Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Date Night

On a Saturday a few weeks ago, Pia and I finally got out for a date. We went to a Vietnamese market and each picked out something new to try. It was fun to see so many squid flavored candies. I settled on crab crackers and Pia got salted mango slices (which came in a fluid that made it look like they would be pickled, not salted (mine was good, hers was not).

We had a nice time, but really, Pia and I could go run errands on dates and it would be fine. Everything feels like a date when we don't have the kids. 

We took the freeway home and as we were nearing our exit I saw a person walking on the shoulder of the freeway. We were in the furthest right lane and as we approached, he started to walk into our lane. Pia swerved out of the way as he entered the first lane and as we passed him I told Pia to stop. I turned around to see him continue slowly into the freeway. Pia pulled off to the should and slowed, while I screamed to stop faster, but she was so confused by the situation and it was hard to react. With the car still moving slowly, I opened my door and started running back to the boy who had now made it to the second lane.

It was dark and traffic was heavy for the late hour, so, like Pia and I, the drivers were seeing the boy too late to stop; they only had time to honk and swerve. He was holding his hands to his ears with arms raised perpendicular to his body and I recognized that he must have had some sort of mental impairment.

I continued to run as fast as I could, yelling "Hey!" the entire time, but I was still about 20 feet away when I heard a horrible sound. A small truck had hit him as he entered the third lane. He was thrown about 5 feet in front of me, back in the first lane. Traffic had still not stopped at this time, so I stood over him and flailed my body wildly, screaming at the top of my lungs to try to get people to stop. My biggest fear was that this poor boy would be hit again as he lay unconscious in the middle of a lane in the freeway. 

To my horror and disgust, three or four cars simply changed lanes and passed us. I continued to scream like a crazy person and pace around the boy until a car eventually stopped 15 feet from where he lay broken. Now that at least one lane of traffic was stopped I turned my attention to the boy. He was young. I found out later that he was a nine year old autistic boy named Au-June Banks Taylor (pronounced ah-june nay).

Au-June was bleeding from his ears, nose and mouth, but otherwise didn't appear to have any trauma. I tried to check his pulse, but in between my hysteria, lack of medical training, and the desire to put absolutely no pressure on what may be a broken neck, I couldn't feel anything. I did not have my phone on me, but by this time a couple of cars had stopped and the people were calling 911. I continued to stand over him, frustrated by my desire to help and my total inability to do so.

It seemed like an eternity until the police got there and even longer until the paramedics. In reality, the police were probably there within 2 minutes and the paramedics a minute after that, but every second that I looked at Au-June felt like an hour. Every second that passed felt like one second that he wasn't getting the care that would save his life.

In the short period of time in between when the helpless police got there and the helpful paramedics, the police went to work finding the person who had hit the boy. I was so focused on the boy that I didn't even see what kind of car hit him, but some of the other people that had pulled over by that time did. We initially thought it was a hit and run, but it turns out the man that had hit him had pulled over about 100 feet in front of where Pia had pulled over, which subsequently seemed appropriate, because he had to get over three lanes of traffic to stop. Other police officers were tasked with closing the freeway and rounding up witnesses while asking all other bystanders to leave.

Au-June lay still, obviously not breathing as the paramedics rushed to aid him. They cut off his clothing and started CPR. Seeing him in the street as 10 or so paramedics worked together smoothly, made him seem so young and small. 
The paramedics were able to resuscitate Au June, but just his breathing; he remained unconscious. I was asked to fill out a witness report as Au-June was loaded into the ambulance and sped away to the hospital. I filled out my report as more details poured in from smart phones of the remaining witnesses. Au June had been reported missing an hour or so earlier when he wandered away from his home about 4 miles away. 
The driver of the car that had struck Au-June was filling out his report near me and was visibly shaken. For as much as this event has affected me, I cannot imagine how that driver (even though he was in no way at fault) is dealing with his horribly unfortunate and tragic role.

I handed in my report and walked back to the car in a daze.

We headed home and immediately turned on the television and looked up every local news source we could find online. I called my mom on the way home and let her know what had happened and to finally let myself cry. My mom called me before we could find any news story and told me that my sister in law had found a story and that Au-June had died. News is slow on the weekends, so it took a few hours for stories to start posting online and on the television. 

