Monday, May 31, 2010

Writing Exercise: Dominique

      She sat reclined in the crook of an overstuffed, high-brow couch. Her ability to look so reposed on such a piece of furniture is what made her the center of any room and look organic in the posh surroundings.

      “Dominique,” he cried breathlessly from the ante-room, the door slamming unnecessarily behind him. She sat unmoving, leafing through the pages of the women’s magazine sitting in her lap previously unnoticed. He would find her; he would come to her. He was always the one to come to her, never the other way around.

      “Dominique,” he cried again as he appeared in the archway to the drawing room, still wearing his overcoat and crushing the felt hat in his over-wrought hands. He crossed the space of the room and dropped to the floor before her, trying to set himself in her eye line. She kept her eyes on the unread page for several moments until she felt his tension crest. Slowly looking up, her eyelashes rolled back to reveal her cool stare.

      “Dominique, my love,” he croaked out from his throat that sounded dry and to harsh. “I’ve done it. I’ve done it!” His face was held in an awkward kind of limbo. Asking for permission to be happy, on the verge of begging. She enjoyed it; she actually lived for it.

      “Done what my dear?” she asked sweetly, watching his face fall.

      “Sold my plan. I’ve been working on it for months. It’s all I talk about,” letting his voice trail off, hurt stamped on his face.

      “Good for you,” she replied in a saccharine voice as her eyes traveled back to the glossy pages. He remained kneeling for almost a full minuet before he got up. His hat forgotten on the carpet and shoulders slumped, he padded out. Only then did she allow a small smirk to creep over her thin lips.

      Castro met Dominique met nearly six years ago upon the broad planks of his family pier that jutted out into the bay. The white linen dress she wore that day hung on her delicate, thin frame like it was wearing her. Her nearly black hair danced on the wind that blew across the water. Despite her blue collar upbringing, her high cheek bones, almond eyes, and flawless skin gave her an unmistakable aristocratic air. That day he did not notice her hard won vocabulary, the practiced lilt to her voice, or how she seemed to settle into a role that was never suppose to be hers. During that particular New England afternoon and eventually evening, all Castro saw was a woman who could be his first girlfriend in all of his twenty-two years.

      In love with the idea of love, it was only four months before the Saeger Estate was transformed into a wedding fit to induct Dominique into society. Castro looked down into her radiating face, while the high elms of the south lawn swayed in the background. Most weddings are a day of firsts; Castro and Dominique’s wedding was a day of lasts. It was the last time Dominique had any need for her family, the last time she would allow him to be happy without a concerted effort to ruin it, and that last day Dominique would consider herself ordinary. Castro was a necessary evil, like a ticket to ride a train. Once she was aboard, she had not further use for the ticket other than it needed to be around to prove that she really did belong.

      The plan that Castro spoke of was his baby. The only baby he would ever have as long as he was faithfully married to Dominique. Eighteen months in conception, his plan was one for a major medical metropolis to be built on an undeveloped tract of land that would net them unneeded millions. His work desk, which sat in a large downtown firm, was covered with soil samples, blueprints that he had to learn to read, and mountains of governmental forms. His uptown desk that sat in a three-floored space that was nestled atop an emerald green urban high-rise that he and Dominique shared, faired no better. For once in his life, he felt some kind of value in himself. No longer the round –faced dough boy hiding behind the buffet table at debutant balls, he finally felt like he had found something he could earn. He finally felt like he could have something that wasn’t handed to him.

      Months of late nights, missed dinners, and lost weekends were of no concern to Dominique. His work concerned her even less than the actual man did. Every moment he spent on the project was a moment that she did not have to deal with him and his inane needs and concerns. It could have been this project, a mistress, or a drinking problem, and her feelings would have been the same.

      He stood in his closet, placing his large faced watch in an empty slot of the velvet lined valet. He looked down at the watches, brothers lined up in a row. What would it have been like to have a brother, he mused to himself. The thing was that he did have a brother, Cooper. He was a sad sickly child who lived to be only seven before he was laid to rest in the atrium of the Saeger Estate. His mother would not allow him to be buried 30 miles away in the family plot next to the town’s only Lutheran church. She could not bear to be so far from him. Castro was born 11 months later to fill the gaping hole in his mother’s heart. Once born, she looked upon the healthy glow to his cheeks, and realized that Castro would never be Cooper. Passed into the wet nurse’s arms, that is where he stayed as his mother became a cold imitation of her former self. He was seven himself when we watched his mother and brother finally be reunited, the only two member of the family to never leave Saeger Estate.

