Saturday, May 14th, 2011

So it Goes

Saturday, May 14th, 2011 08:38 pm
radiumgirl: (exploding angels)
Disclaimer: I started writing this entry before I went to work this morning and I'm just now coming back to it after a marvelous shift spent laying on the floor of my supervisor's office while the nice EMT tried to get me to drink water and take my pants off. More on this later. In the meantime, forgive any disjointedness. I'm still semi-comatose. 
 
So Chrissy and I went to Rivers to blow off some steam  last night because she got into a fight with her boss at work and is probably going to get fired and I realized that my cousins only count me as "family" when they want to show me off at church, not when my uncle is in the hospital and the visiting hours policy is "family only."
 
I would say "fuck it" and just not speak to them unless spoken to from now on (which isn't so far from our current policy, actually) except that would be a very Melinda-esque thing to do and I really have no doubts that the uncle in question adores me and would have loved to see me. 
 
I'm so sick of the family drama though. I try so hard to ingratiate myself to my aunt and my cousins. I get alot of brownie points on virtue of whose kid I am. My dad was the second-born of seven kids, and he was the "hero", I guess, if we want to apply broad stereotypes to him and his siblings (which is appallingly easy, actually). He lied about his age and joined the Air Force when he was seventeen. He flew cargo planes in Vietnam.  I grew up to stories about his plane, nicknamed the Road Runner; how it was shot down, how Dad came home in a body cast, how he threw a bedpan at the doctor when he was told he might be in a wheelchair because of the shrapnel in his legs and hip. 

He wasn't. 

He married my mother, who was beautiful and not-on-parole at the time and he got a good job working on airplanes and "always took care of his family. Always. Always." my uncle says. 
 
Aka: he bailed their asses out of jail when they needed it, took their kids in when CFS took them away, and made sure his mother had heat in the winter because the rest of them were too busy polluting the gene pool to bother. 
 
And then he died. 
 
So, as the offspring of dear Saint Charles, my brother and I definitely get allowances and respect that I think other cousins don't. Even when I was little and he was still alive, we were always seen differently. There was never any doubt that we would go to college. Why? Because Charles said that we would.  We also lived in New Jersey for the first half of my life, and only saw the relations in the summer. We didn't have the thick Pittsburghese accent (yet). We had no interest in hunting, only marginal interest in fishing, and had no fear about taking a bus or a train somewhere and (GASP!) sitting next to a black person during the trip. Thus, we were vaguely exotic creatures. We were poked and prodded and gawked at and picked on, sure, but it was always friendly. We were still part of the fam. 
 
After Dad died, that sentiment seemed to evolve. My brother and I became these holy items, these relics. We are Charles' flesh and blood. Suddenly, we were scrutinized not for our alienness, but for our Charlesness. I have his chin. I have his nose. I have his hands. Chuck has the nose, the chin, the sense of humor. We both have his temper. These things became sacred. They were fawned over and encouraged and we were loved because we were Charles' children. 
 
This has been the case for almost ten years. But slowly, things have changed. I feel like another evolution of sentiment has happened right under my nose and that somewhere along the line, we because somewhat resented. Oh, we still have that diplomatic immunity that comes from being Saint Charles' spawn, but beneath that, there's this sense of obligation(?) towards us. We aren't precocious kids from that foreign realm of New Jersey, and we aren't these troubled pseudo-orphans anymore. We're adults in our own right. And rather than point out all those traits that we share with our late father, over the past year or so, I feel the attention has been shifted to the ways we "dishonor" him. 
 
My brother is now twenty-two years old. He still has zero interest in hunting and less of an interest in fishing, guns, or cars. This would almost label him a girl in our family, except that the women tend to be just as passionate about those things as the menfolk. My tattoos, my Catholic boyfriend, my impending move to Michigan; these are black spots on my pedigree. I am no longer this little four-year-old that hoards pennies in my change purse. I've struggled for awhile now, trying to reconcile who and what I am now with who and what I was and I think that my uncle and aunt and cousins are finally starting to do that too. 
 
I was shocked and hurt to basically be told not to come to the hospital. My aunt called me yesterday morning to tell me my uncle was being released today. I have a hard time talking to my aunt under the best of circumstances. She's a very rough, very practical, very traditional mountain woman. I once visited the fam after a job interview and I was in a suit and heels and black pantyhose and when I walked in the back door, she stopped kneeding the bread she was making, looked my get-up up and down, and said, "I wish your daddy was still around to explain you to us because I just don't know what to make of you."
 
Yesterday's phone call was more painful that usual due to the circumstances. She mentioned Michigan and said, "Its a shame how small this family keeps getting."
 
"I'm pretty sure that moving to Michigan doesn't rewrite my DNA."
 
"What the hell are you talking about?"
 
"I'm still in the family. After the move."
 
"Not really."
 
Oh. 
 
So going to the casino in hopes of becoming well-financed individuals seemed like a great idea to Chrissy and I. Especially since parking is free and we're both hella-poor (as usual) and hey, maybe we'll win!
 
I managed to stretch my twenty bucks into four hours of playing, but in the end, I went home empty-handed, as did Chrissy. 
radiumgirl: (noob)
 Today was my first day back at Adventureland. The park doesn't open for two more weeks, but it was some charity thing down in the picnic pavilions. I was told I would be escorting one of the costumed mascots because not only was our mascot going to be out and about, but our two sister parks' mascots would be making appearances as well. 
 
I got to the park and ended up in a suit after all due to a staffing snafu. I got to be Dunkin. Dunkin is a dragon. He's the mascot for the waterpark our parent company owns. I was peeved, but whatever, all I have to do is walk around and hug little kids, right? I can do that. 
 
