Tag Archives: musings

Underneath the Hedges

Hakk-Saul sat down on the bench to tie his shoes.  His throat was sore from a fit of screaming that took place on the drive down to the stadium.  Ordinarily, he went to home games by himself because he liked to clear his head while driving (and listen to music he wasn’t ready to let anyone know he liked).  Today was different; Hakk-Saul did a favor for the defensive coach and gave the team photographer a ride.  There were car troubles and the photographer was on the way.

Hakk-Saul took the usual route of surface streets, an access road, and more surface streets.  Afternoon traffic was beginning to bulge but he was used to it and wasn’t bothered by waiting.  He wasn’t bothered at all until the pine green bread cart of a car sped in front of him and into the turning lane where he was already queuing.  The head coach had been urging Hakk-Saul for half the season to let the anger flow, to let all the rage gush out like lava from an erupted volcano, and to burn everything in its path — he had to protect the quarterback.  Hakk-Saul didn’t like summoning that kind of energy because it seemed insincere.  Besides, he’d forgotten how it felt to be angry.

Seeing that green car behaving in such a ludicrous manner bit into Hakk-Saul’s psyche, though.  There was no room for him to follow the four cars who’d turned before him and yet here was this idiot zipping by as if it was going to make traffic move any faster.  Hakk-Saul waited twenty seconds before turning onto the on-ramp, occupying the space to the right of the green car.  At that point, he’d forgotten the photographer was in the back seat.  Hakk-Saul’s attention was focused solely on that idiot car.  He turned and stared into the childish, grinning face of its passenger and merged into the ramp behind it.

Creeping down the on-ramp half a car-length every couple of minutes, Hakk-Saul changed the music from progressive house to melodies with vocal screeching, heavy percussion, and shrieking guitars.  With dark brown sunglasses resting on his sweaty face, Hakk-Saul glared into the green car’s side mirrors.  He dropped his lower jaw like a draw bridge, bared his teeth, and growled.  In a matter of seconds, his raspy exhalations became a crescendo of an unholy, guttural orchestra.

His hands shook, his face trembled, his heart rate spiked and for the next quarter of a mile, Hakk-Saul thought of nothing but ramming into that car, its occupants tossed around like fish by giants, heads crashing into stone, faces lacerated by cenobites, and limbs torn asunder by enormous spider crabs.  All the while, the photographer was sitting in the back as still and quiet as paint drying on a wall, neither seen nor heard…just barely smelled.

Hakk-Saul’s fury passed on through a few minutes later and he felt calm.  He was still sweaty and annoyed, but all the destructive imagery in his mind’s eye had faded.  He changed lanes as quickly as he could and shot past that green fool at the first opportunity.  And then he shifted his mind onto the team he’d be playing against as well as whether or not he’d be able to tap into that slide-show of physiological combustion when it mattered.

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Today’s post was inspired by true events.

What It’s Like to Be a Police Officer

I started watching Officer401’s YouTube channel a couple of weeks ago.  I don’t remember how I came across it (probably as a related video to those I was watching about encounters between motorcyclists and cops).  This video provides a glimpse into the intangible aspects of enforcing the law.

The true crime, forensic science, and mortuary science books that I’ve read discuss death and decay due to violence or natural causes in great detail, but to hear some of what it’s like to “see” death through the eyes of a law enforcement agent transcends the written word.  Even when I can’t see his face or its shape, it’s just his great narrator’s voice and a hand or two for elaboration, I feel privy to something profound.  I am also reminded that while I can imagine what it would be like to come across a dog hovering around the body of its dead owner or a household of severely malnourished children, I can’t know what it’s like.

I wonder how long it takes to habituate to smells, sights, and textures that one cannot un-smell, un-see, un-touch?  Do people with lousy sensory perception acclimate faster?  I’m sure there are Reddit threads about it.  I found this thread about the stupidest call an officer has ever taken (good read).

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Gotta Do It Right Now

I had lunch at Fuego Mundo today; I ordered the yucca fries and chicken with Spanish rice and cucumber salad.

