Posts Tagged ‘police’

From Garbage Bags

October 24, 2015

To graduate school.

I was sitting in my Therapeutic Communications class and something was said about the video we had just watched, a really intense video of Nancy McWilliams demonstrating psychoanalysis with a woman who was trying to negotiate a domestic abuse situation.

It was a surreal story.

It was just an hour of therapy and so much ground got covered and the therapist was amazing, directing subtly, strengthening the client, reflecting back to her, empathizing with the client.

I got a lot out of it.

A LOT.

I also got annoyed with a fellow in my cohort who kept asking questions.

Pushing questions that, as I saw it, were serving the person asking them but then, the professor used the questions to illustrate some key points in the reading we had to do for class and also to help teach the class some really salient information about being a therapist.

We, as a class, were then invited to see how our own need for resolution may be at odds with the clients.

I remember flaring up inside when the questions were being asked and feeling that there was this well of antipathy inside me.

I got annoyed.

Then I realized that I was annoyed because if I had been that woman, if I had been that client, and the solution was to get me to see a solution immediately, I wouldn’t have been able to get there, in fact, I would have said, fuck you, fuck the therapy, and I will deal with this on my own.

In effect.

What I did do.

On my own.

With a lot of help from some close friends, I got out of an abusive relationship.

It was not physically abusive until the end.

He hit me when I broke up with him.

I ran out into the street.

In the middle of January with no socks on, a pair of jeans underneath a flannel nightgown.

Now.

For those of you that know me, this is highly unusual.

Even in the dead of winter.

Even in Wisconsin.

Even in January with below freezing temperatures.

I always, since I was about 17 and the step father moved out of the house, I always, slept in the nude.

That night.

I wore a nightgown.

Intuition.

Premonition.

I don’t know.

I can’t say.

But I did.

And when I ran shivering, scared, uncertain where to go and which direction to take.

I knew I couldn’t go running down East Johnson Street, he would find me too fast.

I ran to the Sentry Shopping Centre that was on East Washington.

I ducked along the cement walls and found my way to a pay telephone, remember those?

I called 911.

I got a response and they said they would be sending a car out to me.

That was when I heard my ex-boyfriends car.

In all actuality, our car, it was just as much mine as his, we had both bought it, an older Jetta.

I could hear it turning and I hoped it was heading toward East Johnson.

But.

It wasn’t.

And I got frantic with the operator on the phone and tried to cram myself down into that very small phone booth and make myself invisible in my flannel nightgown with corn flowers on white cotton, with a ruffled that was piped with blue ribbon, with cuffs that reminded me of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Little House on the Prairie.  I watched the car, the little blue Jetta grinding up the street, hoping against hope that he could not see me flattened against the wall of the phone booth.

I believe.

Looking back.

That was the last time I ever wore a flannel night-gown.

It’s been thirteen years since that night.

Almost fourteen.

Will be fourteen in January.

That’s when I left him.

The operator on the 911 call held me together until the police arrived to take me to a friend’s house.

I will never forget the way the lights looked wicking past the back seat window, the calls coming in over the radio, the destination never seeming further away as the sodium street lights glowed sullen in the snow, the hush of the streets, the lack of traffic, the drive around the lake on John Nolan Drive.

Then my friend’s house.

I refused to talk to the police.

I did not give up the ex-boyfriend.

I was too co-dependent.

I did not want him to get in trouble.

He got in trouble anyway, it just took a little longer.

I suppose I could have navigated it differently, but I didn’t know the difference and I didn’t know how to do it.

I do now.

But I look back at that girl, that young woman with such love and compassion, what I went through to get from there to here.

And.

How long I told myself that it was normal, that it was something that happened, that I could somehow normalize the trauma of fleeing my own home in my nightgown in January in Wisconsin.

I was isolated.

My friend, my best friend and her husband were in town visiting and they noticed it.

Another friend and her partner were in town.

They all had tried to get me to see the light at some point.

My ex-boyfriend pretty much blamed them for the timing of the break up.

He was probably right, but I did not understand how much until later.

My best friend navigated me going into work the next day to tell them I had an emergency and was leaving town for the weekend.

The plan was to get my stuff and take me up North to Hudson where I could chill out and figure out what I had to do next.

I was in shock.

My ex saw us leave my place of employment, he had been driving around Madison all night looking for me and who knows how many times he was circling the block where I worked.

He whipped into the parking lot and flew out of his car, our car.

He tried to get to me.

He tried to talk to me.

My friends were all in shock.

Then.

He spit on me.

Full on in the face.

Suddenly the guys stepped forward and corralled him.

