Sunday, December 12, 2010

Some personal triage to end the dilemmas of this decade.

Remember 2008?  It was quite a year.  I was admitted into the local state hospital for gall bladder surgery after they took a week to flush my system of the poisons I had managed to live with before getting in, in the nick of time before I would have crossed from the contamination… mind you… a contamination my body allowed to flood.  Shit.  Ok, so recuperating I became a very enthused supporter of Barack Obama and consequently went into campaign mode for him, reviving a long hiatus from political activism I had been on since … well, days at Cornell.  At the same time, I was suffering the horrible resales downturn affecting my little manufacturing company from the economy beginning to croak under several years of deregulation and corruption ala banking, hedge funding and real estate speculating… you know, the kind where mostly young families are looking to invest quickly and easily into the ages old “American dream”?   Yeah, that downturn about to cough up more banking calamity than you can shake all you have left at.   Ok ok ok.  So I took the only side job actually available that I judged would not wreck me for my own little handmade company but would put me into some significant cash extras.  I drove a cab.  Did you know that it’s the fourth most dangerous job on the whole planet?  I learned that one… not as hard a way as might have, but I learned that.  It had it’s elements of excitement.  Yet, all in all, it was a horrible kind of energy for me to immerse myself in.  Regardless, I did my best with it, long nights, lonely afternoons at the train station… you can imagine the drill.  One night, around midnight, I picked up a very intoxicated woman downtown west Palm Beach on Clematis St and conveyed her a mile away to a pony chic hotel on Belvedere… and I got out of the cab to assist her to the lobby…she began to fall, I caught her and in that moment my back spasm-ed with a deep tear or pull or …. PAIN~!  I could not move.  Had to scream for the bell hop to come get the woman.  Took me at least 10 mins to get back behind the wheel.  Drove to the Dunkin Donuts and told my boss I was gone… home.  Injured.  The old man of the ‘yard’, Matty gave me 5mg Valium.   The news went out over the radio’s and my good friend screeched into the DD parking lot and came over to hand me 6 of those white barred Xanax’s.   Thanks dude!  At least it’s something to help me relax and lay down.  I was injured, no insurance… hey, I’m sure plenty of you get the idea.  I went home, to a white xanax and another half of one and finally fell to sleep. 
8am my taxi radio phone went off and as it was on my headboard I answered it.  In hindsight, I no longer keep any communication devices on my bed… even set the iphone to OFF when I go to sleep.   But on that morning I answered.  The asshole who was the dispatch called at first begged, then told me he’d fire me if I didn’t get out there for a couple of hours to ‘cover’ until someone came on duty.   I thought I needed the money.  Well, I was still nearly paralyzed.  Think back on it… when have you absolutely felt you had to go to work when you knew it was detrimental to your health or worse… put in complete pain?   There I was picking up coffee at Starbucks and was resetting coffee, cigarettes, iphone, cabphone all in the cab as I drove to the first light, getting a green light and not being in the turning lane, but no cars around, I turned from the middle lane onto the next road to get immediately into another lane to turn (essentially making a large small town u turn, and I didn’t see the sheriff pull out to follow me.  He followed me for  city block then road up on my back bumper in that way that you know he’s going to put his lights on and beep you with his siren.  Which he did.  I pulled over, suddenly tensed and back went into overdrive with pain.  I could barely move. 
Now, in my little ibprofen tin (I used an old mints tin to carry vitamins, ibprofen, pills in general, and at that moment was one xanax and a half.  I’m thinking you know where I’m going here.  I had no idea that it was now a felony to have any un-prescribed pill on you.  That's No. 1.   No. 2, I just naturally  tell the truth.  Another crucially bad move.  Just give them your lawyer’s number!   I was not actually DUI.  That was resolved in the video and tox tests that showed conclusively that I was not either.  I ended up being in jail for over 48 hrs.  Til a judge released me with a court date.  It was a pretty shocking experience… but I did manage to hold an impromptu ‘the meaning of flowers’ class in jail to keep a couple of larger women from being really mean to me.   Yes, that can happen.  
