About Off the Wall

I am just a lover of reading and writing, and can ramble on and on, so I figured I should document my writings in case I ever find it useful! There are so many talented writers on WordPress, I am just blown away. I find it very interesting to read about other people's adventures too! Some of my posts are silly, some are very serious and dear to my heart. All comments are welcome, and thank you in advance for reading my blog!

September 11, 2001…..what where YOU doing? Redux 9/11/19

towers1

Wow. I remember it so clearly, like it happened yesterday.  Probably because it was during one of the worst times of my life.

My husband had up and left me for another woman without any warning right beforehand.  So every year I get to remember, revisit, redream.  It sucks.  But at least I will never forget.

On Sept. 11th I was at work, crying in my office, as I had done for the past few weeks.  My internet alerted a flashing news story, and I watched the pictures of the first plane’s aftermath online.  I had a real bad feeling.  So bad that I stopped crying.

When the second plane hit, I knew it for what it was.  Everybody crowded around in front of computers, watching the story unfold.  One of the girls brought in a small TV to watch it on.  I was starting to get scared, and wondering if I should talk to the bosses about sending people home.  It seemed like everyone in Chicago had gone home.  But the big boss came out of his office, and told us to shut off the TV and for everybody to get back to work.  What a patriot, huh?  Asshole.

I went home alone, to an empty house, scared.  I was so scared I didn’t want to watch it on TV anymore.  I went and sat in the back yard with the dogs, and rocked back and forth in my chair.  I saw my ex drive by down the road with his new girlfriend in the car, and I had the uncharitable thought that I wished it was him in the WTC instead of some other decent person.  Then the Catholic school girl guilt kicked in and I felt bad.  So instead I wished it was me.  That’s what the Catholic school did to me.  Ha.

Anyway, I got through it.  We all did.  We all bucked up and became stronger for it.  I got divorced a couple of weeks later, and got used to taking off my shoes in an airport.  It was a sad time for us all.

By the time the one year anniversary rolled around, I was no longer sad, but mad.  Mad about both things.  So I wrote a poem about it.  I published it on the one year anniversary, and have posted it in some form or fashion every year since.  It helps remind me of where I was in that heartbreaking moment.  Here it is again:

The anniversary of 9/11

Twin Towers
Two twin towers were standing tall.
Two twin towers were about to fall.
Twas Sept. 11th, a beautiful day,
Tho I did not know it. I couldn’t find my way.
My mind was clouded, my heart was shattered.
My husband had left me ….. I felt battered.
My life was over, my heart was aching,
I could almost feel my spirit breaking.
I selfishly thought nothing was worse than this pain,
Little did I know what was to happen, again.
Two twin towers were standing tall.
Two twin towers were about to fall.
Evil had come to visit us that day.
Evil was here, and here to stay.
Evil reared back and rose its ugly head,
Evil wouldn’t be happy unless we were dead.
Evil looked around, and Evil was jealous.
Evil licked his lips, Evil was zealous.
Evil wanted to bring the U.S. down,
Evil picked New York as his target town.
Two twin towers were standing tall.
Two twin towers were about to fall.
Our planes would become weapons of destruction,
Evil thought nothing would become an obstruction.
But there was something that Evil didn’t know…
How Americans loved their country so.
We rallied around, we held our heads high.
Even as we mourned and our eyes did cry.
Our heroes were everywhere, even in the sky.
We shook our heads, and we asked WHY?
Two twin towers were standing tall.
Two twin towers were about to fall.
Something inside of me sparked that day,
And a guiding light was showing me the way.
My personal troubles were bad, that was true.
But nothing compared to the Red, White and Blue.
So I dried off my tears,
I shrugged off my fears.
I stood tall, I stood proud.
Courage took over, it shouted out loud.
Everyone knows that Evil lurks within,
But we will not falter and let Evil win.
We will guard our land, we will guard our skies,
Until once again, peace resides.
Two twin towers went crashing down.
Two twin towers collapsed into the ground.
towers2
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Am I safe yet?

It was a beautiful day in June about 3 years ago.  I was on the train heading home from a great weekend visiting with a friend in Chicago and taking in the sights.  My cell phone rang, and it was my neighbor.  She asked me when I would be home, as 2 FBI agents were looking for me.

My stress level went through the roof!  I went over and over again in my mind what they could possible want.  I was a good, law abiding citizen!  With some trepidation, I called the number on the card they left when I got home.

