After watching the psychological whirlpool that the Watertown hostages experienced with courage, confidence and determination to overcome, my children are no longer allowed to whine about safety check lockdowns being bo-o-oring.
Archive for people
Earlier this week, The Colbert Report’s guest was Paola Antonelli, MoMA’s Senior Curator of Architecture and Design. The interview was to talk about the Applied Design Exhibit. She talked about something that caused Internet buzz more than a year ago. Massoud Hassani’s Mine Kafon is brilliant, tragic, beautiful and haunting. Mine Kafon makes tears roll down your face while you smile. It is functional art. Not everything that someone declares art is easily understood. This is art.
Art is… feelings that you can *touch.
*Museums define art differently. They don’t even let you touch the wall.
I am posting this information any and everywhere I can. My brother was a Georgia Tann baby. The documents from the state of TN say that he was born Raymond Lewis Bradley on Sept. 14, 1947 at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, TN to a Vera Bradley of Chattanooga, TN or Sprata, TN and Cecil Cruse of Jamestown, TN or Detroit, MI. He supposedly was surrendered for adoption at the Florence Crittenden Home. Another document says that he was surrendered at the Vine Street Orphanage. Supposedly there are other relatives: Grandparents Everett and Callie Bradley, Uncles Bethel Bradley and James Bradley, and an unnamed male sibling that is 6 years older, all from the Chattanooga area. If this matches any information for anyone searching for a stolen baby boy, please feel free to email me at the email address listed. Thank you, Ayn Maddox
The weekends are the only time that I can get out of the house, but Saturday mornings all the children are home so, Saturday mornings are spent at home, surrounded by family. Late Saturday afternoons, we head out for adventures. This adventure began in one of my favorite places, Hippie Holler. Although serious decluttering will begin January 2013, I’ve already sorted several decades of leftover school project supplies into boxes and buckets for friends. The bucket with yarn and fabric needed to be delivered to Hippie Holler. There, the remains of the yarn that we wasted gluing to shoeboxes and posterboard would be transformed into useful things, like blankets. Although the best thing about Hippie Holler is the beautiful people that live there, the second best thing is their upcycling lifestyle. I wish that I could spend an entire day documenting the whimsically enchanting community. I never get more than a dozen pictures clicked before creating a ripple in their calm. “What agency do you work for?”
I hate the constant harassment that codes gives people who transform things headed for the landfill into homes and a community. People like Rollo, Michael Reynolds and Dan Phillips can’t afford the SuperPac it would take to rewrite the codes and rules for homes made largely from reclaimed supplies. That must change.
The next few stops went from the weekly restocking of laundry and dish soap, to purchasing the first Christmas gift of the season. Christmas is the source of much stress and anxiety right now and it’s compounded by a headache and sore throat that have been slowing me down for the past two days. Doug decided that food would make me feel better, so we went to our favorite date night spot for half price sushi. Unfortunately for us, our spot was completely booked for a private party. Doug turned down my suggestion that we skip our weekly restaurant treat and announced that I would be trying a new restaurant.
We attributed being seated in the lounge instead of the main area to our casual clothing. The lounge area music was slightly too loud and a toddler in the room squealed and yelled a steady stream of happy noises. The waiter was practically bouncing off the walls with perkiness. As the food arrived, we heard a commotion in the main area of the restaurant. I could see a line of employees moving toward one location and wrote the noise off as some bizarre variation on the birthday song. I took a few bites and the commotion got louder. Even with the screeching toddler and the loud music, it was clear that someone was definitely screaming. As Doug and I turned toward the source of the activity, a waitress ran to the bar and shakily asked, “Does anyone know CPR?” Doug looked at me and I said, “GO!”
I didn’t even know the name of the restaurant. I walked to where Doug was standing over the two men working on the fallen man. A crowd of people stood beyond that ring. Like orbits of participation, the people shouting “save him” were outside the ring of people shouting numbers, who were outside the ring of people consisting of Doug and the other hands on helpers. It was a solar system of helplessness.
Maybe we should keep a pile of sheets in the corner of every room so that people without the skills to help, can tear strips, like hysterical bystanders in a movie birthing scene.