      Suddenly Castro felt a combination of things he had never felt before. First he was fairly certain he was feeling self-pity. It was a feeling he had when he saw a nag get whipped, but for the first time that feeling was for his own situation. Surrounded by the trappings of his privileged birth, he wondered how he could ever feel pity for himself. And then, there was anger. He was angry because he came to realize that he hated her. He wished they hated each other, but she did not even have enough passion towards him to hate him. Her cruelty towards him was a past time; it was a hobby of shear self-indulgence. She knew his level of devotion and she liked to see how far that devotion would go. The last unidentified feeling was confidence because for the first time in his life he was sure of what he wanted to do.

      A calm fell upon his as he methodically removed his tie and hung it in its prescribed spot. He left the top two buttons near his neck undone; he would clearly recall that later. He replaced the shoes he had already removed and tied each shoe with a double knot. He slowly rolled up his sleeves to his long sleeved button down, his embroidered initials disappearing as the cuff enveloped them. He pulled the bottom of shirt free from his pants and let it hang wrinkled and free to give himself more freedom of movement.

      When he finished his prep, he counted each step down his flights of stairs until his heel made a loud clack upon the rose aurora marble that Dominique had insisted on. He retraced the same steps he took no more than 12 minutes before, back into the drawing room, but as a man who had never walked the floors of this space. He was changed, he was different, and looking back upon that night he was for the span of half an hour not a Saeger.

      As the wall fell back to reveal her, he saw her standing at a cherry console table, pouring amber liquid into a thick cut crystal tumbler. He noticed the curve of her hip that he was not allowed to touch. He felt like a lecher looking at his own wife. Lascivious thoughts vied for his attention, but his focus could not be broken.

      He noticed her back straighten slightly as she became aware of his presence, but she gave no other acknowledgment. She continued to pour until the glass was so full that it appeared it would slosh over if moved. She slowly screwed the lid back on the bottle before setting it down delicately. She waited a beat, and then pivoted on the spot like she was performing on stage. Now facing him she settled one hand upon her narrow waist and tented the fingers of her other hand on the polished table surface. The drink sat forgotten.

      “Did you have more news to thrill me with?” she asked tartly, all pretense of warmth between them was gone. Castro opened his mouth to speak, to tell her everything. He wanted her to know of the frustration he felt, he wanted her to know that this is not what he wanted his life to be, he wanted her to know how he desired her and even more so wanted her to desire him. As all of the things he wanted her to know tried to tumble out of his mouth, she took his silence for weakness.

      “You are such a conversationalist,” she said in a voice saturated with sarcasm. “It is no wonder I rush home every night.” His mouth moved up and down in an attempt to make the words flow. She let out a snort of derision. She started to turn back towards the table and her overfilled beverage. It was only a matter of moment before he closed the distant between them. His large, pudgy finger wrapped around each of her shoulders and he wheeled her back around to face him. The first thing he thought was how smooth her skin felt; how he longed to lay in a shared bed and run his fingertips the length of her silky arm.

      All of the playful cruelty in her eyes evaporated as she spat, “You don’t get to touch me. Ever.”

      “No,” he thought, “she was his wife”. His longing ignited his anger. It lit like dry tinder and consumed him. Each of his fingers pressed into her flesh further and further until he could feel the bird-like bone beneath. She snapped her body around in an attempt to free herself. This only fed his fire more.

      Her jerk pushed them both into the console table. It rocked and sloshed her drink. The liquid raced to the edge of the table and wicked unto the delicate lavender silk of Dominique’s dress. The sudden wetness momentarily caught her attention and she turned her head to investigate. As she did so, her elegant neck elongated and made a curve he longed to know. Releasing his left hand from her arm, he moved it up to the creamy skin of her neck. He rolled his finger back and they landed in the soft hairs at the nape of her neck, while his thumb made an arch as it traced her carotid artery.

