Close Encounters

We live on the edge of town, not quite in the full-blown country but close enough to see feral cats, dumped dogs, hissing possums, semi-evil coyotes, silent owls, nasty buzzards, large turtles, random snakes, awkward armadillos and other critters on a regular basis. Every night toward the far side of ten o’clock, Daisy the Dog and I venture outside for her last ‘hurry up’. (Years ago, a good friend told me to call the dog’s business a hurry up rather than a s#!t as it sounds much more genteel to yell at the dog to ‘hurry up’ rather than ‘go take a s#!t’.)

Last night under a half-moon nearly obscured by hurricane-induced clouds, we followed our regular routine.  Upon approaching the prescribed area, Daisy was distracted by rustling in a nearby bush.  I heard it, too, thinking it was the neighbor’s cat come for a late night visit.  Daisy, forgetting her original purpose, ambled toward the bush and leaned in close.  I neared the bush as well to pet the cat and remind Daisy to hurry up. 

The moon slipped out from behind a cloud and the darkness peeled away a bit.  Just enough for me to see that Daisy and I were peering at the business end of a skunk from about three feet away.  While I have taken a direct hit from a skunk many moons ago, Daisy hadn’t.  I made the executive decision that she didn’t need the experience and I didn’t want to repeat it.  I grabbed at the dog’s tail to distract her as I was backpedaling from the skunk’s tail.  Apparently, the skunk had mercy on us or just failed to fire.

We hurried up and hurried back inside none the worse for wear. However, I will take a flashlight with me tonight.

image credit: San Diego Zoo

Therapy I

Therapist:  What will you have written on your tombstone?

Me: Time flies whether you are having fun or not.

Therapist: [snorting] That is a bit cynical, isn’t it?

Me: [silently to my self]  *Well, yeah…but it is true.*

She dissed my epitaph and she took my money.  I smiled but I didn’t return.  I am pissed and I am not cured.

Therapy is not a one-time thing. It is more like chemo without the physical aspects: painful, repetitive, and no guarantee of a cure. The anecdote above is true. I did not return to that therapist, but I have gone to others with varying degrees of success. If you choose to pursue talk therapy, then do it wholeheartedly, but not naively. Attend sessions with a person or group you respect for a specific amount of time, then with a clear head and calm heart assess if the process is helping you or not.

Image credit: Mary Engelbreit


While having lunch at a local restaurant, I noticed a woman carrying an overflowing briefcase accompanied by a teenage boy who was obviously not her son. I was sitting close enough to overhear some of their conversation (yeah, I know…shame on me). It seems the woman was a social worker of some sort supposedly helping the young man who was new to the area. Another woman, who was also working in the restaurant as I has seen her pecking on her laptop when I entered, approached their table to discuss her free-lance efforts at saving the world. The second woman was apparently having trouble finding the appropriate free services for her non-paying client, so she asked the paid social worker for advice which the first woman promptly dispatched. This advice was followed by a lengthy conversation about website development, mutual acquaintances, mutual praise, and other gossip. On the face of it, this restaurant seems to be a hotbed of public service providers.

After the second woman left to go off and save some other poor soul, the first woman asked her charge how he liked his food and then proceeded to answer a phone call where she discussed at length another case she was working on. Eventually, she asked the young man if he wanted to go to his school to check on his schedule for the upcoming year and they departed. One wonders what the gist of their meeting was intended to be. 

What struck me about this scenario was that neither the professional nor amateur social worker respected the young man’s time enough to devote the lunch meeting to him and whatever his issues were at the time. Nor did they respect the privacy of their other clients whose issues and names they were bandying about in public.

The moral of this story is two-fold. First, if you are meeting with someone give them your full attention, especially if you are getting paid to meet with them (even if it is only taxpayers or non-profits paying you). Second, just because the person you are paid to meet with is a teenager doesn’t mean they don’t deserve your respect. This goes for small children, elderly persons, handicapped persons, persons of different skin tones, basically everyone. You get the idea. Karma works two ways; don’t tempt her.

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