Monday, December 13, 2010

This Was Not My Best Year

On New Year's Eve in 1999 I stood in the street on the south side of Tacoma and yelled, "The worst year of my life is over!" Well, was it really the worst year? In many ways it truly was. In the last twelve months tests had finally confirmed I had a life threatening illness: multiple sclerosis. Worse than just plain feeling sick, my brain had actually gone from freeway speed to old country road. People would say things to me and I would stare at them like a deer in the headlights before responding. The brain, it turns out, is a very important organ. But 2010 turned out to be truly bizarre.

In 2010 I had my cell phone stolen and then given back to me by the thief who had for some reason began to suspect I had connections to government officials that gave me superpowers. Now, if anyone had ever really gotten to know any government official, one would know that none of them have superpowers. They are civil servants who generally have large stacks of papers and a complete lack of a filing clerk at their disposal. She used twenty minutes of my air time presumably to get information for a story she then posted on my blog about our county auditor. To my horror, the story was a poorly crafted and bizarre conspiracy tale that I demanded she remove from the blog immediately. She did so, but then lied about having put it up on the blog in the first place despite my having printed a hard copy. Now, you're wondering, why did she have my password? Can you say naive? Please understand the following.

I grew up in Colorado Springs. The city is still ranked the fifteenth safest city in the nation. I did not grow up around savvy criminal types. I knew nothing about drugs or conspiracies or anything of the like. The worst thing I did as a teenager was run a red light on the way home one night because I was late. My friends were nerds about to enter the world as doctors and other white collar professions. I take people at face value. Even though I started out as a reporter at the tender age of sixteen, one must remember it was in a very safe hometown. I wrote stories about artists and opera singers and my Jewish friends taking a trip to Israel. So my phone was stolen, an article posted, and later I find out our auditor has gone completely off the deep end, much like the person who took my phone.

I can't even talk in great detail about the client I was taking care of as a caregiver. Suffice it to say, her family has been involved in crime for generations. I had no idea. The agency I worked for did not tell me. I just showed up for work for weeks taking her threats of "you better not make me mad" as the dribblings of a grumpy elderly woman, not a gun wielding mentally ill criminal.

I moved from the North End of Tacoma to the East Side of Tacoma this year. I really do like it over here. People actually speak to each other quite a bit and the neighborhood pulls together. That has been a good part of my year. Plus, for the first time in fourteen years, I do not live alone. I share a house with my domestic partner and our furry shelter cat. Sure, the cat came from a meth lab house in Spanaway and has stories to tell, but I don't understand them. And that's all for the best I think. I don't know anything about meth labs except for what I see in movies. They blow up sometimes I guess.

My Reiki "Master" turned out to be a fraud and I had to get the money I paid her to train me to do Reiki back from her. I didn't check her credentials, I just took her at face value. Silly me. Well, I changed the password to my blog. Now I am the only one who posts here. Someone recently told me it's a weird blog. He said my viewpoint is not consistent. Oh well. At least I am not running around town with a latex glove on accusing the entire auditor's office of discriminating against my religious beliefs. Nor am I smiling upon hearing of the untimely and horrific death of a city code enforcement officer who merely stepped out her front door to assist another person. My elderly client not only smiled upon hearing this, she said, "She should have minded her own damn business!" What a horrible thing to say. Later, when I told my client I had taken trash out of the recycling bin and placed it in the trash bin, she pointed at me and said, "You should mind your own damn business." Cripes! I was in my own version of "Throw Mama From The Train." I am glad this year is over. -Alison Whiteman

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