      “Let go,” she hissed between gritted teeth. She attempted to move her face so he could see the fire in her eyes. When he felt the sinews beneath his hand begin to move, his anger was back in a flash. He did not want that beautiful line to disappear, and reflexively his hand tightened. He could feel her pulse increase beneath his thumb. The increased pressure tipped her into an instinctual panic. The previous attempt to free her self had been controlled and meant to assert her superiority over him, and he knew it. The change in the quality of her movement made him feel powerful; she wanted something from him. Intoxicated with the power, he moved his other hand to up. Now with both hands on her neck he could feel all the delicate structures in her neck.

      “What are you going to do? Do you think this changes anything?” she rasped out. He could feel her words vibrate beneath his hands. Thoughts raced through his head. Why was she this way? Her fingernails now bit into the flesh of his wrist. Why can’t she love me? Her face was turning crimson. Why doesn’t anyone love me? A tiny foot kicked at him but missed the mark.

      He marveled how it felt so much like squishing a peach. He could almost feel the warmth on his face of the sun filtered through the leaves of the peach tree planted next to his mother and brother back on at Saeger Estate. There was a crash as a floor lamp fell. He loved peaches, their smell, the soft fuzz that covered the surface, the way it curved in near the stem. A sickly gurgle reached his ears. He used to love to take the fruit in his fist and feel the delicate flesh crumple beneath his power, to squish out between his fingers. A crunch happened beneath his hand but did not register. When he would open his fist, he would separate the pit from the flesh and push it into the dirt that made up the graves.

      A drop hit is wrist. He felt like he was coming out of a fog. Looking down at his wrist and then up at her face he realized it was a tear. It had run down her cheek, to the tip of her chin and landed on him. In that one moment he saw something that he had never expected; her face was slackening, her eyes were pleading, and she was vulnerable.

      He slackened his grip and she fell in a crumpled heap on the floor. A gasp ripped across her body. Her hands moved to her own neck, cupping the injured flesh. Each breath she pulled in was loud and harsh sounding. He stood over her, watching her recover.

      Finally, she looked up at him. His expression unchanged, he continued to look down at her. She smoothed strays hair back off her sweaty face that had fallen out of her neatly coifed bun. She replaced a shoe that had fallen off. She brought her gaze to meet his. After a moment he nodded and not breaking eye contact, she shakily rose to her feet. She put out a hand to stable herself on the back of the couch.

      It took a few moments for her to find her balance. She took what little strength she had and straighten her back. Dropping her eyes away from his face, she shook her head up and down.

      Dominique proceeded to leave the room. As she passed Castro he turned his body so he could watch her leave. His eye never left her. She threw a hand out and steadied herself on the jamb of the archway as she passed under it.

      Still watching, he slipped his hands into his deep pockets of the single pleated slacks that he had worn for the first time, and last time that day. His right hand met the cool metal of a small, nickel plated, snubbed nosed pistol. He had stowed there before leaving his closet, crossing through his bedroom, moving across his living area, and descending from his floor.

      Her heel made contact with the polished marble and the clack brought his attention sharply on her so that he was studying her instead of just watching. He saw that wet spot that marred the beauty of her dress. He noticed the beads of sweat that had formed on the back of her arms. He took note of her stilted gait.

      He was sure that things would be different now. For the first time since they had received the space as a wedding gift from the matriarch of the Saeger family, he felt like the man of the house. He now was sure he was the leader of his own destiny. He could taste respect. He was never respected; not at his job, not in his home, not by the servants, or even by the bank manager that safeguarded their Herod’s fortune.

      Still tracing her hand along the wall, she paused as she rested her palm upon the rounded end of his banister. Her pause caused a surge of hope in Castro’s chest. His ego roared with pleasure. For a brief moment, he had allowed himself to think she had planned to ascend onto his floor, to cross his living space, and enter his room. He had allowed himself to believe that with his newly won respect, came the gift she had denied him from their first meeting on that pier so long ago. He could hear the gulls in his ears and taste the salt on his tongue.

      As he retreated to the movie in his mind, Dominique proceeded on her trek. She now had the strength after that short respite to move toward her own stairs. The first two clicks of her heels went unnoticed as he enjoyed the scene behind his eyes. The third was met with disbelief in Castro’s heart. And the fourth, the fourth sent a blaze through his veins. In a single swing of the pendulum that sat inside the body of the grandfather clock on the other side of the entry way, all the anger was back.