Three employees dragged the fallen man’s screaming female companion outside. The employees were crying silently. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized the employees were all barely in their twenties. Their enthusiastic restaurant skills were useless in this scenario. In my mind, only an AED could bring this man back. I know the odds without one. I stepped outside and looked around. The dark unoccupied bank across the street had an AED. I was certain of it. The only other place that might was the nearby Krispy Kreme. Before I could even ponder the time it would take to run there, I heard a laugh. A large group seated in the lounge area was oblivious to the human tragedy occurring a few feet from where they ate and told funny stories. In the far distance, I heard a siren.
I ran inside the room and began shoving tables and chairs out of the area around the still, silent man as I heard Doug yelling, “Don’t stop!” Everyone in the room was frozen, listening to the siren getting louder and silently begging the emergency workers to move faster. The room seemed to sway and an unwanted song played in my head as the three men trying to help shouted and worked rhythmically together, as if they were the engine on a sinking ship. The first paramedic walked in and gently pushed the head of the man looking up from rescue breaths so that he would resume forcing air. I walked back to my table.
Doug sat down silently and we stared at our plates. The toddler was still shouting. The clueless party continued laughing. We paid our check and left. Everyone in the main room quietly left with us. The ambulance remained. The paramedics quietly and slowly went through their required duties. The lack of urgency was sobering.
My headache cranked to eleven instantly. Unlike the migraines that I have had my entire life, this time it felt as though my eyes were going to pop like balloons. I got in bed, put a pillow over my head and fought against the scene that kept replaying in my head. I was in the bed for twelve hours, but I barely slept. Today feels dull and thick. We aren’t talking about the Christmas shopping that we were supposed to get done this weekend. We are just breathing in and breathing out.
Because we can.
I’m not going to tell the story of where I was or what I was doing eleven years ago. I’ve told the story enough. It doesn’t matter to anyone but me what I was doing. Stop asking. If you need stories, re-read the stories from the people who lost loved ones, from the people who stood in the clouds of concrete, from the people who walked into the burning buildings and the people who walked miles to get home while their loved ones waited and hoped. Those stories are written in tears. If someone wants to re-tell their story, they will do so without you asking.
It is impossible to forget what happened eleven years ago. The emotions are always just beneath the surface and every image from that day makes the tears fall again. Every single ‘never forget’ on fb, Twitter and Tumblr makes me want to stand in my yard and scream, “I want to forget those feelings. I want this to be something taught in history class and not the one memory that never, ever goes away.” But, I don’t.
Everyone has their own way of living with the grief of 9/11. Watch the videos. Change your avatar. Post ‘Never forget’ on every social media site. Do whatever helps you live with the horror. I draw the line at the people and professional media who spent today attacking others for not expressing their pain, for expressing their pain without using specific words, for daring to suggest that the day be remembered in a way other than someone else’s way or for posting pictures of fluffy kitties all day. Everyone hurts. Talk to the people who want to talk and leave others alone.
I wish today was a day to celebrate fire fighters and police officers. I love the schools, churches and businesses that have made today a day to volunteer in their communities.
I can’t change the past. I don’t want to relive it one day a year. I want America to do what it does best. Be resilient.
Unfamiliar number: Yo
Unfamiliar number: Hah what’s good man
Me: I am not a man and that’s good.
Unfamiliar number: What?
Unfamiliar number: Ah f*ck it
Me: Try again with the correct number.
Unfamiliar number: Theres the problem My bad
Me: No worries. Good luck.
When the topic of conversation at the neighborhood swimming pool is:
“Bicyclists deserve to be run over when they ride on streets.” Nobody wants to hear a single thought about alternative transportation, the environment, physical fitness or bike paths. Any attempts to have such a discussion will kill the conversation and get your face melted off by angry glares. So, when the topic changes to:
“Everything that is wrong in this world can be traced back to women entering the workforce.” It is wise to do nothing but grimace and shrug. They will recognize that you disagree, but they will be thrilled not to hear anything contrary to their world view. However, when the topic becomes:
“The only education children need is reading, writing and arithmetic taught at home. Then, the boys can learn trades in the military and the girls can be good wives and mothers.” This is the sign that it is time to leave the neighborhood pool and go home.
