Scratchy Glitter

Observations for the easily irritated.

Tag: writing

A Year of Scratchy Glitter

…well, not exactly. The title was inspired by the fact that this will be my 365th post. But, due to my outstanding lack of self-discipline, I don’t post every day. But WHAT IF I DID? Advice to writers always says to “Just write something, even if it’s not any good.” (“But they don’t say, ‘And then publish it,'” they mutter nervously.) And self-help advice in general always says, “Making a public commitment will help you stick with your resolution.” THEREFORE:


–That I intend to post every day for at least the following year. Stop squirming.


–I have given myself the unenviable task of going back through all the previous posts, starting with SG’s inauspicious start back in the mists of February 2013 (I think. Maybe it was 2012.). And each day, I will present an excerpt, or at least a synopsis, of the post for that day. Yes, it’s called cannibalizing my material, and no power on earth can stop me from it.


On Sunday, I tripped and fell on the way home from church, scraping my hand and knee, and sustaining a sizable black bruise on my breast. Also quite a bit of upper-arm pain, since I landed on my elbows. So I have been using the handicapped bus and bathroom facilities (“As you should have been doing all along,” Nick says–see, Nick, I write your retorts for you–you’re welcome), and appreciating the room to maneuver and relative lack of clambering they offer. So before you glare at someone who doesn’t look handicapped….


Last night I was home, after a busy day of fire dispatching dealing with a wind that was determined to kill us all. Since the rain had stopped, we opened windows on the non-wind side to take advantage of temporarily-mild temperatures. After Rom went to bed, it started to rain again, so I closed them. “Well, it isn’t raining against this side of the house,” I thought. “I wonder if it is on the other side? I think I hear it hitting the glass.” In the spirit of idle curiosity (since the window there hadn’t been opened), I went over to look. What I’d heard wasn’t water hitting the window, but the cheery crackle of the fire in the corner of the kitchen.

I did a mental double-take–“Oh, look, the kitchen’s on fire. THE KITCHEN’S ON FIRE!!!” Flames were–well, not shooting out of the back burner, exactly, but leaping enthusiastically.

I ran to wake Rom up, while wondering frantically what we had that we could throw on a grease fire. Rom ran in and half-smothered it with a potholder, half-blew it out. A great deal of smoke resulted, which kept Rom coughing for most of the night, and me wondering, Should we call an ambulance? COPD + smoke inhalation = not good, surely. But the situation was resolved eventually with a further opening of windows.


Your gas stove wants to kill you.


Be Very Quiet

…shhhh….no one has been here since the 22nd. I myself haven’t been here for 2 weeks, although it seems like a lot longer. I guess blog time isn’t the same as time on the outside.


I have decided to self-identify as a writer. In spite of the fact that I only posted twice last month, and haven’t had anything published for money since 1995 (for a publication with a stated circulation of 200), and hadn’t had anything published before then since the early 80’s. Yes, I have been in government service since 1978. But I feel I have the brain of a writer, not to mention the wardrobe of one, so I expect everyone to refer to me as one from now on. {Disclaimer: I stole this idea from the Lucky Old Man, although his version of it is less charmless and peevish than this one.} 


My supervisor has recently reminded us that we can have one ridealong a year! But I would feel disloyal to Nick if I went with someone else, and aren’t you sorry you’re on third shift now, Nick? And that I’m not? More than one person has assured me that I would be ill-advised to go with him. Just look at him–lazing in the sun, rolling on his back, hoping the dazzling splendor of his snowy underparts will distract me from the wealth of claws and teeth he possesses.


First it was mascara designed to make you look like you’re wearing false lashes. But, because that wasn’t stupid enough, they have now come up with, I kid you not, mascara that creates a “sexy tangled look.” By which they mean, clumpy mascara. Yes, we’re now supposed to strive for that. Don’t take my word for it–go see it at CVS. They have an illustration and everything.


The convenience store at Claremont & Ray Becker now has fried chicken!

Time to pay a bill and go to bed.


“I Could Have Died Back There!”

Blue Öyster Cult (album)

Blue Öyster Cult (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have to (well, I don’t have to, but I am nothing if not polite) thank Nick for the subject matter of this post. He is currently at Busch Stadium, and remarked on Facebook that it was hot, and when I hear Busch Stadium and heat mentioned in the same sentence, this story comes to mind. Of course, Nick is just watching a boring ball game, and from the looks of things, getting drunk. (It’s like a game–One of These Guys is Not Drunk. Guess Which One and Win a Prize!) But I had an actual adventure! Of sorts. And involving alcohol, in a roundabout and icky way, as you will see.