      Nothing had changed, nothing was different. He did not teach her anything. She did not know anything new when she rose up off the carpet. Allowing himself for a few sweet moments to believe he was privy to all he wanted and desired now plunged him deeper into despair than he was when he slipped the pistol into his pocket.

      She never loved him, and she never would. She did not respect him, and she never would. She had never been his, and she never would. For all the things she denied him, for all the things she would never be, for all the things she would never give him; for all those things he brought the small firearm into the light.

      Guns have always been instruments of destruction. He realized with six inches of metal he could destroy her willfulness, with one pull of the trigger he could destroy her superior attitude, and with one deadly projectile he would destroy her inability to love him.

      Why could she not love me, was the though he echoed in his mind as he brought six inches of metal to his eye line. Why could she not love me broke his heart as he pulled the trigger. Why could she not love me ripped from his chest as the deadly projectile found a home through the hair on the back of her neck, through her carotid artery, out through her wind pipe, and into the dry wall covered in a gold leaf design. Why could she not love me, echoed in his head.

      By the time Castro reoriented to reality, Dominique was laying still on that rose aurora marble. The tacky pool of blood had stopped growing outward. The last arterial spray had already painted the baseboard and lower half of the wall the separated the two sets of stairs. Her mouth had stopped opening and closing like a guppy out of water. Her eyes had stopped seeing and were now glassed over but still staring in disbelief.

      It would be ten hours before they found Castro and what remained of Dominique. Officers discovered him laying belly down, inches away from the edge of the ruddy pool, looking into Dominique’s face. He, himself, was near death from hypothermia caused by the hours on the cold, frigid marble radiating up at him.

      He did not resist arrest, only contorted his body so that he could maintain eye contact, and then just simply see her as long as possible. Through out his interrogation, arraignment, trial, and eventual incarceration he would only repeat two things. “I wanted her so much” and “Why could she not love me?”

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Keeper of My Past, Holder of My Future

The cost of a new relationship is almost prohibitive. Every passing year represents more of my biography that I will have to convey in two dimensional words; that he won’t experience first hand. He will not be able to recall what I looked like with long hair, or know how much I have grown and changed since college, he will not remember my brother's wedding, or have a sense of how I fit into my Austin life and how that lead me to where I am today. I will have to re-have every conversation I have ever invested in someone else. I have to repeatedly open up for the inevitable rejection to come. This is not melodrama, for I’ve yet to be in a relationship that has not ended. Every go at the goal takes a little piece of me so that I have less to give away next time. The journey has left me so travel worn that I sometimes am afraid there will be nothing left of myself to give him when he finally finds me.

Singlehood has been a constant theme in my life for the past year. Leaving the warm embrace of the YSA put a point on the subtle unspoken nub that innervates my whole being. All my efforts, my social structure, my thoughts of the future are pointed in a single direction, which ironically I have no control over. This thought is new in comparison my actual state. I have always been a single being, a single entity, companionless since before the world had a way to keep time. I was created as an individual with independence and agency and then tasked with finding my own compliment. I have never been part of something bigger than my whole. Yet my creator saw fit to instill a sometimes severe longing in me to tell me that my utter happiness can be found there.

In this past year, the inevitable, defeatist thought has occurred to me that it might never happen for me. That I am to walk this Earth alone, forever in the same state. That the full measure of my creation will never be achieved. I am fully cognizant that I cannot let that thought live and grow in my breast for it is a poison that will kill the soft, warm light within me. Recently I was reminded and came to a greater appreciation that with God, like the mythical Fate and her skein, there is always a design. I have to trust that I am not single by accident. In the last ten years of my eternal search, I have not been simply marking time or stagnating. I have oft contemplated what the purpose of these fallow years have been. The answers are always different and varied as the shades of blue, but one thought that I come back to most often would be that I needed this time to fully appreciate who I am as a whole before blending it with another. My nature is to give, to serve, and to think of others and then focus on my own needs. Had I been blended earlier in my life with another, I don't know if I could distinguish where I stopped and he began. That kind of selflessness could have left me with exactly what the word suggests, without self. All traces of individuality obliterated, and I am unsure once that became my situation I could have ever pulled out of it.

