Those charity patients at the hospital where I work have more tattoos than ever and double cell phones, one for each ear. Still they come up to the pharmacy from ER crying a little--or moisture dried below their eyes, streaks of mascara or dust, maybe charcoal from the campfire--from a sprained ankle or a spider bite, needing Vicodin. And getting it. Again. Always. I expect the pain from these sweetly-timed injuries is quite a bit more than a tattoo causes. Are tattoos needle-less now? Oh, and how much do they cost? Just wondering. Must be less than emergency medications, that's why they need charity to pay for the Vicodin.
Berlin Road is awesome for car travel this summer. It begins at the railroad trestle near town and winds into the country for twelve miles until it climbs to Mark's Ridge, where the better offs live. They have a fine view of the back of the Cascades and over the whole valley. (I live down in the valley.) Yet, our county recently closed a library due to lack of funds, and the art and music classes were cut in the school district. Still, out there on Doctor's Drive as Berlin Road is known, the pavement is again this year as in all the years past worked into a smooth strip; constantly trimmed, sanded, manicured--buffed with the wax. No patch jobs over potholes. Just luscious new tarmac suspiciously cushioned.
I was sitting at the bus stop looking at the horizon around 3pm. On the left was Mark's Ridge (I considered what it would be like to live up there) and straight ahead the humped backs of hills. More trees than ever have been cut, and the replants haven't kept the green up. Little kids were coming out of daycare while I waited for my daughter's bus. There were school smells. Bus fumes, sweat, the dryness before it rains soon. Over to the right a square boulder was swathed in extreme red plastic poppies or giant carnations or mutant daisies, viewer's choice. My thoughts skittered off of the reason, but the road has two other memorials. If you die on a road here, you get plastic flowers and sometimes a cross.
Summer was lost today.
This morning there was yelling and internal bleeding in the car as we went to the bus stop. My child has a $60 backpack this year. It is supposed to last two years. Last year there were three backpacks, all about $15 each and only lasting a few weeks each. The workers in the sewing factories are using a thinner thread--to cut costs. We got in the car and I saw that the strap of the expensive backpack was straining with a load of about 50 pounds of history, science and math. Maybe a ream of college-rule was in there too. My objections and cautions about backpack care were met with impudence so then there was shouting. (Does every text have to come home every day? What is happening in our schools, other than the loss of music and art?)
And I read into my future. Read, read, read. Write read. Read it right and write. The Stranger by Albert Camus was less popular with me than As I Lay Dying. I decided to continue with Faulkner and quit with Camus. The question du jour was, will I force feed on Spanish this term, since the college is offering classes at all times hours and places, or wait for a new round of Italian, my true love? Italian showed up for the first time ever in the class schedule--talk about shock on my face--and it's something to wonder if it will show again for winter, since I cannot take it for fall. Dare to dream?
Yesterday my one time great love was spotted in the parking lot having brain sex with a subordinate. This was reported back to me and sadly, the reporter had to leave the scene of spying before observing the conclusion. She was hoping they'd get physical. Body language and facial expressions though were indicative of some serious hotness between man and woman. You are free to go, I say (pray).
Then my final thought for fall's coming is that it's all supposed to look like new every year. The world fresh and coming out orange yellow and brown as if that hasn't happened before. Everyone making plans like everything is smiles and crisp air. Leaves dropping off and "oh, look at that!" But it's not new, how can it be when it comes every year and freezes summer into a hot memory.