Shortly thereafter 2 agents in suits appeared at my door.  I did not let them in. First I asked them for identification.  I told them their FBI ID cards could be bought on the internet.  I told the same thing about their badges.  Finally they gave me a card for their Chicago FBI office and the name of their supervisor.  I called the number.  They answered FBI offices of Chicago.  I asked for the supervisor.  Said he was out.  Then I asked for one of the agents at my door.  They said he was out.  I said out doing what.  They would not tell me, obviously.  I said I was going to call the police as I didn’t believe these guys were agents.  In the next minute or so, the supervisor called me back.  These guys were legit.

Now that I vetted them, it was time to get down to business.  The lead agent said he was sorry to inform me that I was on the ISIS Civilian Kill List.  What?

I think at that point my jaw dropped.  I sat down on my front porch.  I thought it must be a joke.  A bad joke.

They explained to me that in order to become a member of ISIS, you must kill an Infidel to get your jihad.  An Infidel is a Christian, like me.  So they published a Civilian Kill List for the United States lone wolf who wants to become a member of this illustrious group.

By this time I am envisioning running down my street with a crazed kid after me with a butcher knife so he could behead me in public.  Yikes!

Why was I on this list?  They could not say why, but that Quantico was analyzing the data, and they would let me know if they found anything.  My name and address was on the list, along with about a hundred other people.  They needed to find a common thread.

After I asked about a million questions, they told me I should:  get an alarm system, get a dog, get a gun, tell my family and friends and neighbors etc.  Be aware of my surroundings at all times.

Was I really in danger?  Is someone going come and kill me, in Antioch IL?  They didn’t know.  It was their responsibility to inform me of the situation.  They had already informed the Lake County Sheriff about the situation, and they were going to add patrols to my neighborhood.  Crikey!

After they left, I sat in shock for awhile.  Then I got in my car and drove to Red Dot Arms.  When I explained the situation to them, they really got excited.  They live for this kind of stuff!  They are all armed to the teeth.  Anyway, they spent a lot of time with me picking out a hand gun for me and showing me the basics.  They let me shoot it, and I wasn’t a fan.  But I bought the gun.  They literally wanted me to buy tear gas and shotguns and all kinds of rigmarole.  Geez!  I thought they were going to move in with me so they could get the chance to shoot a real bad guy!  (Trust me, I thought about it!)

Then I went and told my family, all of who live in my neighborhood.  They did not believe a word I said.  They said I was making up this story, for attention.  Like, what would they want with an old lady from Antioch?  Exactly.

It was Red Dot Arms that broke the case open.  They were called by several other people, who were also on my list!  These other people had gone on a church trip to Israel.  They had a Palestine guide, who apparently sold their church list to ISIS.  ISIS then filled out the list with random members of other Christian churches.

I called the FBI to let them know.  They were on the case too, and had come up with the same conclusion.  They came back out to talk to me, to calm me down.

So.  I got a deadbolt and started locking my door.  I told my Ozzy cat he was now the official guard dog.  I told my friends and other neighbors etc.  I started looking over my shoulder.

It was not the best summer after that.  I would practice how fast I could get my gun out of my safe, slap the cartridge in, and be ready to fire.  It took 6 seconds.  I would be dead by then, but was scared to keep my gun loaded and under my pillow or something.

I was scared of my gun, so I took a CCL class.  Didn’t help me overcome my fear.  My arthritis prevents me from firing the gun like a pro.  I have not used my gun since that class, three years ago.

Time has passed.  Nobody has shown up yet.  I am thinking they won’t.  ISIS is so last year.  At least I hope so.

I am no longer afraid of ISIS.  Now I am afraid of a mass shooter showing up at my school, or Wal-mart or church.  A domestic terrorist, home grown right here in the good old USA.  The chances of that happening to me are much better.

Kinda sad, huh?  Oh and if you dont believe my story either, here is a post from 2016 about civilian kill lists.

https://freebeacon.com/national-security/isis-kill-lists-increasingly-target-u-s-civilians/

 

 

 

Best time of my life

atkin colby

I grew up in a middle class family.  In high school I knew I wanted to go to college and be a teacher.  I worked really hard to save up money, and I ended up here, at Colby Hall at Illinois State University.  I was assigned the BEST roommate ever, more on that later!

We had the best time freshman year in Colby Hall with our floormates.  Made lots of friends, had lots of fun, even while living in a tiny room with a bathroom way down the hall.