Today I am a whole and complete person. My edges are clearly defined and I know I can offer another a companion and not simply a moldable block of clay that will conform to what he thinks he wants. I know I take God's statement, "It is not good for man to be alone" to near mania at times, which causes me to question my faith in his design for me. I must stop acting as an obstinate child, demanding a snack now with no concept that dinner is but an hour away. I must trust in Him whom I have chosen to follow, for I am already walking the path. How much happier and calm will I be if I just take faith in the journey? Even if I pass out of this life in my single state, I can recognize that he asked of me to make an Abrahamic sacrifice and will try to understand what it truly means to give him my all, even my dearest desire.

I step back and look at what it means to be a person. I am my awe inspiring timeline that yawns out into the eternities. I am every thought I have ever had. I am every place I have ever been. I am all my wishes and desires. I am the massive depth that represents the sum total of all my experiences. It is overwhelming to think about what is encompassed in that, in my all, and then have to consider that he is just as massive, that he is just complex and deep. To take and mesh these two vast and entirely separate beings into one seems just as improbable as most things that require faith. Thinking of that helps me to understand why God might be taking things slower than I would like, taking things on his own timeline. While waiting means my other half will not be the keeper of my past as I had always envisioned he would be, I will, for today, take comfort that he will someday be the holder of my future.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Week 4: When The Rational Woman Dies

Let us be honest for once. Let us talk about what every guy already secretly knows, and what every girl uses all her energy trying to deny. Somewhere out there is a girl rule, which could either be unspoken or simply written on our DNA, that I am about to break by broaching this subject. Any girl who tells you that I am wrong, or exaggerating, or that it is just me, or just plain lying, you must understand that she is just keeping up the code.

Three weeks out of the month, I am a thoughtful, kind, honest, loving, caring, and rational human being. I go out of my way to do things for people, I find joy in caring for others, and try to always see the best in a situation. Then, during week four, something happens to me that I can only compare to what happens to Bruce Banner when someone runs over his foot. I become a complete and total beast. Unlike the Hulk though, my symptoms come on slowly and in fairly predictable pattern.

The first stage of week four's progression starts when I notice that I am impatient with things. Any other time, the two minutes it takes to warm up rice is just a good time to do a quick wipe down of the counters, traffic is good quality radio time, and the time it takes for the guy to make my sandwich at Port 'O Subs is just a window where I can chat him up about how his day has been. Not during the dreaded week four. When week four hits, I stand and glare at the microwave that it is purposefully trying to piss me off, just willing it to go faster, the lady driving 35 in a 45 mph should be summarily shot, and I start wondering how this guy at Port 'O Subs ever made it out of high school. The irritation phase, while annoying, is controllable with a little awareness. Knowing myself and my normal behavior, I try to push down my annoyance and fake how the normal, rational me would respond. I take a moment to rationally think about it, and it really helps to keep things in perspective. I try to realize that rice will always take 2 minutes no matter how long I wish it would take, there will always be slow drivers and there is nothing I can do about that, and I mean the guy works at Port 'O Subs, give him a break.

As time passes the impatient phase slowly morphs into the next stage, which is a bit more difficult to hide and even harder to control. This stage is where everything gets on my nerves. This phase, if not actively controlled, can make me appear like a whiner. Why is it so windy here? Why is there nobody at this stupid activity? Why did this stupid activity not start when it said it would? Why did I waste good make-up on this? I seriously cannot believe she is wearing that, what was she thinking? Why are all these girls hanging out in the bathroom, don't they know this is where you go to pee? Why would they ever play this horrible song, not a dance song people. Ugh, why am I still here? Knowing nobody likes a whiner, especially boys. So, I think all these horrible thoughts, but try my hardest to keep them to myself. This phase, and then next can be counterbalance somewhat by kindness from others. A friend calling to see if you are going to be at the activity, or someone calling you smart, or someone who you really hope to become friends with making a special point to talk just to you can quash all that negativity down like garbage in the bin. Making it so that I am still annoyed, but now there is space for other stuff too.

