Ten people go into a room and only two people are going to come out.
I did not walk into the room voluntarily. None of us did. I am not sure how friendly I want to be with anyone else in the room because we entered as strangers and I already know eight of these people are not coming out. I already know enough dead people. The cost I will pay for not getting to know the other people is that I might miss the chance to learn something from any of them that might help me be one of the two to survive. There also could be some kind of a miracle and we all beat the percentages of survival that we were given upon entry. That survival percentage is for just 5 years. After reaching the 5 year exit door, I will be in another room and will learn what the survival rate is when I get to that point. For now, I am going to focus my fight on this room.
We are not fighting against each other. We are all fighting a common enemy. Cancer. Specifically, adenocarcinoma. Cancer in the esophagus.
It might be helpful to speak to people who have beaten this, but every one of us has our own struggle with our own variables. Where the cancer is and how far it has spread. What physical condition we entered into the fight with.
Odds are 20% for victory. I should be dead already, so many different times and from so many different ways, that I fully expect to survive this too. I will also help anyone else in the room with me if I can, but I do not anticipate that I will be able to. We are all on our own.
I often have this recurring dream
You are gone
I am in a big empty house
I am waiting for you to come home
The house has many empty rooms
Everyone is gone
All I can do is wait
You never come home
I am forever alone
One morning I woke and found you
Sitting at our kitchen table
Looking like you were grieving
I asked you what was wrong
You told me you were leaving
I was too young when this happened to remember the incident but the story was told repeatedly for years and years afterwards.
My family was at the home of someone else when “Young Me” received a gift called the “Horrible Hamilton” toy. It was a toy that when the string was pulled, the arms and legs would move and it would crawl along the floor. Young Me had a different idea of what it could do and I tossed Hamilton into the Christmas tree. Hamilton tore the tree apart, sending Christmas ornaments shattering to the ground with its robotic motion as the adults in the room yelled in shock. I was only about 3 or 4 years old, so I do not think I meant to create the chaos but was just curious if it could climb a tree. OR, I could have been surprised when it started moving and just tossed it away and the tree had the misfortune of being in the direction I was facing. Whatever. It became one of the Classic Christmas stories for our family.
I found Hamilton on Youtube. I never saw the toy again so at least now I know what it looked like.
What am I doing for the Thanksgiving holiday? I will be following the traditional Thanksgiving meal that I have repeated nearly every year for about 20 years now. I will be having a turkey sandwich from Dunkin Donuts. I have to work that night.
My overnight shift starts Thursday night, which my job considers as the beginning of Friday. This completely ruins the Thanksgiving holiday for me. My job gives me off the night before, Wednesday. It considers Wednesday as the “Holiday”.
It gets worse. If I was one of the lucky few who were able to get the holiday week off, our work week starts on Friday night for Saturday. No one is starting to celebrate Thanksgiving on the Friday before Thanksgiving, 6 days in advance. We would all want to be off Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday so that we could visit our relatives like a “Normal” person does. I suppose my co-workers who were lucky enough to get the “Holiday” off this year could be the hosts and have everyone come visit them and then they could send them all home so they could sleep Friday and work Friday night. One year I did take off 2 weeks so that I could have the “TRUE” holiday weekend. I had to use 10 days of vacation time when I only needed 4 of them. You would think that my job would make an exception to there “WEEK” rule for this one week of the year, but not my job. Everything is “By the Book”
I still have many things to be thankful for and I will celebrate them, alone with my sandwich from Dunkin Donuts.
The dream that had me waking up in a bad mood troubled me for days after that too. In the dream, I was knocked out by a blow that I did not see coming. I was not as upset about being knocked out as I was by the not knowing.
My radio alarm block needed to be replaced because the buttons on it sunk into the body of the clock after too many times from being pushed.
My room mate had an alarm clock that she was no longer using so I graciously accepted the offer and saved myself a few dollars.
For most people that would be the end of this story but nothing is ever easy in my life and the alarm clock frustrated me immediately after I plugged it in. You would think that adjusting the time and setting the alarm would be easy things to figure out how to do on an alarm clock, but not this thing. Since the previous owner was not around to help me, I had to figure out how to do this by myself. On the front of the box were buttons for turning the alarm on and off, a “Snooze” button and a button for adjusting the brightness of the display of the digital numbers. Those 3 buttons and nothing more. On the top of the box was a button to choose between radio or alarm sound, and only and up and down button to adjust numbers. After a few minutes I learned that by holding down the “Radio or Alarm” button that I was able to set the timer. Now all I had to do was figure out how to correctly set the time.
I pushed buttons down and held them. I pushed two and three buttons down at the same time. I rotated the stupid alarm clock around in my hands over and over again, screaming obscenities and looking for a hidden button. This went on for 45 minutes. The manufacturer of this ALARM CLOCK had given super low priority to the function of setting the time on the clock, which is something that should never have been this hard to figure out. They were more concerned with adjusting the brightness of the digital display, which had a big button right in the front. Finally, I found a very small button, the same color as the body of the clock, located directly under the power cord. Holding this button down was the trick to setting the clock. Why? Why would anyone build the alarm clock in such a way?
After setting the clock, I tossed and turned in bed unable to fall asleep for another 45 minutes while my rage subsided.