But you know the state… And the new DA (not the top dawg, just a gal hired up) was only 6 months in the job (after being downsized from corporate job… which tends to make 30something women pissed off – I learned)… and I learned as I got to court and my PD (remember how broke I am) told me I faced a felony charge (the shock was still freaking me out) while this new DA was planning on asked for a mandatory 30 sentence.  I was stunned.  She told the judge it was a second offense.  I nearly lost my ass… Yes, it were true … back in college I got a DUI on a race weekend in Watkins Glen, NY.  Circa 1978.  This was 2009.  I thought this held a midigating circumstance.  Statute of limitations?   (Un, not when the state can make money off of you!)  But friends and neighbors, what hit me was the idea of a felony being charged against me.  There is no excuse for not understanding or realizing the law… I am guilty of having a xanax and a half on my person.  I didn’t (like a goddamned fool!) try to ditch it (as I was driving a cab, I could have thrown it in the back and disclaimed it reasonably.  But I don’t think that way) and I was guilty.  There were some circumstances but the court is no so interested in that … especially since it’s all about money these days.  I traded down for a first offense DUI (I was going to beat that rap and I’ve consequently found out the DUI adds more money and service to the state / they could say it was first offense but they have made me pay and do second / third offense level school / service / pay / since I had the previous (you remember – 30 years be- fucking –fore?)  Still, on and off with court dates and probation and court costs and the endless pay out meetings classes group therapies etc they sock you into with no forwarning… life has had it’s challenges.  And I’m broke.  Month to month.  For three years now.  I have no car (the leased business car is in my partner's name and I haven't gotten behind a wheel since this) nor way to get around save my sister and good friends.. oh yeah, you do learn where the friends are.  But all of mine have helped where they can.  Still, I’m in a new town (my hometown is a county away and I’m close to my sister and a good friend… but that larger network isn’t there.  I’ve had wonderful support… people have stood by me as they can.  But I haven’t had the where with all the pay the large price of court costs they levied on me… I gave the PO my tax returns so I might get hardship help but the PO did not follow through.  The cost of the DUI school and ongoing costs have been much but I’m pushing through.  The point is not that I have this challenge.  Nothing poor about me except the bank account, which is not the exacting quality of my character.  I am willing to admit my mistakes, do what I can.  Community service?  I’ve got time with 503’s not for profits… but the state doesn’t recognize them yet or they are out of county because they were who I was enabled to work with from home.  And YOU DO have the guilt.  Gee, I’m a criminal.  ESPECIALLY BECAUSE I HAVE NO MONEY.  People will look at you and remark that gee, you’re so smart and college educated and why can’t you get the money?  Find a job from home?  I can’t tell you how that had stricken me, to be accused of less than (?) because I could not manage to  market myself for some part time income as I have struggled, pretty much by myself, to keep a small manufacturing company alive and vital with good intentions and expanding where I could.  I remember the PO saying to me that ‘women’ always seem to ‘get through it’ when I told her I had challenges financially and logistically this year to meet these court probation mandates.  AND the ones they do not tell you about will be there for endless fees and services they never fully represent during the initial legal process but you are expected to fulfill.  Those women ‘who get through it’ are, I’ve learned, generally women who have men paying some bills or all bills and have many avenues of someone else to ‘pick up the slack’.   I do not choose a life like that.  I am a small business woman, on my own, happy to do so… but challenged.  In this economy.  Started out great guns in 2006 with sales and such after nearly twenty years of creating a catalog, unique and with excellent products… yet, only not even two years on the shelf when boom go down economy.  I’ve watched stores and shops and centers in my marketplace fall to the wayside.  Close with out warning… and new ones are opening.  Yet, with all I’ve had to stress …. Scratch that! CHOSEN TO STRESS OVER… I’ve been hanging in there like the kitty cat looking for Friday.  And here it is Friday. 
THIS… is a challenge.   I’ve not completed ‘pay outs’ or community service so I’m told I could get a mandatory 10 days in jail during January or Feb. THAT scares hell outa me.  Monopoly for real?  
Tomorrow I will find some way of filling my day with positive energy and perhaps this writing is my own segway into it.

I have tweeting and blog buddies and neighbor friends who are 99-ers.   They are all pretty devastated by the mechanization's of our government.  The very idea of politics hurts their hearts.  Whatever lies ahead of me in the next few months.... I'll face it with as much good grace as is in me.  I am a healer, a writer, a political activist, a good friend and an American who has voted in every election since I was old enough to.  I took up the cause again in the last Presidential one.  It dovetails honestly into the path I've chosen for my life and I'll continue no matter if I have 'time' on my record.  I hate to think this might happen.  It's about not having court costs.  A few thousand dollars and I'm a criminal for not having it.
You bet I'm an activist.  The first half of my life the taxes I paid were capital gains.  Now I'm walking the other side of the bank account.  And you know what?  There is no difference in who I am.   But I've always known that ... I was raised to understand that you don't judge a book by it's cover.  Money is no qualifier for character. What I think.  Or the color of my blood.  I'm just sans bank account.  But not sans brains.  Or heart.  Wish me luck?  So, I might be absent for a 10 day stretch in Jan or Feb.  I’m trying to get past the fear… and then there is this:

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