The third phase usually creeps up on me, but once it is there, there is no mistaking it. This is the phase that boys might start catching on that week four has arrived even though you have already been there for a couple of days. It is the self loathing / crying / please love me phase. I personally have a low tolerance for clingy, whiny, no self-esteem girls. I hate that we are even grouped in the same category together. There should be boys, girls, and then them. But somehow, every month, I am suddenly one of those girls. This is the phase where the rational woman begins to die. This day, for me, was yesterday. I felt fat (from the bloating) and ugly (from the crazy hormone), which I know both are not true but every time I looked in the mirror, there the feeling is again. Ugh, I hate my hair, this shirt makes me look like I have a pooch, I look like am an old lady with these bags under my eyes, I wish I had a butt, I bet guys would talk to me more if I had blue eyes. You get the point. After this feeling comes, I start to wonder why nobody loves me, why nobody cares, which is also completely not true. Once I feel fat, ugly, unloved and completely alone, I become ultra moody, sulky, and quiet. Last night, Ms. Justin caught on to this while we were on the dance floor. After telling her how nobody will ever marry me, how I feel fat and gross, and everybody hates me ... Geez, listen to me, I should dye my hair black and watch Twilight movies all day. Seriously, I was being ridiculous ... She made me feel better by telling me how pretty and special I was, and the rest of the night went by without anyone looking at me like I was acting like the teenage basket case.

The last phase is the worst and most recognizable. It is the total beast phase. This phase is the reason that women should still be sequestered to menstruation tents. When the beast phase hits, it not only when the rational woman is completely and totally dead, but it is also when we stomp and mutilate her body. It is full Hulk mode, minus the ripping of the shirt. It is when any boy knows you when you are normal begins to think wonder who you are and what have you done with that nice girl he knew a week ago. It is the phase that any boyfriend you have ever had, can identify and track by every major fight you have ever had. You are not yourself, and cannot be held responsible for your actions. This is what phase Lizzie Borden, Tammy Fae Baker, and John Wayne Bobbit's wife were in when they just plain went crazy. The worst part of the beast phase, for me, is I can feel myself being crazy, and yet have no control over it. I can feel the hate pulsing through my body and know I am toxic to any situation. It is like I am standing beside myself and watch watch this crazy woman who looks like me spread the poison around, yell at perfect strangers, rip good friends new ones, ensure good friends will not be good friends when I am again normal, slowly poison boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, cry in frustration that I cannot open a jar with wet hands, or plan total annihilation of the human race. When this phase hits I try to limit contact with the outside world or to people I don't care if I ever talk to after that day. It usually lasts anywhere from 10-36 hours, until my cycle finally starts and I can feel the hate flow out of me.

As much as any girl will deny it, this is all due to a hormonal flux. I worked women's health for the last two years, and in my field of work, I came upon some startling research. As you can clearly see from the graph above, the total beast phase occurs when a girl's "crazy hormone" is at it's highest. I mean, that is just science. Who could argue with me? I have a graph and everything.

Despite the admission that once a month we make boy's lives something akin to the seventh circle of hell, there are some girls that will blame it every character flaw and bad mood they have on the hormones. They will pick fights, be bitchy, be total messes, cry, complain, have erratic mood swings and then when confronted about being being a horrible person will blame it on week four. I beg of these girls, don't blame your special brand of crazy on week four. It already has a bad enough rap as it is, without you making it like hormones make girls crazy all of the time. Conversely, there is the other segment of the girl population that will never admit that they even have a week four, but doesn't seem like a huge coincidence that you and your boyfriend only fight one week out of the month?

Before the girl police come and cart me away for letting out classified information, I wanted to end by saying girls, be aware of what week it is and try your hardest, for everyone's sake, to keep your path of destruction to a one mile radius. And to the boys out there, all I really have to say is, I know it is hard to imagine the what it is like, but please make sure this time next month when I turn in to a crying, blubbering mess that you realize the real me will be back the week after that.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Night Shift Lessons

I survived my first night shift...barely. There were tears, there were threats, and in the end there was a broken person who used to love working in the hospital. But along the way, I learned a few gems that I thought I would share with you.

1. Working "nights" sucks just as much as Princess said it did. You should always believe Princess.

2. Don't piss off the person who control when you get your drugs in the first two hours she is there, because while you feel vindicated right now, remember there are still ten hours left of her shift.

3. When your preceptor tells you, "Now this is the way I do things", you should put your fingers in your ears and hum, because invariably, whatever she has to stay is idiotic.