My friends got me into the back of their car.

We pulled out burning rubber.

Two seconds later my ex got in his car and pursued.

My friend’s husband lost him after a few intersections.

We flew to my house.

I unlocked the door and having no idea what to do, I grabbed a large black garbage bag and threw random clothes into it.

I ran around my house.

My sweet little home that I had lived in, nested in, hosted Christmas dinners and Thanksgivings in, had made our home, was now an unfamiliar territory or terror and fear and I just had to get out of it.

My ex didn’t get back to the house before I left.

I was that fast.

I huddled in the back seat of my friend’s Saturn and numbly watched the landscape go by.

I remember passing a refinery and thinking how spooky and eery and utterly beautiful it was in the night with the flashing lights and the mists shimmering into the black void of sky.

I reflected on this in class.

All the memories that came up.

Then the tears.

The joy of knowing, that despite myself, for it would be another long year and a half before there was closure and ultimately, really not until I moved to San Francisco in 2002 did I get finality on the relationship (he stalked me for a year and a half and I got a restraining order that he violated once then he got to go jail and do work release through the Huber program the city had in place for inmates with work release options, two full years of restraining order and yet I saw him twice more before things were all said and done.  Ah alcoholism, how I love thee, not), I had made it out.

I made it out.

I had tears of utter gratitude and awe on my cheeks at how far I have come.

From being a woman fleeing her own home with a garbage bag full of random grabbed things.

To a fully self-supporting, radically self-reliant, strong, resilient, loving, kind, compassionate, tender-hearted woman.

From garbage to graduate school.

A small transformation.

A flowering woman in bloom.

A wide open heart.

Vulnerable and strong.

“We both were tempered by fire,” my friend told me, leaning into me in sweet confidence, “but the heat of your fire was hotter than mine, and I want you to know I acknowledge that.”

Tempered.

Strong.

Flexible.

And full of empathy and compassion.

For the client on the video screen who couldn’t get out.

And.

For myself.

The woman who did.

My life continues to unfold.

And amaze.

I am graced.

I.

Really.

Truly.

Am.

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Bonsoir

March 14, 2015

Indeed.

It is a beautiful night out there and I am planning on wearing some sandals tomorrow.

The energy is full on rut out there as well.

Folks all gussied up.

High heels and spring dresses.

Boys out in their t-shirts with no jackets.

The bar scene a riot of activity already.

The line at Safeway for booze off the hook.

FYI shopper in aisle one through three you cannot self check out your booze, nice try underage girls.

I had to laugh when I was checking out.

The folks in front of me had a bottle of Tanqueray, the big guy, and a bottle of Shwepp’s tonic, a small guy, you might need more mixer there hey.

Or not.

Then there was me with, I kid you not, 8 lbs of apples and a gallon and a half of unsweetened vanilla almond milk and some organic black berries.

After me, divided from the haul of apples I purchased (they were so pretty and they’ve been on sale and I don’t usually buy apples from Safeway, but I tried this one and was pretty impressed–the Envy–reminds me a bit of a Jonagold but slightly denser and sweeter) and almond milk was the gentleman behind me.

One handle of vodka.

Four large bags of gummy bears.

FOUR.

And not the small packet, either, rather the large like 64 oz ones.

In addition, one pack of Dixie cups.

All I could think was that it was some sort of party shot–Gummy Bears and vodka anyone?

Otherwise, the man needs some serious help.

Speaking of serious help, a lot of crazy out there too, not alcohol crazy, although that might be playing a factor in the mix, but crazy crazy.

I had to call the cops on a woman at the park who was having an episode in the public bathrooms at Mission Pool and Playground.

I wasn’t sure if she was getting high in a stall, but she was profane, like Tourette’s profane and loud and she was scaring the crap out of the boys.

Which, though I am deep in the potty training phase with the youngest boy, is not how I want to induce him to poop.

I asked her to quiet down and she screamed and said call the cops and go gentrify the Mission some more.

Hate to break it to you lady, I’m not the one gentrifying the Mission.

I’m barely paying rent in the Outer Sunset.

Suffice to say when the swearing and screaming didn’t tone down, I did call the police.

She freaked out and almost attacked me, but rushed out of the bathroom instead.

The five-year old was spooked, but neither boy saw the woman and both of them accepted my explanation that she was sick and the police were going to come and help her.

Which they did.

She ran out of the bathroom, dashed through the park, then into the American Sign Language after school program.

At least the kids didn’t hear 18 different shades of “fuck” and “cunt” and “bitch.”