StudentDorms_1973_C638B_ACCESS

This is a sample of the room that I shared with my roommate, Kathy, aka Fonsie.  We did not have curtains, or a TV.  Just plain simple basic room.  But when we pulled our beds out for the night, we would lay there talking, talking, talking, and Fonsie would teach me to sing.

Together with our friends across the hall, we became Little Sisters to the Lamba Chi Alpha fraternity, which introduced us to Greek life.  They were a pretty hard core frat, with lots of brothers that had just come back from Vietnam, and smoked pot pretty much all the time.  This was all very new to me, as I grew up in a bubble, lol. They introduced me to beer, and I became a huge fan.

lambda chi

Not a very impressive house, lol, but we had lots of fun there.  They were invited to leave campus for quite awhile, but I hear they are making a comeback this year.

We met a lot of new friends in the Greek life, and decided to “rush”.  We only had local houses back then, not national sororities, due to a clause with an Illinois State University  donor.  So we became members of Alpha Lambda Kappa.  It was a small house, and we all crowded in there, and became very close sisters!

Then the clause time was up, and all the National sororities and frats descended upon campus!  We finally chose to become Alpha Delta Pi, which is the oldest sorority, started in Macon Georgia.  Our symbol is the Diamond, and colors are blue and white.  Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of our original house, but here is where the ADPi girls live today.

ADPi

Aren’t they just beautiful girls!  How I wish I was back in college!  Seriously the best years of my life.  Even though I didn’t have much, and had to work while going to school, I had the love of my sisters and a feeling of family that I never had experienced before.  My roomie and I were inseparable, and we shared most everything!

So time passes.  I got married pretty much right out of college, and lost track of sisters over the years.  I always wondered about them, but this was way before the age of social media!  And life just gets in the way.

But about a year and a half ago, I was on Linked In, and saw my roomies brother listed.  I emailed him and asked him for Fonsie’s email.  She answered me!  I found her!  And she had kept in contact with others!  I was so excited!  We planned to meet up, it was about this time of year, one year ago.  We met for lunch and talked for hours and hours!  I was ESTASTIC!  So happy!

Sorority 4

Kathy is the one of the far right.  I think we all held up pretty good!  So we all have stayed in touch, and reached out to ever more sisters we found.  And lo and behold, we had an even BIGGER reunion this past summer!

Sorority 6

Aren’t we a bunch of hotties?  We had the best time, again talking for hours and catching up.  Now, since we went to a teacher’s college, most of my sisters were teachers.  I never became one because I changed my major to business due to a student teacher assignment that my parents did not approve of.  BUT.  After talking to all them, and a retired teacher friend of mine from the pool, I decided to try and become a Substitute Teacher this past summer.

It took me months and lots of time and effort and money and testing and assessments and a whole lot of other stuff, but in September, I finally achieved my dream from so long ago and became a teacher!  Luckily, where I sub, they actually let you teach.  I love it so much.  It invigorates this old lady!  I actually cried when I came home from my first teaching day!

AND.  Today.  I will see the Fab Four again!  We are meeting for lunch, just like we did last year at Christmas time!  I’m so excited.  I love these girls so much.  Stay tuned for a new picture shortly!

Pet Me Please!

owl

I am a huge animal lover.  I will pet any animal.  Dogs, cats, horses, bunnies.  But wild animals?  Everywhere I look nowadays, people are posting pictures of wild animals either as pets or petting them.  Squirrels.  Lots of baby squirrels that fell out of tree and people rescue them and take them home and raise them.  Some stay and never leave.  And they LOVE their people!  They LOVE to be petted!  They LOVE blankets!  So cute!

But wait a minute.  There is nothing like this in the wild.  The momma squirrel is not covering them with blankies and giving them binkies.  Owls aren’t closing their eyes and kissing each other.  Otters aren’t floating on their backs in bathtubs posing for pictures.

Just look on Facebook.  Every other post is a wild animal being petted or better.  Are there really all these people out there thinking, gee, I think I will bring home an owl and pet it?  Where are they coming from?  How is this happening?  Don’t these wild animals bite or have diseases?  The pictures make them look so cute and cuddly.

 

otter

I really thought I wanted a baby otter.  I mean, look at face!  But then I read that although they are very cuddly and loving, they are very smelly.  They like spreading their, um, feces, around.  Ok, that’s a deal breaker!  But in the wild, floating around with their babies on their bellies?  Too cute.