4. Bacon wafting out of the cafeteria at the end of shift is not the heavenly aroma it is at the beginning of shift; it just kinda makes you think about how gross and greasy you really feel.

5. When they tell you that the cafeteria is open from 12pm - 3am, don't get all excited like you get to chose what day shift does, because all they really have for you is what you can get at a 7-11 at the same time of night.

6. You will always hate day shift and their full night sleep when they come in.

7. Just standing in front of the elevators will not make the elevator come. You might forget this when you are as tired as I am.

8. You might also forget how to get off the round-a-bout on the drive home.

9. Did I mention hating day shift?

10. Night shift does not sit around, catch up on their pleasure reading, or surf the net all night as I was once lead to believe. Turns out all that asinine paperwork that has to be done in the hospital, yeah, guess who gets to do that. If you guess the nurse who went to nursing school so she could secretly be a secretary, then you guest right.

11. Preceptors never tell you that you are expected to do stuff at certain times until it is like two hours after you should have already done them. So then you have to do them while you are supposed to be giving report to the hated, stupid day shift.

12. While we did baths on days at my old hospital, we do them on nights here. Why am I doomed to wash old people?

13. Quadruple charting must be super fun for everyone else, otherwise why would we do it so many times a night.

14. Lab, pharmacy, radiology, and dietary all hate you like you hate the day shift.

15. The new hospital you work at does everything it can to make your job just that much harder.

16. I am not as nice as I think I am at 0400.

17. Till midnight, I had the hardest time telling what time it was because I was not used to the military time. If I can't understand it, how is an 80 year old with glasses as thick as coke bottles? Oh, right, trying to use logic again.

18. You should never try to die in our hospital. Turns out we do no have code buttons....anywhere. You are supposed to, and I quote, "Scream bloody murder, and people will come, then we call the code". Awesome.

19. Walking out into a beautiful, warm spring day just pisses you off.

20. I used to say I was going to burn things to the ground as an expression. I now know what it feels like in reality.

21. Night shift will steal your chance to watch the "Lost" series finale. Which makes me hate the schedule.

22. One patient is hard when you are not used to how the unit is run, where things are, or the equipment. Two patients are eight times harder. How does that math work?

23. Night shift makes me hate everyone and everything. In case you did not catch that from the rest of the lessons.

24. Apparently I will do anything for money.

I am on the next two nights and I just have to hope that things get better. Next time you see me, just ask me how it is going. Then again, you might never see me, after the incarceration and all...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Project: Stay Up All Night

Well, this is the week I start working the night shift. Tomorrow night is my first shift and I am trying to make the transition in my sleep pattern. I have not worked the night shift since nursing school. Can I make it all the way till morning?

8:45 - Declare Project Up All Night starts. Thinks maybe I should have started last night instead. Fully convinced at this point that this is a bad idea.

8:51 - Stop at 7-11 and ask for largest Gulp available. Secretly sad when 64 oz of caffeine is all they could provide me. I was hoping for a trough, or a beer helmet, or a modified insulin pump that would inject substance straight into my body.

9:00 - Curse poor planning for leaving FHE so late that Cafe Rio is closed. Instead make overly complicated dinner which involves peeling and detailing shrimp. Feel like domestic goddess when dinner is plated and wished someone was there to tell me how awesome it looked.

9:20 - Check DVR and wondered why I have not filled it up with inane shows to watch tonight at 2am when even more inane shows are on. Start "House" and eat un-worshipped dinner with chopsticks. Feel fancy for doing so.

9:35 - Get brilliant idea that I will use my time wisely tonight and study EKG rhythm interpretation for my job. Pause "House" and rush out to hit up Barnes and Nobles before they close.

9:40 - Park at Barnes and Noble and of the three other cars in the parking lot, spot the one where either a date was ending very well, or the lady in the passenger seat was looking for her earring in the driver's seat while the man was still in it. Decide it best I not investigate to closely.

9:41 - Meet only clerk in entire store. Quickly realizes she hates her job, and hates me even more for coming in so late with dumb questions. Ask her where EKG books are. Told they do not carry them.

9:42 - Decide hateful store clerk is lying to me. Find selection in the "Medical/Nursing" section, and then locate desired books.

