my pads. It still has my notes on it.
The professor says today is a tour day; we’ll go out in the field. He starts arranging carpool groups.
A driver misunderstands a group: a man and his wife and his girlfriend. He mistakes the man’s wife as his girlfriend and splits up the group based on this confusion. In the process the man’s wife realizes the other woman is a girlfriend; she had not known. Chaos ensues.
Karen G. is applying a treatment to the top of Merle’s head. “You’re hitting the electrodes,” says Lang. “Don’t hit the electrodes.” Karen G. keeps applying the hair-removal plate to the electrode at the top of Merle’s head. He is screaming in pain. She keeps going. Lang tells her to stop and finally she relents.
Keeping an apartment; this is how it is done in our culture – the way my apartment is furnished – this is the type of furniture our society expects; some people are on the edge; they don’t know or care about how to keep an apartment. according to our culture’s norms.
August 3, 2014
Laura wants me on a committee to replace the Hispanic. People don’t think I’m white; they think I’m a minority. “Seems that just because I’m Russian they think I’m not Caucasian,” I tell them. “You are wrong though.” I don’t understand why they are confused; I feel hurt that they misunderstand me, who I am, and only want me because they think I’m a minority.