Most wild animals ARE smelly.  They purposely spread their scent around, in a variey of ways, which are not conducive to homes, to mark their territories.  Think of a house cat, which even though domesticated, still marks.  And walking your dog, having to stop at every tree and bush.  This is remnants of their wild side.

So, bottom line, I love the pictures and videos.  I pet my cats more now because of it.  And Izzy loves watching the videos with me. It is entertaining and beneficial for all of us, lol.

But I still wonder where they get all these animals/birds/reptiles…. and how do they know they will be friendly?  Don’t forget about Grizzly Man, who thought the bears loved him, until they ate him and his girlfriend.  And those videos of the lions running at the man, and they hugging him?  I’m not sure until the last second what their intention is.

So go hug a pet today.  Wild or otherwise.

 

Punky QB

qb

Happy Birthday to my most favorite QB! Most entertaining QB ever, famous for his sunglasses and headbands!  Made Chicago and people all over the country love the Bears again!  Jim, I hope you have a great birthday, I know you are suffering from Dementia and CTE.   He has been diagnosed with early onset dementia and still struggles with memory loss, severe headaches and depression.

What do I mean by that?  Well, Jim played in an era where the bigger the hit, the better!  he was a tough guy, and played injured all the time.  He suffered many concussions.  And thanks to Bennet Omalu, who was the first to discover CTE and bring it to awareness, things are getting better in the league.  (See the movie Concussion.  Seriously).

I mean, the Bears have a reputation for a fierce defense.  Many Hall of Fame players from that discipline.  And the Bears have also been known for weak offensive lines, leaving their QB exposed to sacks etc.  Better be a good scrambler!

I saw a documentary on TV a few years back about how Jim is doing post football. It was very depressing.

qb2

But, as luck would have it, he has improved as of late.

Per the Chicago Tribune, “In ESPN’s forthcoming “30 for 30” documentary, “The ’85 Bears” — which was shown at a private advance screening Wednesday night at AMC River East with McMahon in attendance — McMahon’s union with Atlas Orthogonal chiropractor Scott Rosa is chronicled as he continues to deal with the probability of significant brain damage.

In the film, Rosa reveals his diagnosis of McMahon, which showed that some of the former quarterback’s pain and head problems stemmed from neck misalignment that was restricting the flow of spinal fluid and causing toxic proteins to pool in his brain.

McMahon subsequently has received treatment that adjusts his spinal cord and regulates the flow of spinal fluid. In the film, McMahon said the first time he had the procedure, “it was like the toilet flushed. I could feel this stuff actually leaving my brain.”
Suddenly, his vision and speech improved.”

I am so happy to hear this.  Nobody deserves to live the way he was, after dedicating his life to football.  Unfortunately, the Bears are known for the most players with CTE, with some ending their lives because of it.  As a result, we have learned a lot about CTE and the effects of concussions while playing.  Hopefully things will be better for players now.

I will always remember Jimbo, and especially the ’85 Bears.  I think this says it all…..

We are the Bears Shufflin’ Crew
Shufflin’ on down, doin’ it for you
We’re so bad, we know we’re good
Blowin’ your mind like we knew we would
You know we’re just struttin’ for fun
Struttin’ our stuff for everyone
We’re not here to start no trouble
We’re just here to do the Super Bowl Shuffle

[Jim McMahon]
I’m the punky QB, known as McMahon
When I hit the turf, I’ve got no plan
I just throw my body all over the field
I can’t dance, but I can throw the pill
I motivate the cats, I like to tease
I play so cool, I aim to please
That’s why you all got here on the double
To catch me doin’ the Super Bowl Shuffle

qb3

Who do we believe in now?

catholic

Enter a caption

News headlines of late have focused on the Catholic sexual abuse scandal that erupted in Pennsylvania.  Unfortunately, this scandal has dodged the Church for a long time.

Back in 2015, the movie Spotlight, an award winning docudrama,  gives a detailed account of the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into the widespread pedophilia scandals and subsequent cover-ups within the Catholic Church. As per Justin Chang’s review from Variety, Spotlight was “a superbly controlled and engrossingly detailed account of the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into the widespread pedophilia scandals and subsequent cover-ups within the Catholic Church. This measured and meticulous ensemble drama sifts through a daunting pile of evidence to expose not just the Church’s horrific cycles of abuse and concealment, but also its uniquely privileged position in a society that failed its victims at myriad personal, spiritual and institutional levels.