There were only three things that I needed to buy at the supermarket and what should have been a quick in and out was thwarted by the supermarket having moved the place where they keep the peanut butter. For several years, maybe even decades, the peanut butter and the jelly were in the aisle with the bread which makes perfect sense. Not too long ago, someone moved it to the aisle where the hard peanuts are, which kind of made sense but they moved the jelly there too. Following that same logic, the jelly should be in the fruit section. Now, the peanut butter was missing once again. The first place I looked was the first place it ever was, and the best place for it, by the bread. After wandering around, up and down many aisles, I found it in the aisle where they keep the bags of snacks. Why was it there?
While searching for the peanut butter I approached a guy stocking some shelves and agitatedly said “I am losing my mind. Where did you put the peanut butter?” He gave me a confused and frightened look, which is when I realized that he did not work there. In my own defense, he was standing next to a skid of boxes with two cans in his hands so I thought he was stocking the shelves while I guess he was trying to decide which can he was holding was the freshest or something like that.
From his point of view, he was trying to buy something and a crazy guy rushed towards him, claming to be losing his mind and demanding peanut butter.
I immediately felt sorry for what I had done and tried to explain to him that I had mistaken him for a store clerk, but he was visibly frightened of me. I can not blame him. I would have been in a defensive stance and ready for a fight if someone did to me what I had just done to him.
On the positive side of the experience, both of us had a story to share with our friends although he is probably not as amused about it as I am. I am also not taking any of the blame because the supermarket should keep the peanut butter with the bread where it belongs.
My room mate was curled up on the couch when I came home, suffering from stomach trouble. She thought it might have been food poisoning from the pizza and buffalo style chicken wings that she had eaten for dinner. There were three slices of the pizza left over.
How much do I like the pizza, with the shrimp and garlic toppings? I like it enough that I took the gamble that it was not the pizza that poisoned her but that it was either the wings or just a virus and I ate those three slices.
This I think would make a good advertisement for their pizza.
The past couple of weeks my MOTOROLA DROID “Smart” phone has been giving me trouble until yesterday when it finally did nothing but act “Stupid” and became useless. It knew it was plugged in to a charger but would not charge up. It knew it was plugged into my computer but would not let me transfer files. Before it stopped altogether it played with my patience these past couple of weeks by working sometimes or working when I jiggled with the cable or took the plug in and out a few times.
I am suspicious that this problem started shortly after they installed a SYSTEM UPDATE but I am not entirely sure. For sure, the problem started shortly after the 1 year warranty expired.
The “Insurance” that I had on the phone was a waste of money and provided only a false sense of security because I discovered that this was just a scam when I went to the store to have my phone fixed or replaced. The insurance covered repairs after my deductible expense, which is $40, and I have to mail the phone somewhere and wait for it to be fixed and mailed back. While I am waiting, I will be without a phone. Instead, my only other choice was to buy out the remaining balance of the dead phone and get a new one. That cost me a few hundred dollars plus the tax on the new phone had to be paid up front which was another hundred dollars. The sales clerk gave me a few minutes to make my “Choice” of these two miserable options. The only other choice was to walk out of the store and keep paying for service that I am locked into for the next several months on a dead phone.
My new phone is a Samsung, which are the ones that were in the news recently for exploding when they get too hot. If it does not explode, I am hoping that it will at least continue to work for the complete 2 years of the service contract that I signed up for.
Every night the same routine, over and over again, with very little variation. This is my life. I stop on my way to work and get coffee at the same place. They know my order and we do not have to even speak.
Tonight was different.
My town has a few vagrants and one of them was in the coffee shop, sitting by himself. He was ranting and raving, loudly and to no one in particular. He is normally not like this, so I am guessing that he was off his medication or having a bad reaction to a new one. He did not seem drunk, just out of his mind. I know most of the vagrants in my town on a nodding as hello relationship. I keep strange hours and I am waiting at the bus/train station where they will often be able to rest unmolested by law enforcement. Some nights, like tonight, they will sit in the coffee shop. The workers in the coffee shop tolerate them but not when they are ranting and raving. I only saw one worker, and he was visibly distressed by what was happening. I placed my order and while he prepared it I attempted to calm the lunatic down.
He did not recognize me and I interrupted his stream of consciousness angry rant by agreeing with him that Coca Cola was indeed superior to Pepsi Cola but I infuriated him by suggesting that coffee or water is a preferable beverage. I am a terrible peace maker. His love of Coca Cola was deep enough that he got up from his seat yelling “Those are fighting words” and I fully expected him to fight for his right to drink it. He actually poked me in the chest. I looked at his finger, looked him in the eye and asked him “Really?” I joked that this would make a great hidden camera television commercial. Our argument cooled down when I explained to him that I can see the future, and the night was not going to end well for him if he continued on the path that he was on. He even apologized for poking me.
I understand his anger. The feeling like no one cares. People passing him by on their way to wherever they are going and doing their best to pretend to not notice him. The anger that builds up inside until it feels like your heart or your brain is about to explode. I care about him. I do not want the coffee shop worker to call the police. I want for the night to be more pleasant for him than that. I think he knows that now. At least, I hope so. I hope that after I left he did not go right back to yelling into the darkness.
I had a mail processing machine that I had to run or I would have stayed.