Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A brief commercial break, and then back to Aunty Christ’s crazy story

Sometimes I volunteer at my local animal shelter. The dogs in their cages make me sad, with their howling and shrinking into corners, and their eyes denoting only fear and loneliness and an abysmal loss of hope. The cats, in their even smaller cages, with their sad little stuffed mouses and bits of yarn, are similarly pathetic. Adding to the tragedy of both, the staff sometimes bestows upon their favorites, or the ones least likely to find a new home, a colorful bandanna tied around the neck of some elderly Lab or tabby, and a poster made with markers and glitter, announcing that here is a Good Boy who Knows How to Sit and Fetch.

I work with the small animals. They typically live in small cages, anyway, and being in the presence of so many other kicking, squawking creatures, and so many index fingers poked abruptly through bars is disturbing, yes, but they seem to handle it better than the dogs and cats. Better than I would, too, come to think of it.

Usually, the stories from the small-animal room are brief and kind of stinky. They find homes quickly, most of them, and while at the shelter they live in relative peace. Not Simon, though.

Simon is a handsome man who enjoys ice fishing, Thai food, and long walks on the beach. He’s looking for his partner in crime, who enjoys late-night chats and salsa dancing, for friendship and possibly more.

The shelter material on Simon reads:

"Meet Simon! This poor boy came to the shelter with one of his best friends to which he was bonded with. His friend passed away and now Simon is sad! He has made new friends with his favorite stuffed animal - and until he finds a new rabbit or guinea pig, he will need to live with his Gorilla friend."

Which is absolutely heart-breaking. His best friend in the world died, and now he’s friends with a stuffed gorilla. I saw Simon and said gorilla pal this weekend. The gorilla is tiny, about the size of an apple, perched in Simon’s litter tray. Simon cannot be happy.

It’s as if, when you were in fifth grade, your very best friend in the world, your only friend, the girl you passed notes with and talked to every day on the phone, and slept over at each other’s houses every weekend, and the only person you could talk with about your latest crush or why your big brother was a poophead, that girl has moved away to the other side of the country and you will never see her again, but at least your parents bought you a garbage can.

The Simon situation makes me incredibly sad.

So, here is more journal from the nuthouse. I think it’s getting interesting right about now, but let me know if it’s not and I'll steal a couple scenes from “Girl, Interrupted.”

Sunday, May 24 (?), 1992, 12:25 p.m.

A few notes:

P.’s coming today to visit. Probably already on his way.

George is a sex offender. That’s why he’s in here. Last night he rubbed against/touched/fondled (depending on who you talk to) Chris. Everyone was very cautious in bed last night.

I’m still having X memories. Strong. Last night I couldn’t sleep, so I lay in bed remembering. I could cry, I want some so bad!

Helen has been raped by four men—her father, her husband, and two others (will have to get story later). She works in a coroner’s office, weighing organs and such.

Jeanette was the darkest of her siblings, and therefore the least loved. Her mother liked her sister the best—she had an Indian complexion and straight hair.

Jeannette (on the phone) turned to me this morning and said, “You know what I sense about you?” I shook my head no. “Someday, you’ll see God, because you’re a good person.” I smiled and was silent for a minute. “Thank you, Jeanette.” What else could I say to that? She had her hair up today, in a style reminiscent of the ’70s.

Same day, 7:06 p.m.

Chris was quite adamant about letting the administration know how she feels about George. She got a group of us “gals” together, and we chatted with a nurse—mostly about how to protect ourselves, until I asked whether anything would be done about him. The nurse said that his behavior would be taken into account by the team in their analysis. BFD. I hinted that some of us felt unsafe, and she said to scream if anything happened and a nurse would hear us. Chris kept looking to me for support, and seemed to want me to voice her opinions for her.

Jeanette was talking about her mother today. Ninety-four years old and straight black hair down to her shoulders, with only three white strands.

May 24, 1992, about 12:20 a.m.

Today was kind of strange, even for a day in W-3. P. came at 1, and A. came at 7:30 or so. They almost let him stay—never checked the room—but finally someone came and booted him. I really like A. He’s a fantastic slob. Every time I see him he falls asleep, or threatens to. He’s worse than P., though, self-esteem wise. He’d never make a move, so I think I’ll have to. Although I have a pretty bad self-esteem too. Teenage angst!

P. was cool. Uncomfortable but cool. I hadn’t talked all day, so I was a bit rusty at first. I think he thinks I’m insane. He brought me two coloring books, crayons, an MC Escher book, and “The Wind in the Willows.”

Jori is restless tonight. I’m not sure if she’s asleep or not.

I had the most luscious X flashbacks today. I can’t start thinking about X or I’ll never stop. Every time I do think about X, I want some. Or some something, X being the primary something and everything else being secondary somethings. I should have never let it get this bad. That’s why I can’t continue smoking. I’d be just as bad, if not worse, when I tried to quit that. Actually, I want a cigarette really bad right now. I keep thinking that maybe I’ll keep smoking when I get out of here, though. I mean, I deserve some vice.

Jori is still restless.


Salty Miss Jill said...

Oh, poor little Simon!
He can come live with me, the Turk, and our two kitties. Buy him a Greyhound ticket and send him on his way.

Aunty Christ said...

Aww, I would too! That would make a fantastic children's book. "Simon the Bunny Loses a Friend, Befriends a Gorilla, and Goes on a Cross-Country Bus Ride to Live With Salty Miss Jill and Her Nice Family." Love it.

Shannon said...

Ghandi once said that “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”

That beautiful, little creature. I’d take him a heartbeat. But, I wouldn’t really trust that there would be much concern for his welfare by those entrusted to his care during shipping. I’ve heard too many horror stories.

Before my son was born, I was a volunteer at many different shelters. I used to take the pictures for the “Marshfield Mariner” (local newspaper in our seaside town) and pick the feature animal for the week under the “Gimme Shelter” section.

It was one of the best jobs I ever had. It's great to see that other people do this, too!