Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanksgiving Hangover

I was very fortunate to be able to spend Thanksgiving with my Second Family. My best friend Ted, who has known me for fifteen years and still speaks to me, invited me to join his lovely wife, parents and brother for a Thanksgiving feast.

Everything was rather delicious but I couldn't eat very much, so now I have guilt.

I was also rather proud that I didn't have to lie down on any of their couches due to fatigue.

This is a major holiday coup for me.

What's rather strange is what happened when I returned to my Sparsely Furnished Bachelor Pad.

Stacy Without an E has attempted to be comical by titling his apartment, but in fact, since he started Dialysis, no member of the feminine species has viewed the interior. Save for the landlord. Shudder.)

I was sitting there minding my own business, enjoying the chocolate walnut cookies Ted's Mom had insisted I take (damn tasty) watching "America's Next Top Model" (Neckish Jayla should win) when my doorbell rang.

That would have been ok, but I don't have a doorbell.

I was wearing my favorite pair of colorful boxers and an old worn t-shirt but I didn't care. I continued munching on my cookie as I answered the door.

If I were 100% conscious at the time, it would have bothered me that a Six Foot Tall Turkey was standing in my doorway.

He pushed his way in and knocked me back down to the couch.

Six Foot Tall Turkey turned quickly in my direction and started flapping his wings as his high pitched voice began to lecture me on the meal from earlier in the day.

"How would you like it if I kidnapped you, shoved you in an oven, cooked you for three hours and then served you up to my friends?"

"Wow," I replied, "that's food for thought."

I then darted up and stood right next to Six Foot Tall Turkey. We put our arms around each other and took a small bow.

"End scene," we said in unison.

"That was fantastic Tom. Same time next year?"

"You bet. Next year I'll bring stuffing."

"That's a good one."

"Thank you."

Six Foot Tall Turkey left my apartment with a little extra energy in his step. A low rider Caddy pulled up to my apartment door and the passenger door opened. Inside was Six Foot Tall Turkey's "companion" Big Bird.

"Vegas baby, yeah!"

The tires spun out of control until the tread finally grabbed the pavement.

And then they were gone, feathers and gravy left in their wake.

If the preceding proves anything, it's that you should always ask what's in the Special Cranberry Sauce before consuming.

Thank you and good night.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

7 Minutes of Hell

I waited until 8:12pm on Black Friday to venture out into the shopping mecca known as the Costco Shopping Center to commence my Christmas shopping.

For myself.

Three months ago I lost a dear friend that had been with me during my entire broadcasting career here in Sonoma County.

My Sony headphones died.

I asked the engineer if he could fix the problem. The sound kept cutting out so I couldn't tell what was going over the air when the microphone was open.

I had bought these less than standard headphones at Radio Shack to replace them for the time being.

"Radio Shack" translated to proper English amounts to:

"I bought this piece of crap until I could afford something namebrand that will last longer than it takes me to walk back to my car."

The problem with those, since the actual earphones were smaller than my ears, every time I would open the mic and a song was fading out, I'd get feedback.

Even if I lowered the volume on the headphones, the problem still existed.

My boss would have brought it up, but he never listens to the station.

After a lackluster on-air shift where I spoke of six foot turkeys threatening the entire human population, and made several illicit references to sundresses, I had had enough.

I threw the Radio Shack knockoffs to the aged and stained carpet and then proceeded to jump up and down upon them again and again until all the frustration of the day was spent.

Then I laughed hysterically as the Radio Shack Knockoffs tried desperately to reach up and input their audio jack into the studio board, hoping to produce sound and live for one last moment.

The scissors pretty much took care of that final endeavor.

But this isn't why I'm blogging today.

I'm blogging because I remember why I despise Christmas so very, very much.

People are frickin' sheepish idiots.

Allow me to explain...

I waited until after 8pm because I figured most of the shoppers would have gone home and devoured some more turkey.

Dopey me.

If I had parked any farther from the entrance to Best Buy, I would have been home.

Before the sliding glass doors even parted I could feel the bass burrow itself under my skin.

This was not going to be pleasant.

I knew exactly what I was looking for, so I headed straight for the headphone section. I've been purchasing the same headphones from Sony since I began my radio career in the mid-90's, so I was hoping to find them, purchase them and get the hell out of there.