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It was a busy lunch for the two waitresses bringing out orders and the woman clearing tables.  As I was enjoying the delicious yucca, chicken, and rice, I observed the waitress who was ostensibly single-handedly taking orders, giving checks to respective diners, and distributing dine-in and take-out food.  She moved with the smoothness and briskness of a summer breeze.  I wonder how many miles she walks just between the dining area, the beverage counter, the registers, and the kitchen counter (which is visible to the customers).

As far as I could discern, the other diners were patient in their requests for checks, waters, being seated, and readying to give their orders.  In the last ten minutes I was there, waiting for a to-go box, a bag and the check, I watched this woman handle the momentous demands of things that have to happen now.

In my line of work, even when I have ten emails I need to prioritize to read and answer whilst figuring out why an image isn’t appearing correctly on a web page and app as well as looking for a better image to upload for a different web site and app, the sense of urgency to complete these tasks isn’t so heavy that I can’t focus on what really needs to get done “now” vs. within thirty minutes or before the end of business hours.

This woman’s list of “do now” truly means do now.  If that “now” becomes “in a couple of minutes,” most customers would probably understand.  There’s probably a best practice of order of operations.  For instance, seat new diners, get their drinks out, then check with diners who appear to be finished if they want desert or a box or just the check.  Bring out drinks before orders that are ready?  Deliver additional napkins, silverware, straws, or dipping sauces before you take the food orders of the table you know have been ready for the time it took you to seat another party and take their drink orders?

What other jobs or industries consist of a similar air of do now?  Combat soldiers, paramedics, firefighters, airplane pilots, surgeons, school principals, receptionists, bank tellers, plumbers, electricians, hosts of live TV shows, what else?

What’s the worst that would happen in your profession if you didn’t do something “now” or you focused on the “wrong” sequence of things?

Would an athlete participating in a televised game feel any differently than an athlete in a non-televised competition in the matter of “do it now?”  Or, do the rules of the game mitigate legitimate, adrenaline-inducing urges to score already.

A Sense of Belonging and the Miraculous

When I was washing my hair tonight, my mind wandered to what-if scenarios involving gunshots and holy texts.  Imagine, if you would, a group of friends (or strangers) traveling in one car on the way to an interfaith service.  With their destination just around the bend, they get caught in a crossfire at an intersection between a band of thieves and a few off-duty police officers.  Each of the five inhabitants of that car gets shot.  Legs, arms, torsos, and abdomens get punctured.

Or do they?

Customers at a nearby gas station hear the gunshots and call the paramedics.  After arriving at the emergency room and receiving treatment from the hospital staff, it becomes apparent that even though these individuals were each struck three times, none of the injuries were life-threatening.  Major arteries missed by centimeters, ball-and-sockets missed cleanly, and no reproductive parts were put in disarray.

Imagine the look of disbelief or curiosity on the nurses and doctors’ faces when they summarize the condition of the patients to the patients.  The Buddhist was saved by his Star Trek dvd box set that he clutched against his chest while driving.  The Muslim, sitting shotgun, was saved by the Qur’an leaning against his chest.  The non-denominational Christian was saved by the pocket NIV Bible he kept in his breast pocket.  The Wiccan was saved by an Oxford Dictionary, you guessed it, leaning against her bosom.  The football player was saved by his playbook and his 10,000 Youtube Subscriber award.

Would each person thank their god?  Would each person feel that their surviving is proof that there is a god and that there is only their god?  Or, would they be back to square one wondering that if they all lived, it’s impossible to know which god is “right” and if there really is a god at all? Which holy text is right?  Moreover, the football player puts a variable on things.  Either he made it because he was with deists or because it was a coincidence and his presence somehow negated the certainty that the rest of them had regarding the nature of the Divine.  The Buddhist would probably be the most chill, right?  He’d chalk everything up to the rhythm of life as would the Wiccan.

On the other hand, if this car were filled with atheists and one law-of-attraction practitioner and they were saved by various non-holy texts (a Bluray box set, a cookbook, an iPad, a giant stuffed bear), would they attribute their survival to coincidence? Dumb luck? Or look at the law-of-attractioner for an explanation?

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