Where the film proves extraordinarily perceptive is in its sense of how inextricably the Church has woven itself into the very fabric of Boston life, and how it concealed its corruption for so long by exerting pressure and influence on the city’s legal, political and journalistic institutions. Given the blurrier-than-usual separation of church and state, and the fact that the newspaper’s own readership includes a high percentage of Irish Catholics, it’s no surprise that it falls to an outsider like Baron — a Florida native and the first Jewish editor to take the helm at the Globe — to play hardball with the Archdiocese.”

But that was just one city’s problem with Catholic priests.  Recently, new revelations have come to light in Pennsylvania, which I fear is just the tip of the iceberg. Even the Pope is cracking down now in public, instead of sweeping it under the rug and moving predator priests around to different parishes like chess pieces.

And like the tip of the iceberg that took down the Titanic, even something that is considered bullet proof really isn’t.  In fact, that attitude makes it even more vulnerable when the cracks start to split open.  The major players start to scatter like rats from a sinking ship.  We have had many examples of this behavior throughout history, and not just with the church.  But I digress.

I think the Catholic church archaic rules of priests/nuns not marrying has landed themselves into attracting a certain kind of person who finds his pleasure elsewhere. Sometimes at the expense of innocent victims. Most other Christian religions allow marriage. Perhaps this would help.

As a Catholic, this issue of sexual abuse by priests has bothered me for a long long time, primarily because of all the payoffs and coverups. Now it seems to be coming to a head, with the revelations coming to light, at least monetarily.  For years now many Catholics have been financially boycotting the church. The Catholic church is the 3RD LARGEST LANDOWNER IN THE WORLD. Financially it is one the wealthiest organizations in the world, Number 1 for religious organizations with 200+BILLION, and on the world stage puts it on par with oil companies and Walmart.

To sum it up, this all is a sad commentary on the world’s largest religion, with nearly a third of the population of the world, with Islam coming in a very close second and poised to take over the number 1 spot in the foreseeable future.  And lets be honest,  Islam/Muslims scare many Americans, don’t they, since 911, which changed how we perceive Muslim-Americans.  The majority of Islam are very peace loving, but as with anything, a few radicals spoil the whole pot.

So what do we do to clean the Catholic house? Keeping in mind it is a VERY BIG HOUSE. It is as corrupt as any large corporation. Or government. In my honest opinion. What is yours?

Happy Holidays? Or Bah Humbug?

Posted last year.  I should post every year.

It’s the holiday season once again!  A joyous occasion!

Usually.

As I get older, I am more aware of the fragility of many people, both physically and mentally.  So many people have lost their partner/child, or never had one, and are facing the holidays alone, and yes, lonely.

What does lonely mean?  Google suggests the following:

lone·ly
ˈlōnlē/
adjective
  1. sad because one has no friends or company

Very different than alone.  Google suggests the following:

alone

[uhlohn

SpellSyllables

1.

separate, apart, or isolated from others:

I want to be alone.
So, you can see that there is a difference.  Some people like to be alone but most people don’t like to be lonely.
I remember visiting my mom in her final year at the nursing home.  She had Alzheimer’s and was slowly losing all functions.  She did not know what day it was, let alone if it was Christmas.  I always thought, maybe that was better.  Then she wouldn’t be lonely, per se.  Every day was a new day for her, and every visit was a new adventure, whether it was a holiday or not.
You see, I’ve been alone in a nursing home over a holiday.  I was alone, and I was lonely.  I spent almost 3 months there, alone in a room at the end of the hall, across from a very busy McDonalds.  The drive-up speaker was the voice that kept me company, until late in the night.  I could tell you what was ordered most frequently, and I could smell the french fries, which drove me crazy because I really really wanted some!  I used to pretend I could wheel my chair across a busy 4 lane highway, and roll right up to the drive-thru window, and order a cheeseburger and some fries!
I did have visitors, which I greatly appreciated!  Many people called, came to visit, sent fruit! or brought me McDonalds!  I was one of the lucky ones. There were others who had no one.    After dinner I would roll up and down the hall, and look to see if someone was alone in a room, and perhaps would like a visitor or want to chat.  There were people there in bad shape, and a kind word or two went very far.  At least I knew that MY ordeal was temporary.  Theirs, maybe not.  It just reinforced my goal of making it out of there in good shape.
So this holiday season, whether you love Christmas/Hannuaka/Kwanzaa whatever or not, please think of someone that might be lonely.  A simple hello could make someone’s day.  A card, or a visit or an invitation would send them over the moon.
I need to remember that more myself.  I need to reach out.  I need to help myself, and others not be lonely.  Sometimes you just need to make that call, grab that opportunity.
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas.  Peace, Joy and Love to all.