I did it for about an hour. The suit was unbearable from the get-go and the humid, muggy weather today didn't help. Furthermore, since I was under the impression that I would be escorting, not dressing, I wore pants. 
 
The suit is wool and heavy. Dunkin' is plump and pear-shaped, so there's a ton of extra padding in his lower half that make walking a real work-out. Dunkin' also has webbed feet that like to trip each other up. Dunkin's head is a torture device, tall and top-heavy. Wearing it is like balancing a stack of books on your head while being smothered. I felt like I was suffocating as soon as I had the head on. 
 
But I'm a trooper, yo.  I was prepared to suck it up and hug some fucking babies. 
 
We had to dress in G-Serv and walk down to the festivities which were taking place about half-way across the park from our starting point. As soon as I stepped out of the G-Serv building, I tripped over my feet and my head went rolling across the midway. 
 
I was so padded that I didn't feel a thing and I literally laid there laughing my ass off while my escort scurried to retrieve my head and my supervisor scowled and a random kid pointed and screamed. 
 
Traumatized child count: 1
 
We got my head back on and wandered down to the crowd and I was okay for an hour. I hugged some kids. I took some pictures. I even danced. I was pleased with myself. Then I took a nice deep breath...and swayed. I instinctively shoved the head up and poked my nose and mouth through the seam in the neck, sucking greedily at the fresh air. My escort shoved my head down and hissed, "You can't do that."
 
"I need...to go back."
 
I could hear my blood rush in my ears and I kept gulping at air. I'm sure I was getting enough, realistically, but it didn't feel like it. I felt like the mesh over my facehole was smothering me. I needed to be out of the suit, out of the suit, out of the suit now. 
 
In retrospect, I think I went into some claustrophobic meltdown. I started pawing at the gloves, my collar, my head. My escort reminded me that I couldn't take the costume off in the middle of the park. She pulled on my arm and said, "C'mon. Keep walking. The sooner you get back, the sooner you can get the suit off."
 
I tripped over my feet twice and my escort caught me. After the second stumble, I was practically weeping. We were near my old ride section at this point. I remembered the phone in the pavilion and the merch counter that no one used anymore. I stumbled into the pavilion and hit the floor, ripping the head off and trying to pull my legs and my tail out of the sight of the passersby. 

It didn't work. A little girl started pulling on my tail. I groaned and jammed the head back on and promptly laid on my back. A little boy pulled his grandma over and leaned over the counter, "Look grammy, the dragon's taking a nap."
 
"I don't think he's napping." Grammy said and pulled Junior away. 
 
Traumatized child count: 3
 
I pulled the head up and ground out, "Get me water."
 
My escort shook her head, "We need to get your head back on."
 
I started crying, "Please get me water. Please. I can't breathe. I'm gonna throw up."
 
"We have to get you back!"
 
Before you think too badly of my escort, I'd like to point out that this is her first season at the park and she's only seventeen. Once I was coherent again, I apologized because at this point, I literally yelled at her. 
 
"I can't get up, Heather. You're gonna have to call for a cart."
 
"Okay. Okay, just put your head on. There's a supervisor coming--"
 
"THEN GO GET THE SUPERVISOR. NOW." 
 
Then I barfed in a cleaning bucket I found under the counter. 
 
Heather disappeared and I went back to trying to burrow into the floor. 
 
The next thing I'm aware of is two supervisors pulling me up by my arms. My supervisor is in my face, shaking my chin, "Hey. Hey, you with me? Wake up, Mary. C'mon."

"I need m'head." I slurred. 
 
"Don't worry about your head."
 
"Dun wanna tram'tize the kids."
 
"You won't." 
 
"Gimme m'head."
 
I resolutely shoved it on and sank as far down as the golf cart seat would let me. I realized that my gloves were gone and threw a fit, but having relinquished the head, no one was about to give me back the gloves. As we inched our way through the crowed, several children commented that Dunkin' had no hands. 
 
Traumatized child count: limitless
 
I ripped the head, the cape, the boots off as soon as we got back to G-Serv. I peeled the top half of the suit off, but stopped at the waist, because it got hard. I barfed again and said I didn't want to talk to First Aid. I talked to First Aid anyway. 
 
Jake, my EMT, sat there for a good forty-five minutes, fingers clamped over my pulse, pressing a cup full of water against my lips. 
 
"How 'bout you get the rest of the suit off for me, okay?"
 
"Nuh uh." I grunted. 
 
"What if we help you?"
 
"Nnnnoooo."
 
They helped anyway. 
 
After losing the pants, downing three bottles of water and a pack of fruit snacks, I grew more coherent. My pulse slowed down and Jake deemed me "okay, but if you get chest pains or can't breathe again or anything, go to the ER."
 
"Kay."
 
"Drink more water. Gatorade, if you can get some."
 
"Kay."
 
I spent the next two hours curled up on the floor of my supervisor's office. I woke up in time to process a season pass order and help the new girl balance her drawer and cash-out. I drove home and slept some more. I noticed a rash developing on my back and my legs. If I caught MRSA from that fucking nasty-ass suit, I'mma be pissed. 
 
And yes, I'm completely mortified at having the cart called for me. In six-seasons of Adventureland indentured servitude, I have never had the cart called on me. I was a badass. When I tripped over a pulley at the rafts, I duct-taped tissues to my knee and carried on. When I got stung by a bee while working the super slide, I shrugged it off and only brought it up to bitch about my bra strap rubbing the sore spot. I have only gone home sick once. And it wasn't my call.  My supervisor thought my carting the garbage bin from ride to ride looked...suspicious. 
 
It's the end of an era, kids. I'm so mortified. 
 

 
 
 

June 2011

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