Over the next several days I read everything I could find about the accident. 
I was amazed by the blatant inaccuracies in the stories published. One story said that there were several drivers that had stopped and that they were all yelling at the boy to come back to the shoulder, another claimed that the driver that had struck him stayed with Au June until he was put in the ambulance. Pia and I were the only car stopped at the time he was hit and subsequently, I was the only one out of their car yelling, but I was still running toward him. Had I been closer, I would have run into the freeway, not stayed on the side and yelled for him to come like a puppy.

This brings us back to when we pulled over after we swerved to miss Au-June. Pia still feels a deep guilt for not stopping the car as fast as she could, but that night she dreamed that she did stop faster and I ran into the freeway and was hit. I know that that dream was a gift from God and that it's absolutely true. (How many people can say that a dream of their spouse getting hit by a car is a gift from God?) 
The driver didn't come out of his car until the police got him, well after Au-June had been taken by the ambulance. There were other inaccuracies as well. It seems like one writer or reporter didn't get their facts right, then other news organizations just passed along those inaccuracies as opposed to actually asking and doing interviews to find out what happened.

I tried desperately to find funeral information over the next couple of days, but there was none to be found. I eventually went to the apartment complex where the parents live, which was mentioned on one of the local broadcasts and left a message with the apartment's office for the family to call me. I wanted funeral information and also wanted to give the family the opportunity to know what really happened. Au-June's mother called a couple of days later. I was able to tell her what really happened and she gave me the information for his funeral. We hung up, both relatively comforted by the conversation.

About 10 days after the accident, I attended Au-June's funeral. Suffice it to say, the funeral of a 9 year old autistic boy is not clowns and confetti. I did not introduce myself to the parents as they were inconsolable at the service and I did not feel it appropriate to interrupt their grief. 

I know it's only been about a month, but there is not a day that goes by that I don't think about Au-June and feel a tightening of my stomach for his family. I definitely feel grief over what has happened, but then part of me thinks that I have no right to feel grief and that his family is the only group that has any right to condolences. I can't begin to imagine how hard it must be and all my sympathy goes to his parents and siblings. I am so sorry for your loss.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Redesign and The Book Club

Pia and I have been focusing on reading before we go to bed each night. Nothing makes me feel more like my parents than sitting in bed together each with a book resting on our A shaped legs. Memories come in many forms. The traditional memory is like a video, many people say that smell triggers memories, and others are like a photograph. One of the photograph memories I have from my childhood is my parents, in bed, each reading their respective books.

I am about half way done with The Silence of the Lambs, which is really well written, but I feel cheated having seen the movie before I read the book, because now Hannibal Lecter will never be anything more than Anthony Hopkins (albeit in the book he has 11 fingers, so that just reminds me of One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (another book I read quite a bit)).

Pia is reading The Nanny Diaries and Bringing up Bebe because she likes reading books that have some sort of semblance to things that she has gone through (being a nanny). Me, on the other hand, I would rather have my teeth pulled out by a zombified circus clown wielding a rusty pair of pliers than read a book about a dude sells insurance. I can barely stay awake while working, if I had to read about it, there aren't drugs sufficient in this world that could wake me from the coma that would be induced.

I recently finished Ender's Game, which had been on my list of books to get around to for about a decade. It was fine, but after making myself wait 10 years to read it, there is no way to make it live up to that sort of wait. It seems very much in line with other young adult books being turned into movies. Speaking of which, there is a movie in the works, but the lead character is prepubescent throughout the entire arc book and I can count on zero hands how many child actors I can stand watching for more than zero seconds.

There are a couple other fiction books I want to get around to, but I also have a pile of Abraham Lincoln books that I need to get through. So far I have a couple thousand page hard bound book of Lincoln's writings, a separate biography of his writing with analysis, a straight biography of the man himself, The Bill O'Reilly biography of him, and finally Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. The latter, from what I understand, chronicles his early years, before opening his law practice in Illinois.

Well, that's all for book news.

In life news... yep.

I chose a different design for the blog and there is even a little surprise in the background (remember, he is always watching).
I am still trying to find something that I can do daily to spice up the writing a bit, but for now, here is a pretty great video.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Haven't Let Go Just Yet

It's getting a bit late, but I did want to write so I can force the habit again. Here are some pictures to tide the frothing masses that feed on every word if this thing.
Tomorrow we will have a bit of a book club.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Is That A...What Is That?

Hello and welcome to post number three in my re-dedication of all things blog related. I know I said I was going start focusing on the here and now, but I was looking for this video
and I stumbled across this picture:
What the hell is that? You might be asking yourself. Well no, that it's not a sponge that has been used to soak up hot chocolate, that is the sweetest carpet we have ever had in an apartment; oh and on top of that is my back after I suffered an allergic reaction.