When I see a grown adult having a temper tantrum, I imagine them as the Hulk or Torch or perhaps, Donald Duck. As soon as I find the right cartoon character for that particular angry outburst, I smile. When I smile during someone’s rage fit, it makes them even angrier. and funnier.
I stood in line to pay for a chunk of plastic. Technically, it was a seat for the zipline, but if you looked at it, you saw a blue piece of plastic. There was only one register open and several people were in line behind me. Two of those people had very unhappy little people weeping in the baby seats of their shopping carts. Actually, one was a standing, screaming toddler being wrestled back into the seat, but you get the idea. We’ve all been there.
Clerk: ” Would you like to buy some batteries?”
Me: “No thank you.”
Clerk: “Would you like to purchase the extended warranty?”
Me: “No thank you.”
Clerk: “Would you like to join our shopper reward program?”
Clerk: “It only takes a few minutes to register for it.”
Me: “Please take my money and let me leave.”
I understand that retail stores are in business to sell things. In addition to those upselling training videos, there needs to be a common sense video. Moms and children who have miserable shopping experiences are not going to be return customers. Moms with wailing children who get a sympathetic clerk expediting their check-out will be return customers.
Besides, nobody needs an extended warranty for a chunk of plastic.
Every election day, I go to my community polling place to vote. I know with complete certainty that the workers have diverse political viewpoints, but not because we talk about it in that setting. One of the workers always recognizes me and asks about the children. While standing in line, most of us joke about food, weather, pop culture, and everything except politics. Somewhere in the line is one of my neighbors. My children play with classmates whose parents are waiting their turn to vote. Before I leave the building, I always see school administration keeping a quiet eye on the voting activity in their facility. Voting is a pleasant gathering of the members of my real-life community.
On this year’s Super Tuesday, the exceptions to the rule were out and about.
While most of us made sure to wear nothing political, avoid political chatter, read the sample ballot before entering the voting area, and have our ID ready, some people arrived ready to express dissatisfaction with anything and everything. An older woman accused the young man sitting at the registration table of trying to steal her social security number. Someone else lectured the worker because he didn’t like the check boxes asking if voters want an R or D ballot. One person in line complained that she shouldn’t have to wait, because she “has a life.” A woman shrieked that poll workers don’t deserve to get paid for making her wait in line and then she went to the workers’ break area and ate a worker’s lunch.
I don’t know if the disgruntled voters were really distressed because they didn’t like the choices on the ballot, hate that the machines have dials instead of a touch screen, or just had low blood sugar from skipping breakfast. I know for certain that the rest of us were merrily enjoying the privilege and responsibility to vote while the poll workers politely accepted the abuse that they did not deserve. Are the workers adults capable of coping with difficult people? Yes. Are people allowed to behave like that at the polls? Yes. Does that make it right? No. Just because you CAN be a jerk to employees at the polls, or anywhere else, doesn’t mean you SHOULD take your issues out on them.
One man offered a photocopy of his license as his ID. When the poll worker recited the acceptable forms of ID, the man calmly pulled his license from his pocket. He wanted to better understand the new ID law and he did so without being rude or creating a scene. If he had skipped his breakfast, maybe he would have taken his disapproval of the ID law out on the poll worker. The poll worker would not have argued. The poll worker would only call the police and a giant fuss could have interrupted everyone else’s ability to vote. It would have accomplished nothing.
While the viral video of the TN soldier, who has an acceptable military ID if he shops in the Commissary, was an obvious planned protest of the voter ID law, the poll worker he harangued really did NOT deserve that abuse. That behavior should have been saved for the halls of the elected Tennessee officials. Should the workers quit to protest the new ID law or something else that elected officials have concocted to fix problems that don’t exist? Only if they don’t want to work the polls in the future. Working at the polls is more than a job. It is an important part of the election process. Don’t make the workers feel as miserable as you feel. Let their sense of pride and pleasure in being a voter melt your icicles.