9:43 - Get side tracked by anatomy coloring book and have visions of how fun my night would be coloring pituitary and adrenal glands purple. Then remember I am 1) no longer being tested on exact location inguinal ligament and 2) have vague notion that I at one point already owned this book and colored my way through it.

9:49 - Struggle with purchase decision between 400 page book teacher recommended and 132 page pocket guide. Who are we kidding? I went with the pocket guide.

9:50 - In attempt to put back unwanted items, I create a tsunami of pocket guides where gravity reached up and claimed at least 20 of them. Now standing ankle deep in pocket guides while pervader of hate rounds corner and sees she has not gotten rid of me and thinks I am plotting to make her stay all night.

9:51 - Summarily escorted to register for my now mandatory purchase. Decide is not good idea to flip through the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition while at counter.

9:53 - Walk back out to my car and decide woman is defiantly not looking for an earring.

10:00 - Drive to Blockbuster to get movie to fill time later due to lack of DVR planning. Decide to rent "Crank 2" after remembering hot sex scene in "Crank 1".
10:05 - Walk past "The Bachelor Party" on sale table and decide life would not be complete without owning it. Spend next 10 minutes trying to find any movie I would not be embarrassed to own later. End up with "Couples Retreat", despite never having seen it and know Vince Vaughn will try his hardest to make me regret decision.

10:17 - Meet bookstore employee's long lost brother. Tells me movie I am about to rent sucks. Rent anyways because he obviously does not remember same sex scene I do.

10:25 - Return home and restart "House". Try to figure out what is wrong with patient before House does.

11:07 - Arachnoid tumor? Seriously? How was I ever supposed to guess that. Start mindless "Castle" next.

11:08 - Prep photos for Facebook upload, wonder how upset Flip will be at each photo. Decide I am not best person to judge and then remember that I post everything. Set timer to see how long till he untags himself and then tells me I am a bad person and will eventual destroy my camera.

11:19 - Review photos after posting and feel one might incur the most wrath, but still am unsure if I should take it down. In the end, leave it posted.

11:33 - While watching "Castle", surfing Facebook. Under the "Photo Memories" tab it shows a picture of me and The Jew. Momentarily black out thinking about how hot he was, and wonder if he still that hot. Check his Facebook account and confirm he is still that hot. Get depressed. Realize he is last person I kissed, get more depressed.

11:42 - Spent last nine minutes trying to think of someone who would make out with me. Came up empty handed. Depression deepening.
12:11 - "Castle" is over, pretty sure I got dumber from watching it. EKG book is staring accusingly at me. Pick up book and have high ambitions of being EKG queen by morning.

12:13 - Somehow EKG book is back on the table and I am reading Tucker Max instead.

12:26 - Text friend who sent me Tucker Max book and thank him for making my life better.

12:51 - Still reading. Texting friend tells me my text are coming through on a 20 minute delay. Hate AT&T. Go outside and angrily shake my fist at cellular wave that decide they are to good to stop by my house.

1:48 - Hit a wall. Tiredness is settling in. Direct caffeine infusion not possible due to lack of equipment, but I will have another Diet Coke. Think text friend has wisely gone to bed. Am going to attempt to finish Tucker book tonight.

2:26 - There is light at then end of the tunnel. I am convinced I can make it till sun-up. Best line from the book so far? "I hope my daughters date guys like me."
3:10 - Noticed Flip untagged his photos at 1:00. Two hours from post to untag, that has to be some kind of record.

3:42 - Sleepy is such an understatement at this point that it almost fails at being a word. Having a hard time concentrating on book, so decide to see if anyone is on line to chat with. No one; not a single person. FML.

5:13 - Finished entire 257 pages of Tucker Max book. Considers all the books I could have read tonight, and scan list of "Top 100 Greatest Novels of the 20th Century" to make sure it is not on list to be checked off. Oddly enough, it is not there. Wonder how many people will judge me for reading Tucker Max book.

5:14 - Am now fully aware will not make it to 6 am yoga despite desire for sexy swimmer lines for upcoming summer months. Unsure if can even make it to 6 am and regretting not buying Sport's Illustrated Swimsuit Edition to inspire me to go to 6 am yoga.

5:35 - Sweet, merciful sun. We meet again. Finish up blog post, wash face and attempt to devise ways to ensure dog does not wake me up every 20 for the next 9 hours of sleep.