Wednesday, January 27, 2016

all i want (is a couple of days off)

maybe it's due to the recent full moon, but some of my calls this past week have been downright strange. i am really looking forward to having the next couple of nights off from job #1 so i will no longer have to discuss anyone's bowels (was this "national colonoscopy week" and i missed it?)*, try to get across to a person who has me on speakerphone that if they took me off speakerphone while driving with the window down i might actually be able to hear them and not keep asking them to repeat everything, or bite my tongue when patients call in to demand z packs for their colds.

i will devote five minutes of my time off to pondering how my parents were able to successfully raise me without calling the doctor in the middle of the night to ask what to give me for my boogers and cough. (do they no longer make triaminic? the orange kind was actually pretty good.) i will also take a minute to contemplate how a grown, native english speaker did not know the word "affiliate". (this was roughly the amount of time it took me to explain the meaning to them.)

aside from those six minutes, i plan on doing absolutely nothing related to this particular job. it would take away from my other jobs (and, more importantly, the enjoyment of the company of others in a non work-related setting), and that would be just poopy.

*somewhat related: i do not ever, ever, ever, ever want to hear the phrase "go poopy" again. i do not want to hear it when i get around to having kids, and i most certainly do not want to hear it from a gentleman who is probably old enough to be my grandpa. never again.

Monday, January 18, 2016

pride (in the name of love)

in each of the three states i've lived the longest*, mlk day has been handled differently.

in maryland, where my classmates were 90+% black, we prepped for the schools' mlk day festivities for weeks. because of this, i can recite swaths of the "i have a dream" speech and sing along to several civil rights protest songs. ("we shall overcome" has already been stuck in my head for an hour, and shows no signs of abating.)

i remember that it was a huge deal one year at my elementary school when mlk III was scheduled to speak. (he wound up cancelling, and one of dr. king's friends came instead. i wish i could remember what on earth his name was....)

moving to missouri was a bit of a culture shock, as the makeup of the student body in my high school was pretty much the reverse of what i encountered before. i'm sure we had an assembly for mlk day, but i don't recall ever being asked to warble "if i had a hammer".**

that brings me to my current state- south carolina.

what to say about my home for the past 15+ years? ***

of all the states i've lived in, south carolina has probably the most diverse population that i've encountered thus far. most people seem to embrace this fact.

that said, there are still pockets of ignorance around here.

i'm sure some of it can be blamed on upbringing. after all, there were serious issues with desegregation here in the 1970s. (more than once, i've been told things like, "when the schools were integrated, my parents enrolled me in a private school" or, even more alarming to my "outsider" ears, i was once told that the person's parents helped build a new private school "so the white students would have a place to go".)

holy culture shock, batman.

i was amazed when i learned that we did not get the day off at the preschool i worked at for the first five years i lived here. i was even more surprised a couple of years ago, when several of the businesses we answer for at my full time job were closed because of "confederate memorial day". (i finally looked that one up last year- it's a holiday in some states that was apparently created as some sort of "compromise" in order to get mlk day officially recognized****.)

i am pleased to report that, based upon my observations, most people here seem to be colorblind, and i'm sure many will attend some sort of event in honor of dr. king. (the rally downtown is tempting, but if time permits, i'm more likely to swing by one of the 3 sc state parks built by one of the african american units of the civilian conservation corps.) even if you aren't the sort to go out and attend a service, rally, or parade*****, or maybe you don't have the day off or have other obligations, please at least take a moment or two to show a little kindness to your fellow man. i'm pretty sure it's how dr. king would like to be honored.

*the first two don't count. i was in diapers, not school.

**i could probably still get through a couple of verses, if need be.

***aside from, of course, "holy crap! i've been here 15 years?!?!"

****let's go ahead and file this with the other "southern things i don't understand", like the appeal of a food product that turns styrofoamlike when it gets cold, chitlins, and cotillions. *****come on- everybody loves a parade, don't they?