Friday, November 18, 2011

except perhaps a bit more soundly.

I'm feeling particularly huffy right now. I'm sure it's just me being my ridiculously emotional self (though I am learning that I am not emotional in the most common sense). But. That sudden turn when everything just seems so grave, that ever so slight misstep of emotion-- damn it. Today is not a very cold day, surprisingly. Usually when I come outside at 6AM I'm met with a hard wall of FREEZE that seeps into my bones so quickly that I can't possibly explain it to someone who is not accustomed to this sort of weather. It really is an adjustment. Anyway, today is actually not one of those days we've had as of late, but it's very bleak. And I feel very bleak. Bleak freaking House, that is me.

I never read that book.


I got off of a particularly taxing shift just now and decided to check my bank balance. I got the paycheck early for my last week spent in California, and it was about 400 dollars less than it usually is. I guess it makes sense. I used my Paid Time Off, but that didn't equal up to the amount of time I usually spend working. So. I can't even pay for the whole of our rent, which I told my room-mate I would try to do this month. I have car insurance to pay! I have effing student loans which I won't even be able to make a measly payment on now! I can't buy furniture, we'll have to continue sleeping on a shared couch and the oldest mattress in the world (which has a bit of mold on the bottom, not going to lie). Of course, even with my normal paycheck this might be some of the case. But I think I was just so saddened and frustrated looking at those numbers that I wanted to scream. Also, this means that I will have to "restart" my time at my place of work before I can get my health insurance/benefits-- where I work you have to pull full-time every week for about four months until you get your benefits set-up. Well. Even though I tried to work it out with my PTO, it would seem that my repeated (see: TWO) trips to California have disrupted this flow. Every time I get close, I have to start over again. Four more months until I can go to the doctor, the eye guy, the damn dentist (yes! damn the dentists, damn them all!).

I'm so frustrated. I'm SO not into being this sheepish person who has to shrug and either apologize for not having enough money to follow through on anything, to have to stall. My mom told me the other day that she was psyched that she was given a 25 dollar gift certificate to Target because the family had exactly 5 fucking dollars in the bank. TO EAT ON.

What IS this?

Sure, people are starving in Africa. But this is here. I'm in the very lucky percentile that has a fulltime job-- but that's what stings right now. I work SO HARD. I work at NIGHT, taking care of the elderly. And I still have to be this frustrated girl who still feels like she's failing herself and her poor little family.

Or maybe I'm just sad about Ernie. Ernie, you see, is my favorite oldster at the old home. He is fantastic and hilarious and odd, and is without a doubt the most educated man I've met in North Dakota. His vocabulary, even now, is incredible. He served in WWII and afterward traveled Arabia working for an oil company. His sister was a teacher and he built a schoolhouse for her. He always tells the image-conscious girls at work that they look pregnant, and tells me, even though he doesn't remember me from one day to the next, that I'm lovely (he makes fun of me too, which I also appreciate). He gently mocks everyone, not because he thinks he's better than all of us, but because he knows he actually is a little bit better than us, or he would be if he weren't a bit out of his mind (we have a new coworker. he's ok, nice and all, but unfortunately he' s taken a shine to me for some awful reason, and he's probably 300 pounds and, though a nice person, a total idiot. one night Ernie came up to me and said "Eh. Have you seen that big fellow? Nice man, nice man. Just don't let him fall on you.")

Anyway. Ernie is dying. He got ill for awhile, then pulled through, then reached a pinnacle of strangeness (during which he told me that he must follow the president, or perhaps sleep as though the president would-- except perhaps a bit more soundly), then suddenly was not himself. One night he cried the entire shift, which he has never done, held our hands, quoted Shakespeare and suddenly segued into praying and vaguely referencing the war. At one point he said "my past has caught up to me." At another point he said that he should not be alive, that some other man was shot for him. I wondered what waves of memories were coming back to him, and how many were actually 100% real. The other evening I came in, said hello, and held his hand for a bit. He coughed, then came around and said "Oh. Yes. Please don't go." I told him I'd get him some water and come back, and he told me "Oh, but please don't lose me. People around here have a tendency to disappear." Now he's just an utterly confused, coughing mess. He can't get up to walk to the bathroom, so we put him in a wheelchair and transfer him. This morning, before I left, I went to say goodbye and to make sure he was comfortable. As I was adjusting I got a whiff of him, of what he now smells like. You know how some people say certain things have the smell of death? There's something to that. It's not just old man smell, or incontinence, or heinous breath. It's just THAT smell.

I guess that's why I was moved to tears about my stupid 400 dollars. I don't know.


Laura Allyson said...

I love you. You are lovely and I love you and we all love you. So very much.

Sonja said...

Oh katrina. *hugs* I don't even know what to say. Other than you are very strong and a lioness.