The Menendez Brothers

I recently watched the Law & Order Menendez Brothers treatment on TV.  This is a case that has fascinated me for years.  Two well-to-do brothers kill their parents in cold blood. I’m really conflicted about it.

Are they murderers?  Were they abused?  Did they really fear for their lives?  A picture perfect family.  Right?

Unfortunately, there is no good answer.  I think, like OJ, there has been too much publicity about all this.  Too many movies made, too much conjecture.

Unlike OJ, they did confess.  I almost wonder at what in the world they were thinking, after the murders, the way they acted and spent money on lavish lifestyles.  Did they think they were above the law?  Or smarter than the law?  Or did they just not think?

Everyone always looks to Erik as the weak one, the one that broke, that one that confessed.  I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for him.  Lyle seemed to be made of sterner stuff.  But regardless, however much you hate your parents, can you picture yourself waltzing into the den with shotguns and murdering your parents?  It seems maybe there SHOULD have been another answer.  Someone that could have helped them, protected them.

As a frame of reference, I think back to OJ, I personally never doubted his guilt.  Never gave him an ounce of sympathy.  He was violent, he was abuser.  He murdered out of jealousy and rage.  I’m just glad he did end up going to jail eventually, albeit not for murder.

The Menendez brothers?  I think it was a rash decision, that went very wrong.  They were still fairly young, perhaps not mature enough to understand the full ramifications of their actions.

So.  The brothers go to jail for life.  OJ is a free man today.  The brothers killed out of fear.  OJ killed out of rage.  Maybe.

#MeToo

So many, so very many people have come out lately to say #MeToo, about being sexually harassed or abused.  Seems like they are coming out of the woodwork.

And it’s not just women.  It’s men too.  And it’s not just Hollywood.  While this latest movement may have been sparked by the Harvey Weinstein scandal, it has quickly spread to many areas of life, including the music industry, sciences, academia and of course, politics.  Let’s face it, this problem has existed forever.  It is only now, in this day and age of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat etc. that this kind of movement can go viral overnight.  It only took ONE BRAVE PERSON to bust this out of its shell, and grow into #MeToo.

To me, it boiled down to people in a position of power over me.  People that held your career in their hands, or your reputation, or simply your life.  I grew up in an era of respecting your elders and not questioning authority.  If someone straddled the line of impropriety, we figured that was the way it was.  If someone crossed the line, we were too scared to push them back.

Luckily for me, it was more a question of sexual harassment than of actual abuse.  I have been harassed by more than one superior.  Made to feel uncomfortable.  Made to feel I’d better toe the line.  Made to feel that my job was on the line.  In fact, I left a great job at a great company because of it, and regret it to this day.

Now, those of you that know me well know that I am not a shrinking violet and I will speak up, sometimes to my detriment, about most anything that bothers me.  But back in the day, fresh out of college, and onto the working world?  Not really.  I was afraid of authority.  I was intimidated by men of power.  There were very few women of power.  The glass ceiling was still very low.

Today, I would raze them a new asshole.  Today, I am a grumpy old lady with nothing left to lose.  But today, if I had a child, I would hope that I had instilled enough of moral compass in them that they would know when things where going south.  That they would speak up and protect themselves by any means necessary.  I applaud this new #MeToo movement, and hope that it exposes enough that people will think twice before abusing their next victim.  No more hiding behind “power”.

P.S.  I’ve just GOT to get on a soapbox about one thing.  Donald Trump, while on the campaign trail, was on tape BRAGGING about sexually harassing people, grabbing them by the pussy etc.  Billy Bush, the TV Reporter, who was just asking the questions, got fired and his career was ruined.  Donald Trump was elected President.  Trump has as many, if not more, allegations against him as Weinstein.  But he claims this is all fake news.  The POLITICIANS, Democrats and Republicans alike, need to keep throwing these allegations at him and hope they stick.  But I doubt that will ever happen.  Trump has too much power.  In his own words he could shoot someone and still be elected.  But I am heartened to see that more and more Republicans are leaving their elected offices like rats fleeing a sinking ship.  We can only hope.