I was at work a few years ago (4 I think) and my fingers were moving a bit slower than usual. I felt swelling in the fingers for a day and by the end of the first day I couldn't clench my hand into a fist because my hands felt so swollen. I could see that my hands were swollen slightly, but it felt like it was more interior. The second day, while at work, my fingers starting hurting as I clacked away at my keyboard and my hands were noticeably inflated. I was also starting to get red marks on my arms. I continued to ignore the problem and on the third day there were more red spots on my arms and now on my chest, neck, and face and now there was a lump in my throat that was making breathing uncomfortable (but not inhibiting my air supply at all). It was on the third day, when I could no longer take the pain in my fingers from using the keyboard that I decided, this is probably something a doctor should see.

I told my boss I was taking off and I made an appointment for the following day with my family practitioner. On the fourth day I was as you can see in the picture. Almost my entire body was like that, but I will spare you the pictures revealing my behind (which are incredibly reminiscent of pictures my parents have of chicken pox on my butt when I was a kid).

I barely had the energy to get into the car to go to the doctor. I could barely stand up. I am not sure how I made it to the office, but I eventually ended up in a doctor's office with my shirt off, showing the nurse practitioner my back. She proceeded to call everyone in the office into our room to look at it. When the doctor came in to look at it, he drew in a large breath, letting it slowly leave through his teeth and simply said, "You are not having a good day today are you?"

Until earlier that week, I had never suffered any allergies other than some seasonal congestion. They had no idea what was going on with me and asked every question they could. They said it could be valley fever, hay fever Guanaria (I laughed at the impossibility and Pia was thrilled and it wasn't, let's just get that out of the way right now), or any number of other things. Tthey shot me full of steroids and told me to bathe in Epson Salt. They took blood to send to a tests and let me go with more prescriptions than I could count.

The next few days were itchy. My mom wondered why I wasn't at work and when I told her allergies, her immediate reaction was, suck it up and get to work you loser. When she came over and saw me, she understood a bit better. I went on short term disability for two weeks and basically just laid in a cold bath the entire time.

The picture doesn't show it well, but those red marks are significantly inflamed. I felt like I had things growing on my back, like a Mogwai that had just gotten wet (Gremlins people, holy crap, pay attention).

It turns out that I am severely allergic to Bermuda grass, and pretty allergic to just about everything else on this earth, including potatoes, strawberries, wheat, and about a million other things.

It was just so weird that I lived for 25 years eating copious amounts of potatoes at almost every dinner and nothing ever happened, and then one day my body just decided to let go.

I recovered just fine and have only suffered one other occurrence, at my brother's wedding (which was held in a back yard, covered with Bermuda grass).

Here is to hoping I return tomorrow with more (hopefully less painful) stories.

Friday, April 13, 2012

On A Roll

The format of this "Shoot me in the face" is going to be changing a bit as I proceed. You may not believe it, but I am running out of embarrassing stories about myself (I know, I never thought they would end either), so I will be focusing more on amusing things from today as opposed to yesteryear. Certainly if a repressed memory makes its way to the surface, you will be the first one to know, but for now I would like to share some things I have found humorous.

I apologize about yesterday. I hadn't written in over 6 months and writing has always been a bit of therapy for me. As we know, the Internet is the best therapist (Man kills self after encouragement from folks on Reddit(okay I have to be honest, that whole thing turned out to be a hoax. A guy really killed himself and some Internet trolls decided to make a story out of it (actually kind of creative and the whole story can be found here))).

Speaking of fake bullying (great segue), I don't watch South Park much anymore, but it continues to be relevant and funny from what I understand. I did watch their satire of the movie Bully which was insightful and had some great musical numbers. Here is the song that I have been singing all day today. It's a South Park song, so if you have sensitive sensibilities, maybe you should skip it.
The episode brings up some interesting points such as, if movie Bully is as "important" as the studio's marketing would have us believe, why not just release it for free on the Internet so everyone can see it? I disagree with overall resolution to the episode which basically just says that bullying exists and you won't be a kid forever, so just deal with it and know that in the grand scheme of things, it will be a very short period of time. I was bullied relentlessly (probably not as bad as a lot of people had it) through junior high and high school (no physical abuse, but certainly the threat thereof) and I don't think that ignoring it made it any better for me. I regret not standing up for myself. I think that the new emphasis on bullying might help students stand up and say something when they see it, even and especially if they are not themselves the victim. Some people would argue that adversity builds character, but I don't know that I needed to be called a Faggot to become the man I am today. (Gosh dang it, these new posts were supposed to be lighthearted.)