Rom and I, in our early days (literally–I think we’d been together a month at most) went to Busch Stadium to see SUPERJAM ’78!! (You have to say it with all-capital letters and multiple exclamation points, just like when you say MID-AMERICA RACEWAY!! THE DRAG-RACING CAPITAL OF MID-AMERICA!!, which I was also at in the even remoter past. Ideally, you should say it with reverb, but I don’t know how to indicate that in print.) We were not actually there to see SUPERJAM ’78!! per se, but to see Blue Oyster Cult, my favorite band in those pre-R.E.M. days. (I’m guessing there aren’t many people who love both of those bands.) I had a stalker sort of fascination with B.O.C., which led to me writing a bad short story about them. And I saw them every time they came to St Louis.

St Louis has the same weather we do here, being in the Lower Midwest (or Mideast, as it should be called, if you just look at a map of the U.S., and when I rule the world I shall make it so) and on a big river. So, since SUPERJAM ’78!! was, I believe, in August, it was broiling hot, except that if you were being broiled, it would be less humid. And we got to sit with the teeming rock & roll masses on the floor? ground? of the stadium, which had been considerately spread with plastic, to protect the astroturf from our happy asses. So…sitting on plastic, blazing sun, being steamed like crabs…all the creature comforts. And to get to our place…we joined a long line threading our way through groups of people to get to a relatively unsettled area. The line stopped suddenly, but we couldn’t see why. It jerked forward intermittently, and then we found out why. Some guy had started drinking early, or just drank his beer to keep from dying of thirst, and passed out in a puddle of puke. So crowded you can’t step around it, so wide you can’t jump over it–and you didn’t want to try, lest you miscalculate, slip and fall right into it. The expression of each person in line as they discovered the situation was priceless. So, yes, I waded through puke to see Blue Oyster Cult. If only I could tell them.

{DIGRESSION: This is one of my two good puke stories. The other: We attended a party where a guy had puked in the gazpacho. The beauty part here is that gazpacho looks like puke anyway, so someone had to be stationed there to warn everyone who came up to the table until they could get it cleared away. [Gazpacho looks like human puke. Burgoo looks like cat puke. You’re welcome!] YES, YOU GET 2 PUKE STORIES FOR THE PRICE OF ONE! You’re welcome again!}

So, we were finally settled in a location free of vomit. Unfortunately, B.O.C. was next-to-last on the bill, and we had to suffer through various acts first, the only one I remember being Eddie Money, and I remember him because he, having stepped right out of air-conditioning, said, “Hey! Bet you all love this warm weather!” and we spoke of rushing the stage and killing him.

But B.O.C. finally came on, and they were supernal as always, and I surged toward the front of the stage, and lost track of Rom, and, well, was not as dutiful about finding him again as I was about being sure I could see the band really well. (Together for a month, and yeah, it’s a feeble excuse.) But he tracked me down, and loudly declaimed that “I could have died back there!” And I was embarrassed, although not as embarrassed as I’d have been if I’d passed out in some puke. And why it seemed to Rom that I was worth staying with in those days (hell, those first few years) is beyond me.

And they all lived happily ever after.

I would like to welcome Officer A.B., having been recommended to him by Nick, and can only hope I meet his expectations. Although I have my doubts, having just gone on at tiresome length about my semi-sleazy past life. And I can’t even say, Well, that’s not typical! Because, you know, it just is.

Repressing the Irrepressible

Remember when I offered helpful tips for officers?

Avoid, when given a run,

Clear, from Barker & Ray Becker,” in huffy annoyed tone. I very nearly answered, “Barker and Ray Becker? I’ve been there quite a bit myself.” And nearly got barred from that convenience store, too.

Anyway, my supervisor and blog-follower muttered, “He didn’t get your memo.” Well, that would be because this blog is not required reading for officers. And shouldn’t it be? Besides being entertaining and informative, it would boost my readership out here in Free Contentland (there’s a good blog title!) by 10x!(Free Contentland is made possible by the fact that writers write because they have to, so you don’t even have to give them money. This is an Inescapable Fact. I know this because I’ve tried to escape it for years.) And I suck (to use a technical term) at self-promotion, so mandatory readership is the only solution.

“But–but” you all are clamoring (or at least I think you are, it might just be voices in my head), “tell us how you almost got barred from a convenience store! You’re so quiet and well-behaved, we can’t imagine such a thing happening!” Well, that would be because the convenience store soda machine at Barker/Becker was ancient and usually  produced flat soft drinks, so I got in the habit of running just a bit into my cup and tasting it to see if it was OK before I would buy it, and they told me to quit that. They did eventually fix it, so shop with confidence.

