So I arrive to work with a memo saying they (the admin) are auditing my time cards. Now some background. Prior to me enrolling in Fall Semester I met with my boss and asked her if I could come in early to work so I could comp out some of my school time instead of using vacation. My boss was good with the arrangement so I signed up for my courses. Started my classes on Aug 27 (should be noted that I did the same thing through summer semester as well). Well today her boss, we’ll call him admin, wanted to know why she was allowing me to “manipulate” the schedule. Well. . . we do it for everyone else is what I wanted her to say, but instead she said she didn’t see a problem with it. Admin reiterated that he didn’t think it appropriate to make those accommodations. Fine with me, but just tell me what it is you want and let me move on. I mean, I did this whole process proper, yet I’m the one sitting in an office. Does that mean when I clear something with my boss I need Admin’s ok too? (ummmm chain of command anyone?) Quite to my surprise I wasn’t pissed, I wasn’t bitter I just wanted a resolution. Frustration did creep in and tears fell from my big brown eyes due to it, but I wasn’t angry like I have been in the past. The meeting ended with Admin saying he’s have a recommendation by next week. He did say that during the audit he wasn’t concerned about me “taking time” from the county, but he was concerned that my boss was allowing me to manipulate. Whatever.
So the shift in perspective you might ask? As I pulled up in my driveway, battered and beaten down by my day, I saw a cop car parked across the street. Within moments here come a Paramedic and a fire engine to my neighbors house. Now this neighbor isn’t your typical neighbor, this is Scott and Scott is, well . . peculiar. He has cameras all around his house, he hates the government and loves the hell out of his dog. When I first moved in I was somewhat leary of Scott, as he seemed anti-social. He also hated dogs (he hadn’t gotten Suki yet).
We moved into our house in 01-2007. We didn’t see him much, but the cameras facing our house bothered us. In early spring, I was in the front yard doing yard work. My sisters husband stopped by to help me out and while parked on my curb he got a flat. Now I’m not the typical tough and rumble kinda lesbian, so I was at a loss of what we should do. Scott, to my amazement, came over to help us with an air compressor. It’s the first time we spoke to one another. He was pleasant and very mellow. He was kind. A few weeks passed and he stopped by the house to give me some fresh cut roses from his garden. Being the shitty neighbor I am, the vase still sits in my house filled with good intentions of returning it with Lillies (my favorite). Scott and I formed an unusual relationship, always filled with compassion when we would see each other. One time, at the smoke shop, we ran into each other. Scott had a Vietnam Veteran’s hat on. Without saying a word I hugged him. At first he was aloof, but soon enough he put his arms around me. He said, “why’d you do that?” I told him, though I was young or perhaps not even born when he served in Vietnam I wanted him to know that I appreciated all that he must have went through to make sure I slept safe at night. He looked and me and said, “your wise beyond your years young one.” I saw Scott a few more times throughout this summer, tinkering around in his yard. He never had many visitors and he lives alone.
So back to tonight, I see all the chaos going on and know that Scott would want someone to take care of Suki. She truly is his partner in life. I head across the street, still in uniform, and enter his home. The Paramedics had just made it in before me. I explain that I am a neighbor and wanted to know if they had contacted anyone to take care of his dog. Scott is in his chair, and he still has color and he is saying that he is going to pass out. I ask the Paramedic if they know what is going on and he tells me that they think his liver is failing. I see the cop across the room and I wind my way through his house to speak with Mr. OPD. As I pass his bathroom I notice that blood is everywhere. Scott is not doing well and I know it. I come up behind Mr. OPD, tell him I’m behind him so I don’t get shot, and explain I’m a neighbor and ask if he needs help finding family. He affirms that he does, so I find his cell phone. Just then, Suki, the quiet little Dobi, let’s out a howl (not typical behavior at all!) and I look up in time to see Scott slowly slip into death’s doorway. He is the color of ash, not breathing and the Paramedic announces that he can’t find a pulse. Now I’ve seen people die before, but I don’t know them on a personal level, and this one was freaking out my mind. I kept my wits about me and was determined to find Scott’s family. I began looking at pictures on his mantle, trying to block out that Scott is getting tubes shoved down his throat, that his stomach is 5 times larger than normal, and a man is straddled across his chest giving compressions. I find a picture of a little girl from sometime in the Seventies. The name Nicole M. is on the back. Instantly I know this is his daughter. I pick up his phone and Nicole is the first listing of the seven programmed in his phone. I tell the cop that I have found his next of kin. She has to be about my age. The paramedic on the gurny announces that they have to leave NOW or he’ll die on the way. They begin picking up all their bags full of nothing that is going to save Scott and shuffle out the door. I’m left standing there not knowing what has become of Scott. The cop is on the phone with a distraught daughter and I’m standing there with his house keys in my hands. I wanted to take Suki with me, I KNOW she is missing him already, but instead the cop asks me to leave her outside and his daughter will be by later to get her. Well how later is what I wanted to ask, but all I could eek out with some dignity was, “ok.” I left the house, walked across the street and couldn’t help but think this is one FUCKED up day.
I entered my warm house to be greeted by 3 smiley kids and one sexy girlfriend who kissed me right as I walked through the door. I looked at all of them and wanted to bawl, but my kids were asking questions about the neighbor. Wyatt asked if he was ok. I told him he wasn’t doing well that his liver was failing. Wyatt asked if he could die from it and I told him the truth . . that he might indeed die. Wyatt, in full innocence, says, “but he’s such a nice guy mommy.” I kept it together and told him, your right sweetie he is.
As I tucked my kids into bed I couldn’t help be realize how damn lucky I really am. I have a job, I have health, I have a kickin family, I have friends. . truly I have it all. And so what if I have to withdraw from my courses, does it really change life? Does it really take me from what I love?
So an hour after all the chaos I sit and type, because I’m afraid if I don’t I’ll explode, push aside emotions that will creep up later and just not be so well adjusted. I don’t know if neighbor is dead or alive, but I want him to know I love him! With tears in my eyes I wish I would have said more to him. I wish I would have returned that vase with lillies. I wish, I wish, I wish. I lit a white light for him and hope he finds peace, in whatever way he needs it, but I also hope he knows he wasn’t alone and that someone that cares for him alot was in that room with him.