 

Treated like so much chattel

Interesting word, chattel.  I wasn’t sure if it was the right word to use.  I’ve heard and read it bantered about.  I always pictured it as meaning someone herded along.

Per Merriam Webster Dictionary, here is what they say:

Definition of chattel

1:an item of tangible movable or immovable property except real estate and things (such as buildings) connected with real property

2:slavebondman 

  • slaveholders who were determined to hold on to their human chattel

Interesting.

Recently I experienced the unique opportunity to be treated like chattel.  I was going to Florida, and was trying to get the best flight for my condition (really bad back, like 4 herniated disks and 2 micro disectomies, repaired not once but twice over the spring and summer).  I guess I am still recuperating.  I have good days and bad days.

Flying in and out of O’Hare and Orlando or anywhere is a nightmare for someone like me, who can’t walk very far all at once.  A short jaunt, sure.  A long one?  Pack a lunch.

So for the past few trips, I fly “disabled”.  Meaning a wheelchair picks me up at check-in, and takes me to my gate.  A wheelchair picks me up at my destination and takes me to the pick-up area.  It also means skipping the long security lines, and wheelchairs have their own special check through.

The first time, I flew American both ways, to Ft. Lauderdale.  It was such a blessing.  The man at O’Hare insisting upon staying with me in the chair until it was boarding time, and then he wheeled me right up to the plane door.  He also stopped along the way to the gate for me to use the restroom, and also get a bottle of water and snack pack for the plane.  Obviously he got a good tip.

In Florida, a wheelchair was waiting for me when I got off the plane, and took me right out to cousin who was waiting curbside.  Perfect.  He got a good tip too.  Worth every penny, not having to struggle along, with a bad back and luggage etc.

Same great service from Ft. Lauderdale back to Chicago with American.

The second time I flew, to Tampa, I flew United out and American back.  There was no wheelchair waiting for me at United, and I had to walk a distance to get to the “wheelchair assistance” room.  Then I had to wait for someone to come get me.  They took a long time getting me through security.  As I was now running out of time, I didn’t dare ask them to stop along the way for anything, and just had them dump me out at the gate.  He got a fair tip.

Arriving in Tampa, more problems with United.  They didn’t have a wheelchair waiting for me off the plane.  I had to wait, and was upset because my friend was already there to pick me up.  Finally got moving and met up with my friend inside the terminal.  Eh.

Flying home on American, I wanted to kiss them right on the mouth.  Once again perfect service.  Always ready and waiting.

This last time I flew to Orlando, on United both ways.  I REALLY wanted to fly American, but the flight times weren’t as good.  So I crossed my fingers.

Flying out, a waiting game again.  Luckily I had anticipated this and left plenty of time before the flight.  I waved them off as soon as I got to the gate, and then walked myself and my luggage to the restroom and the kiosk to get my water and snack pack.

Again more waiting at the gate in Orlando.  My poor old Aunt and Uncle outside waiting and waiting for me.  But, eh, better than hurting myself walking all that way.

Now back to Chicago.  Oh good Lord.  Landing in Chicago, no wheelchair again.  Down the tunnel I walked and then I was told to go sit on one of those big cart like things you see people riding around on inside the airport.  The cart was full, and I was told to step up this high step and sit on the back bench seat.  My carry-on was thrown next to me.  The cart took off at full speed, and I almost fell sideways out of the cart.  One of the people told the driver to slow down, and he slammed the cart to a stop, walked back by me, buckled me into a seatbelt I hadn’t known was there, and then took off madcap again.  Along the way he dropped people off here and there.  I had told him to drop me off at the upper level doors for United.  He pulled up, pointed down a long hallway and said, go there and then take a right.  Really?  This was my handicapped wheelchair ride?  Treated like so much chattel?  This guy got zero tip.  Nada.  Zilch.

Now I understand how cattle feel.  Or slaves.  Or any other group of people that get herded around, taken who knows where, with no say in the matter.  Just pushed and shoved where they wanted to take you.  I seriously felt used and abused.  It wasn’t a good feeling.

I was a little mad/sad about the whole thing, but then got home and quickly forgot about it.  Until now, lol.  No, actually, I have been thinking about it, and I do think that United needs to hear from an unsatisfied customer like myself, and the exact reasons and circumstances that cause me to be an unsatisfied customer.  People deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, not like so much chattel.