Monday, June 29, 2015

Unusual Summer Clouds During Hot Weather / Broken Person and Broken Guitar / Joni Mitchell's Meditation on the Book of Job / More People Who Are Not Broken

"A mind filled with love can be likened to the sky with a variety of clouds moving through it -- some light and fluffy, others ominous and threatening. No matter the situation, this sky is not affected by the clouds. It is free."
(Sharon Salzberg)

This morning before 8 o'clock I was a few blocks from my home, driving west on my way to SeaMar Community Health Center, a low-income clinic on the north end of town, to turn in paperwork that will have to be filled out by my doctor regarding accommodations that I am requesting in regard to the part-time job that I hope to have soon. The offer letter for the job is problematic. I will not sign it unless I am guaranteed a consistent work schedule and a guarantee that I will not be asked to work on my days off. I have been unemployed on and off since 1998 due to symptoms of PTSD that will be triggered again if my sleep is disrupted by frequent schedule changes that involve working into the evenings and if I am unable to plan anything because of never knowing when I will have a day off or when my work shift will begin or end.

As I waited at the stop light and wondered whether I would be able to get the accommodations I was requesting, I vaguely noticed out of the corner of my eye a nondescript compact person of short stature who was wearing nondescript clothing and a generic knit hat with side flaps with braids hanging down and who was carrying possessions across the cross street to my left. As the light turned green, and I moved forward with the traffic, I was startled to see the person lift an acoustic guitar into the air and smash it hard several times onto the sidewalk, leaving the guitar in pieces. It was like something I might see in a dream. I was shaken, wondering what was going on the mind of that person who was destroying something that was likely dear to that person or someone close to that person. I wasn't sure if the person was a man or a woman. It wasn't Jimi Hendrix at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. It was something else.

I became aware of Joni Mitchell singing from my car's CD player:

On my way home from SeaMar, I had some errands to do in downtown Bellingham, which is on the west side of town. As I drove down Holly Street, I saw someone who appeared to be the same person I had seen earlier and who must have taken the bus into town. He or she was settled on the sidewalk,  not far from the bus station, leaning against the side of a building with his or her possessions. After I dropped off my condo dues at the property management company, I was curious enough to drive back around the block to see if it really was the same person.  Maybe it wasn't the same person, but my gut feeling was that it was. I was still grieving that broken person and the broken guitar. If it was the same person, he or she appeared subdued, nondescript, showing no sign of the anger or grief that prompted destroying an acoustic guitar.

"Take heart and take care of your link with life ..."
(Buffy Sainte-Marie, lyrics from "Look At The Facts")



Anonymous said...

That must have been quite a thing to witness, a person smashing a guitar into pieces. So sad to be driven to such a state.

I hope the new employers accommodate your requests. It's so important that you are able to articulate your needs.

Such beautiful clouds there.

bev said...

The clouds remind me of those which I've seen over the desert - with virgae sweeping along beneath. There is a webcam which I check a couple of times daily - it points out across the desert toward the Mule Mountains and the cabin is within its field. The clouds at this time of the year are often astounding. Here's the URL in case you are interested. I think they turn it off from late evening until around dawn. I hope the link will work for you:

I can understand a person becoming so broken and perhaps frustrated to the point of breaking up a guitar. When I was caring for my father and for Don through end stage cancer, I was constantly struggling on the edge of flying apart. The other day, I recounted an incident to a good friend who also lost her husband to cancer. This was at the cancer centre where I took both my dad and Don. It was in 1999 - I had taken my dad to have some X-rays before a procedure being done as an emergency outpatient. It took far too long and he had been in a wheelchair for over two hours. He was extremely weak and in pain, so my agitation grew and grew all afternoon. Finally, we were out of there and came down in the elevator back to the clinic where the procedure was to be done. Someone had left a bunch of trash cans all over the lobby blocking off the path from the elevators. I was so upset by this time that I kicked one over and then gave it a flying drop kick out of our way so that I could push the wheelchair through. No one said a thing to me as I wheeled my dad into the day surgery room. Maybe they saw stuff like that all the time there. It was very uncharacteristic of me - I'm a very calm, easy-going, gentle person, but sometimes things happen that will push a person right over the edge. We can never really know what is happening in another's life and how hard things may be. I try never to forget that.

I hope everything works out well with the prospective job, am.

am said...

robin andrea --It helps to have blog friends as second-hand witnesses to what I saw on Monday. Perhaps we can send good energy to that person who was pushed over the edge.

Thank you for your encouragement in this complicated process of getting a job.

I hoped that you would appreciate the clouds (-:

bev -- Wow! I will be checking that webcam regularly.

I've had my moments, too, where I have been so upset by circumstances that I have done something that I wouldn't do otherwise. Thank you for writing down your experience with one of those moments.

Thank you, too, for your encouragement as I study the problematic paperwork I need to sign if I want to have this job.