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Thoughts Of Suicide

Confession: March 24th was going to be the end for me. Months with no car, pain, painful treatments, meds screwed up, isolated, low on cash...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Crackhead Revisited

When our son Blake was born, his father Jeff asked me if I thought it would be a good idea if he "made contact" as he put it, with his mother. "If you want. That would be nice" I told him.
 I had never met his mother and he hadn't spoken to her in over a decade and yet he felt compelled to call her and tell her she was a grandmother. He called, they spoke for twenty mins and then never spoke again.
When Jeff started smoking crack, I took "my" son and went back home to Tennessee. Jeff eventually came back too and saw his son a few times but crack use ended up taking over his life and forcing him out of Blake's.
On March 15, my son became a father. Holding his daughter--my granddaughter--in his arms reminded me how tiny he looked in his own father's arms. I wondered if history was going to repeat itself. Later on that evening, Blake asked "Do you think I should find my dad and tell him he's a grandpa?"
"If you want. That would be nice." I said. Those were the same words I had said to his father twenty years earlier.
In both occasions, I didn't think the absent parent deserved to know about either birth but it wasn't up to me then and it wasn't up to me now. So when Blake asked me if I could locate his father, I told him I would see what I could do.
Why not? Maybe things had changed for Jeff. Turned his life around. Gotten "sick and tired of being sick and tired" after all these years. Maybe he wanted to reach out to Blake but so much time had passed he didn't feel it was his place. He never "made contact."
Through the powers of social media, I got a message to Jeff. I gave my phone number and asked for a call.  What if he called? What was I going to say to him? What if he didn't call? What was I going to say to Blake? Which would be worse--telling Blake his father called or that he didn't?
Less than twenty-four hours after my message, Jeff called.
"Hi Dyane, this is Jeff." he said, "I got your message. I thought about not calling but I figured something must be up for you to call."
"Blake asked me to see if I could get in touch with you because he wanted to tell you that he's a daddy now...that makes you a grandpa." I don't know why I said it that way but it's what came to mind. I told Jeff this situation reminded me of when he had called his mother to tell her about Blake. Unfortunately, the woman had died without ever speaking to him again after that December morning over twenty years ago.
But this wasn't going to turn out to be a Lifetime movie where Dad realizes what he'd missed with his son and what he'd gone through with his mother and decides to change. No credits would roll, no happily ever after.
Jeff said that he had read about Blake's athletic accomplishments in newspapers over the years but confessed to still being addicted to crack, homeless, in and out of shelters and jail. He said that every time he got a job, he blew his money, got high, got fired or just didn't show up to work. In essence, "once an addict....."as he used to say.
 The next day I told Blake I had spoken to his father and what he had to say. It actually gave Blake peace. A question has been answered. Life goes on.
Haven't spoken to Jeff since and probably never will.The 'happily ever after' will be with Blake and his daughter--and me.
Roll credits!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Cashier Comments

Like a lot of incidents, this one starts with "I was minding my own business."
I needed motor oil and The ******* was open just ahead so I pulled into the parking lot, got in a parking space and dashed inside for a quart. As I got in line at check-out, the elderly man ahead of me asked for a pack of cigarettes from behind the counter. The cashier rang up the sale and said, "That will be $4.35---welcome to Obama's world."
"How's that?" the man asked.
"Everything's gotten so expensive now that Obama is in charge of the country." The cashier explained.
The customer said, "Oh, I don't vote."
"Then you're one of the idiots that got Obama elected...not voting at all is a 'bump' for them." the cashier replied.
"I just want to get my cigarettes and go." the customer said.
"Here you go, sir," the cashier said handing the man his cigarettes , "maybe next time you'll 'go' to the voting booth."
Surely, these two knew each other, right?
Neither men knew each other, the elderly man made that clear. But the cashier "decided" that $4.35 was too much for a pack of cigarettes, his customer was an idiot and partly responsible for Obama's election because the man said he didn't vote.
I had never seen an unprovoked attack on a customer before and it was a shock. I'm not that na├»ve but there are things I see happen between people that surprise me. Maybe if the customer had initiated the conversation with the cashier and it had been 'just talk,' it wouldn't have been so bad but this poor man just wanted a pack of smokes and ended up getting insulted. Embarrassed. I was embarrassed for him.
None of the rest of us in line thought this was a way to treat a customer and told the cashier so. He honestly seemed surprised at us. He was even more surprised when we reported him to the store manager. Yes, all four of us in line reported this cashier to the manager. I'm glad that as four strangers, we took it upon ourselves to stand up for this elderly man. We tried to make him feel better but I don't think we did a very good job. Rudeness towards elderly people is just wrong--worse when it's unprovoked. "The customer is always right," is a bit outdated doesn't the customer "have the right" to shop without harassment?
More than likely, nothing will happen to the cashier and nothing at the store will change. Well, one thing will change...I'll never go back to that store again.