Not so simple.

Fortunately I'm thin, so I can weave in and out of human traffic with a few simple "excuse me's" and "pardon me's" and I'm home free.

Except today.

--- Two six year olds carrying what looked to be CD door's to portable stereo system's sped by underfoot laughing and giggling.

--- A rather sweaty obese man wearing a wife beater t-shirt wondered aloud to no one in particular where the DVD porn section was.

--- A rather frazzled soccer Mom was nearly in tears because her sons wouldn't listen as she insisted they stop playing Killey Willey 3.

I made it nearly unscathed until I reached the headphone section. This is when I was introduced to Bad Ass Gang Member #37.

Bad Ass Gang Member #37 was looking over the stereo receivers as I tried to find my new headphones. He started to walk away, passing me as he started to exit the aisle.

"Yo bro, you bumped me."

"Excuse me."

"You bumped me bro. You gonna fuckin' apologize?"

He got right up in my face as he said this. He smelled of cigarettes and cheap beer.

This is where my years of growing up in Stockton, the Official Armpit of California, comes in handy.

I locked eyes with him, but I didn't get angry or upset.

Looking away denotes fear. Fear equals weakness. Weakness will get you whacked.

"Listen man, I was over here looking at headphones. You walked by. That's all that happened."

I tilted my head forward slightly, but kept his gaze.

This usually makes me more imposing, even though I'm tipping the scales at 122 these days.

"Hey puto, don't you know who I am? I'm trouble with a capital fuck."

As he approached the phrase "...fuck with me" he lifted the front of his shirt to expose his piece.

The following are what I WANTED to say:

"I didn't know they sold those here."

"You wouldn't be a Coddingtown peep would you? You look familiar."

"Mine's bigger."

"I'm a dialysis patient. You'd be doing me a favor."

My Internal Censor was working overdrive pulling on the back of my tongue to prohibit it from uttering any of the above phrases.

Fortunately I'm in radio, because my Internal Censor is well developed.

That probably saved me from a good pistol whipping.

Eventually he started to relax his shoulders and backed away from my face a few inches.

"I thought so motherfucker."

He walked away using his Bad Ass Gang Member #37 walk.

As I stepped from the doors with my brand new headphones, I realized that Dialysis has given me a gift I didn't even realize I had opened.

I have no fear.

That's a very satisfying, yet very dangerous place to be.

But I'm ok with that.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Ying and Yang of Dialysis

I often wonder why those who work at my Dialysis clinic hate me so.

Or more specifically, why they become so angry when my session doesn't run so smoothly.

Monday was miserable. I somehow managed to weigh myself down with 5kg of fluid.

(For those of you taking notes, that's about 3kg more than usual. Thank you for playing along.)

Sometimes, especially on the weekend, I get incredibly thirsty and can't cease ingesting fluids.

At the time, it feels great and quenches a desire.

But then with anything we enjoy, there are consequences.

Which leads us back to Monday's miserable session.

Two and a half hours in I could feel my entire body rise in temperature. I couldn't breathe. I felt the need to suddenly, and without warning, jump out of my skin.

Now here's the tricky part: trying to get someone to give a damn.

Usually when I'm suffering, I don't scream out obscenities in order to get what I want.

But they sure do escape my lips when no one's paying attention to me.

I finally managed to get someone to notice. Her tone was dripping with all-American, run-of-the-mill indifference.

"Do you want me to get someone for you Stacy?"

No eye contact. No emotion in her voice. She continued to take notes on another patient's machine while my vision started to black out.

Just as my eyes were turning back into my head and my skin was nearly melted away, Neckish Blonde Tech (not her real name) returned and stopped the machine from stealing my sanity.

I can't help feeling it's my fault every time something like this occurs, but my body reacts how it sees fit to help me survive.

I'm sorry if my health makes you grouchy, but it can't be helped.

What I find most interesting is that ever since I changed to the day shift, I notice none of the tech's I used to work with on the night shift ever say hello.

I've always believed that people who work in the medical industry do so due to an incurable desire to help others.

I realize now that it's just a job to most of these people and that I'm simply another annoying customer.

"May I help you?"

Apparently not.