So long and thanks for all the fish

I have had people tell me that I can be cold at times. I had an astrological chart done one time and it said that I my personality was conducive to being either a saint or a mafia boss. I suppose both of those life paths need control over their emotions and the ability to maintain rational thought during a crisis. I am far from either position, but I hope I am leaning toward the saint. I do a lot of people watching. I think part of it comes from a lack of socialization as a child. I love the show Dexter and can somewhat relate in a way when he watches people to see how they respond to different situations. I guess that comes from feeling like you never fit in. I have dabbled in art for most of my life and have always been fascinated with the human body and faces. Being able to read people’s faces and body language has come in handy over the years. It can be a survival mechanism.

I don’t like drama and I think most of those people that have accused me of being cold have been wrapped up in their own drama and I didn’t feed into it. I empathize with people that have been dealt problems that they had no control over, but most of the problems that we have in our lives are a result of choices that we have made over time. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t judge people on their choices, but there comes a time where we need to recognize the choices we make and acknowledge them. That doesn’t mean we won’t continue to make bad choices, but hopefully we will recognize them quicker and resolve the consequences quicker.

I have been a worst case scenario thinker for a long time. I feel more comfortable planning for crisis and being able to say “well, that went better than I thought it would”. I worked for a number of years with people that live with Developmental Disabilities. We had group homes, a children’s home and people that lived in the community on their own. If you did not plan for the disasters, it wasn’t just your butt on the line. Plus, you had to try to keep one step ahead of staff people and the problems they brought with them. Staff are nothing if not creative. There was a staff member one time that had developed a “Sugar Daddy” relationship with a local attorney. Which is a perfectly fine relationship if both parties are agreed on what they both want and they don’t bring it to the workplace. They asked the other staff person to act like one of the residents, so she could have the attorney stop by the house. The staff person that called us didn’t know if there were drugs involved or not. There was an impromptu stake-out, calls to the police and I believe a termination meeting.

I applied to a secretarial job after 12 years of putting out fires, dealing with the state and employees, sometimes violent behavioral incidents, DCFS, police, and pagers. It was in a agricultural related field. In my interview, they were a bit taken aback when they said “the customers can sometimes be unhappy and would I be able to handle someone like that?” and I horse laughed. I believed that being certified to teach Non-Violent Physical Crisis Intervention, having implored someone to hit me with the baseball bat instead of someone else, dealing with a woman whose husband put a hit out on me (in some places $40 and a carton of cigarettes will get you a lot), and having a staff member try to blackmail me with false accusations probably meant I could handle an irate farmer.

I suppose that’s why I have little patience for “drama”. When people would complain about a rough meeting, I would pull out my award winning topper: “Have you ever sat across from a man and had to have a discussion regarding masturbatory lubricant alternatives to feces?” Once the horrified look faded they usually felt better about their meeting.

The human being’s ability to use others has always amazed me. A good portion of time helping people in the community was devoted to trying to educate them on how not to be taken by someone else. Even when someone had barely enough to survive, there was always someone else that seemed to think “I could use that”. It’s very difficult to teach how to spot a con or a user without teaching the process itself. After living this long, I now see it happens at all levels of society.

Before we were married, my Husband’s family took us along on a family vacation. They love to go on cruises. They get very good deals and I really enjoyed myself. We went on a seven-day cruise from Miami to the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and St. Thomas. In my mind, my favorite moments were the still, quiet ones. We stood on the bow of the ship one night and I saw the stars from horizon to horizon and for the first time understood how sailors could steer by the stars. I got up early when we were coming in to San Juan and stood silent on the deck with a few like-minded passengers and watched the sun rise over the island.  The sounds of the waves crashing into the ship as we plowed through the sapphire waters of the Atlantic. Those are my favorite memories of the trip.

We did several excursions that were a lot of fun. We went out on a smaller boat to a submarine and got to see the coral reef off of St. Thomas at a depth of about 100 feet. We took a “party boat” to a secluded beach and spent a couple of hours. The other excursion we went on was in the Bahamas. We took a separate boat out to the “Blue Lagoon” island. They have a place there where they have habitat for Dolphins. The island was beautiful. You had a couple of options, you could get in a pool with the Dolphins or rent a wetsuit and swim with them. I chose the first as 1) I don’t swim, and 2) I would look like a Sea Lion in the wet suit and I didn’t want to scare the poor creatures!

The pool was a bit chilly, but we got in a few at a time and in came the Dolphins and their trainers. These are some amazing creatures! A miracle of aerodynamics and intelligence. One trainer brought a Dolphin toward me. I got to stroke the skin and the trainer signaled and the Dolphin came forward for a hug and a kiss. I was fascinated at first and then disappointed in the whole experience. The only reason this amazing creature interacted with me was because they were getting some fish afterwards.

I know, I could look at the whole world this way. Sales people are only nice to you because they want to make a sale (maybe not so much in some places), politicians are nice to you because they want your vote, the bartender listens to you in hopes of a tip, strippers are only nice to you when you have a fistful of dollars, and Dolphins only come around when there is a promise of fish. People that come into your life wanting something you have will just take and say “So long”. I have actively tried in the past few years to try to surround myself with people where I have nothing they need. I hope by that, they are around me for me for the purpose of getting to know me, not what they can get from me. I hope I can be that kind of friend to others.

So now you know the meaning of the title of my blog, dolphins and strippers. I hope that doesn’t mean your done checking in with me.

BTW, if you were wondering…creamy peanut butter. 🙂


3 responses to “So long and thanks for all the fish

  1. I don’t feel so bad now at being called “jaded” and “dark” so often. You are so my sister for understanding the “glass probably has a hole in it” philosophy.

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