Archives for January 2011

Monday Dare: i hope jail beds are comfortable

Every Monday, I’m picking from the List of Things to Do, Places to Go, Possible Acts that Help, and Possible Fun to Have. It’s a list I made before The Project started, and I’m still adding to it. If you have suggestions, please feel free to throw them my way. I’m calling the list my Monday Dares, as I get overwhelmed just looking at the words “challenge” or “goal.”

This week: Don’t be passive. Don’t be passive-aggressive. Just be aggressive. 

In case there’s been any confusion, I just want to get one thing clear.

I speak English.

I mean, not the real good kind that teachers and parole officers use, but I know enough to get by. Especially at Cracker Barrel. Show me a Cracker Barrel menu, and I will show you a woman who can perfectly pronounce and utilize at least 32 different phrases…as long as they start with with the word “country.”

Never been to Cracker Barrel Old Country Store? That’s okay. Just order the Country Dinner of Country Ham or Country Fried Steak with two Country Vegetables (I would recommend the Country Green Beans). Watching your waist? Then, the Country Chef Salad is right for you. Vegetarian? Then, order the Country Vegetable Platter.

Too bad the woman in line behind me at Bed, Bath & Beyond last week didn’t ask about Cracker Barrel.

Perhaps I was a tad preoccupied with the merchandise near the register while waiting to pay for my humidifier replacement cartridge-
Oh snap, a ring holder shaped like a cat’s tail? Genius!
PedEgg comes in pink now? Oh no they didn’t!
Snuggies for dogs? Hallelujah!

I didn’t hear the woman mumbling behind me. Clearly, this made her angry. She came into my periphery and asked, “Hello, do you speak English? I was asking you a question.”

Staring ahead, I said nothing.

This pissed her off even more. She turned to a woman in the next line and whispered loudly, “I don’t think she speaks English.”

Still, I said nothing.

I said nothing because I hate confrontation. I said nothing because I didn’t have a clever retort. I said nothing because I’ve been teaching Cal to be mindful even when others are behaving badly and to not engage, if possible.

Fuck it. This week, I will speak my mind, even if it leads to a throwdown. Please start saving for my bail. And some band-aids. And some corn nuts. They soothe my soul.
picture via wildemoon shop

saving face

The dog bite scars that run down the side of my face are killing me today. Sometimes, they flare up and throb.
A few months after turning 19, I visited my parents. Already seven months pregnant, I hobbled out to the sunroom to greet our dog, Caesar, with a sausage roll.

When I bent down to give the beast his treat, he completely ignored it, made a running leap for me and sank his teeth into the sides of my face.

In the split second before the panic and pain registered, I had a moment of clarity. If I wanted to protect my baby, I had to drop to the ground as quickly as possible.  I didn’t want to lose my balance and fall on my swollen midsection, so I put one arm in front of my face and wrapped the other one around my stomach.

After inching my way to the ground, I remained head down while screaming at the top of my lungs. The blood gushed from the open wounds and I started to breath in the blood that was pooling below my face. Hearing the screams, my brother rushed out and restrained the dog, while my mom helped me inside.

I didn’t even bother to put on shoes before we drove to an urgent care clinic down the street. Two nurses cleaned me up as much as they could, but urged us to go to a bigger hospital.

I cried during the ride to the hospital. It hurt like hell, but really, I was crying because I didn’t want to look like a freak from the scars.

I guess that’s a nineteen-year-old for you. She can be a pregnant, unwed college dropout, living at her grandmother’s with no money and no car, but when she gets bitten by a dog, all she cares about is her face.

After being admitted into the hospital, we sat and waited. The emergency room doctors didn’t want to stitch up the wounds. They paged the plastic surgeon on call to do the delicate task. We were a sight. A shoeless pregnant girl with her mother and brother, all three spattered with blood.

I’m so grateful for the plastic surgeon who took the time to ask about my pregnancy as he carefully sewed the wounds shut. He dared to ask what kind of life I imagined for my daughter. He offered me kindness and encouragement. Thank you, Dr. Saldana, wherever you are.

They aren’t so noticeable today. After eleven years and numerous laser treatments, the redness has diminished and each mound is less pronounced. At times, like today, when I have a headache or when my hair brushes against the scars, it still hurts. I try to think of it as a reminder of how far I’ve come.