Memo to the guy in the white pickup at Franklin & St Joe yesterday: Before you floor it to whip around that corner, CHECK TO BE SURE THERE’S NO ONE IN THE CROSSWALK, KTHXBYE! If you had hit me, Nick would have been the investigating officer, and he would have cried.

I haven’t been posting that often lately (see Ideas, Shortage Of). Peaked early, didn’t I? Good thing this isn’t my job! But I have a topic for tomorrow that promises to be entertaining and informative and stuff, so stay tuned!

Pacifying the FanBase

Reckless Driving

Reckless Driving (Photo credit: MyNeChimKi)

Because I am nothing if not considerate (shut up, Nick), here is a brief post before I go to bed. This will keep you all occupied until I write at greater length tomorrow, since a topic occurred to me on my walk home.

–Best Caller of 4/7/13 Award goes to the mother who explained to her 9-year-old daughter that a guinea pig refusing to come out from under something did not, in fact, constitute a 911 emergency.

–Worst Caller of 4/7/13 Award goes to the man who said grimly, “I want to report attempted murder.” Upon questioning, he stated that a guy had run him and another vehicle off the road. No, what you want to report is reckless driving. I would say to save the drama for yo’ mama, but my mother hated drama.

Somebody told me today (well, yesterday–you know, that 4/7/13 thing) that she was glad I have this outlet. I like calling it an outlet, as if, if I couldn’t write, I’d go on a rampage and lay waste to entire cities. Which I wouldn’t, because that would involve travel, and travel is inconvenient. Like cats, I believe inconvenience is a sin.

Rumor Central sez Lisa is applying for the supervisor position. Pass it on! I care not for her reprisal.

It’s My Workplace and I’ll Cry If I Want To

logo …and then they say, “Not anymore.”

The alarm service was yet another of my assorted jobs in my 20’s, after writing work  started drying up. My first job, at 16, was writing, and so was my second. The second job was mostly rewriting press releases, which my boss soon decided he could just as easily do himself, so I was on the loose again, in between my various tries at college. So I started looking for, well, whatever classified ads wanted someone with no skills other than a mediocre bit of typing. Hence the alarm service.

I suspect that, in spite of everything being computerized now (sometimes at the expense of common sense), alarm services today are a lot like they were in the 70’s:

–We alarm monitors, all women, worked in a windowless room, and were given the impression that this was to protect us from the lecherous repairmen, who were strictly forbidden to enter our quarters under any circumstances. It was like being in a harem, except that you didn’t get to have sex with a king.

–Minimum wage. Enough said.

–Rotating shifts–every 6 weeks you’d be on a different one. There is nothing harder on your body than this. Of course, I never found that out personally, because they didn’t keep me that long.

Basically, work consisted of keeping track of businesses opening and closing, with a flurry of phone calls from employees about their alarm going off and they didn’t know why. If a business didn’t open/close at their regular hours, we had to call someone and ask why that was. If an alarm went off and no one called to explain it, we called the police. Our service’s ad said we had “a direct line to the police department.” We did–the same one everyone else called to contact the police in the pre-911 days.

This was not the job I got beaten up at, but I didn’t get along with anyone here, either. I didn’t understand how someone like me who talked so little could annoy so many, but there it is. It must be a gift. I think part of the secret was that they told me they didn’t have a dress code, and I took them at their word and came to work the way I dressed on my days off–in halter tops that were basically a triangle of fabric tied on with four strings. Rom still has pictures of me wearing one shortly after we met, when I was 23. Now I look at it and think, I wore that in an air-conditioned office? I also think, I sure was skinny back then. Anyway, I got reprimanded and my supervisor said, “Just because there’s no dress code doesn’t mean you can wear anything you want.” I’d thought that was exactly what it meant. Of course, leaving something up to my fashion judgement is never a wise idea.

Anyway…my employment came to an end the night of my first storm. A storm at a local alarm service is like one at Dispatch–all the alarms going off, phones ringing constantly. It would not stop, I could not keep up, and I burst into tears.

The next day, they told me they were “letting me go”–interestingly, the same words my high school sweetheart had used when he broke up with me. The reason for my firing was not technically my crying, but that I’d neglected to call back a business when they’d failed to set their alarm. They weren’t broken into, but they could have been!

…I resisted starting a blog for a long time, partly because I thought, Doesn’t every failed writer have a blog these days?, but mostly because I thought, Why would anyone care about someone else’s long boring stories? But no one’s making you read them (until I rule the world, that is), so you could just say you’re letting me go.

The Post Not Written

No, I didn’t post yesterday. Yes, I will post tomorrow (“tomorrow” means after I’ve slept, of course). I have an idea and everything. Nothing like having a work ethic about something that’s not a job. If only I could apply this attitude to household chores.

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