It could have been worse, I could have been home schooled as this video demonstrates.

Have a wonderful day.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

6 Months

Well it's been 6 months since I have written. I wonder, why has it been so long? and why 6 months, oh yeah, because 3 days before my last post, my wife gave birth to our daughter.
Needless to say, life has been busy, but not busy enough to justify my neglect of writing.

I try not to be a theologian in these posts because there are plenty of other blogs that I am sure are way better at the spiritual than I am, but when the scriptures describe children as submissive, I feel like there must have been something lost in translation. My children are not submissive, or at least, not as much as I would like. I understand why my parents eventually just tied us to our beds with rope (only happened once and I am pretty sure my mom felt horrible about it), but the more that Abe gets out of bed and refuses to sleep until 10:00 or 11:00, the more I wonder where in the garage I put my rope.

As a parent you know what's best for your child (mostly), but it's exasperating trying the same thing over and over and failing over and over. In adult life, if something doesn't work over and over again, we are told to find alternate solutions, but the resolve of some of these kids; it seems like trying something new only energizes them more. They know that soon enough you will run out of time, energy, and ideas. Then all you can do is give up or get out the rope.
Let's catch up. Evelyn was an experiment in patience for the first three months and I have the broken pacifiers (thrown against the wall (baby not attached)) to prove it. I don't need to tell anyone that it can be frustrating to have this helpless thing in your arms that is screaming and there is not a single thing in this world that will satisfy it.

She got better after 3 months, or at least she started laughing which is like antidote for rage. Actually, she got a lot better. I no longer have any right to complain. Perspective can be difficult; I can't console Evelyn when she is crying by reminding her that there are worse babies out there, but it helps me realize that this post will come off incredibly whiny for someone who has actually had a challenging child.
How, absolutely awful is that sound?

Work continues to be and I continue to not want to talk about
-so why'd you bring it up?
-shut up.

I do have one work anecdote to tell. Like most other working human beings, I am not a huge fan of my job or company, but I do know that I am incredibly fortunate to be able to work from home, and while it comes at the cost of my personal hygiene (I go about 7 months in between haircuts), the fact that I have no commute to speak of and can watch movies, play games, and surf the internet all day, makes me the envy of all of my friends. I was in the office for a training and was talking to coworker who had also worked from home.
She asked me if I liked working from home, to which I gave an honest answer, "I love it."
She responded that she was coming back into the office because she hated it. I was stunned. What could be better than waking up, realizing you have 5 minutes to get up and get to work, and still get there 3 minutes early?
She responded, "I miss the social aspect of the office." I choked on the words. If there is one thing that I don't miss (and hate every time I have to go in) about the office, it's the social aspect. Anyway, management hasn't even uttered the words "work from home" in well over a year, because apparently there are way more people that miss the office than social rejects like me who want nothing more than as little human contact (I should probably clarify that by saying, people I don't give a single crap about) as possible.
Here is why I loath people in the office, because they try to motivate. Listening to some random dude who's only experience is selling crap on the phone to strangers, try to motivate a team full of bitter, crass, down trodden adults, is soul wrenching. Today we had a meeting in which some big shot sales person tried to give us tips and he lost me with this:
"Do you know what the definition of insanity is? It is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results." I took the opportunity to look up the definition of insanity to keep my hands busy and away from the gun and here it is:


[in-san-i-tee] Show IPA
noun, plural in·san·i·ties.
the condition of being insane; a derangement of the mind.dementia, lunacy, madness, craziness, mania,aberration.
Law . such unsoundness of mind as frees one from legalresponsibility, as for committing a crime, or as signals one'slack of legal capacity, as for entering into a contractualagreement.
Psychiatry . (formerly) psychosis.
extreme foolishness; folly; senselessness; foolhardiness:Trying to drive through that traffic would be pure insanity.
a foolish or senseless action, policy, statement, etc.:We've heard decades of insanities in our political discourse.

Four definitions and not a single one that even looks closely to that stupid quip. Here is a definition for you. How does someone immediately lose all credibility?


1 [lahy] Show IPA noun, verb, lied, ly·ing.
a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.

Selling tips are great, but leave the motivation for your kids little league games. This seems angry (I can tell because my hands are shaking), but when all is said and done, I was wearing basketball shorts and a ripped up t-shirt during that meeting, so there's that.

Enough about work for a while (read forever). I will be back soon (read never).