Grateful I didn’t have to have a physical alteration and more grateful that the police officer had Jr Police Officer stickers for the boys and they shook their hands and introduced themselves while I made the statement.

I may be pausing in this blog to take a phone call from the Frenchman.

It’s been interesting watching this unfold.

I’m, so far, mildly interested, but mostly because he’s so literate and artistic and says all the right words about French art and cinema and he did theater in New York and it sounds so completely different from my ex that I am intrigued.

I am still gunning for a sober guy.

FYI.

But I’m going to let myself practice with guys outside the fellowship.

He wants to meet me and is intrigued by me and that’s nice and I’m sure he’s sweet.

However.

Holy shit that was too long a phone call.

I just got held hostage, although, I must say I did participate in the allowing myself to stay on the phone too long.

It was nice to talk to someone who knows Paris and reminisce a little about my time there and actually speak a little French.

Just enough to get me in trouble as they say.

Ah dating.

I said I would meet for coffee, but I think we are not quite the match.

It is nice to talk to a man about art though, he’s a professional lithograph restorer as well as a frame maker and artist with a little studio in a cottage in Pac Heights.

Rent control oh how I am jealous.

Dating.

I don’t care if I do and I don’t care if I don’t.

Right now it’s about being free about trying it and seeing if anything happens but not having expectations or hopes.

Just being me and acting if it appears appropriate.

This phone call was practice.

And if I am bored, which I was a little by the end, it’s a tell.

So perhaps not a date.

I don’t know.

It could be that I am tired too.

It’s been a full week.

All the emotions around graduate school, busy week with the boys, lots of bicycling, I’m tired and that’s not much of a surprise.

I am going to sleep well tonight.

The ocean is soft in the back ground.

The night is warm enough that I had the majority of my half hour conversation on the pack patio in my pajamas and bare feet.

I have a fresh sparkly pedicure ready for sandals tomorrow and a baby shower to go to in Berkeley.

I’m going to play the rest of the day by ear, but I suspect I will be around the Inner Sunset around 6 p.m. and possibly back out to the beach by sunset.

I’ll be enjoying the down time no matter what.

Bonne nuit.

My chickadees.

And happy fucking weekend.

Sorry.

Crazy lady rubbed off a little.

My Hero

July 5, 2012

Police Officer Green of the Mission police department.

Good Guys one.

Bad Guys zero.

Today I went for a ride in the back of a squad car.  I did not know how uncomfortable the back seats are.  I always had this idea that they were cushy, maybe a little saggy where the springs broke, dented in.  Sort of like what you imagine the back of an old Crown Vic would feel like.  I think I was having TJ Hooker re-run flashbacks.

The back seat was not a cushion at all but one large slab of hard sterile, black, molded plastic.

Just hard plastic, absolutely no cushion, and they buckle into not with seat belts, oh, no, but harness restraints.  It was like suddenly being a child in a very secured, and scary, safety seat.

I promise, I was a good girl, I did not have to be restrained.

But if you had heard me screaming in rage, in blind fury, and in vast frustration behind the closed-door of the dressing room at work, you might have thought that I needed to be restrained.

The leg room in the back of the squad car is also not leg room.  How does any one over six-foot even manage to get comfy?

I suppose comfort was not at the top of the list when they designed the back seat.  See hard plastic seat note above.

I had a sudden insight as to all the movies that I have seen where the perpetrator is tossed into the back of a squad car and their knees are all scrunched up, they were being true to the economy leg room.  Economy is being nice, there really was nowhere to put my legs.

The other thing to notice about being in a squad car is that there is a strip of plastic across the side window at eye level.  So, if you happened to be being filmed, the camera would have a dark strip across where your eyes should be.

This is good for the paparazzi not getting a clean shot of your mug as you are hustled off to the clink.

It is also good for staying hidden behind so that when you do a slow roll up on the perp, listen to me!  You, can’t be identified either.

This was why I was in the back of the squad car, to identify the criminal.

I had already been identified as the victim.

My Iphone was stolen at work.

Motherfucker.

I was alone today, it being a holiday and all, and I had a couple (shit you not, double dip bike design) come in to do his and hers bicycles.

As I was undoing the bikes from the locks up front I noticed a man walking rapidly into the store.  I was nervous, not particularly thinking I was about to get ripped off, but more like the store was wide open and I was not available to help a customer purchase a leg strap.

I got the couple off together on their test rides and I hurried into the store to help the man who had gone in.

There was no one there.

The shop was silent.

The shop was empty and the music was not playing.

Why did the music stop playing?  I wasn’t playing Pandora, which always seems to interrupt itself piously with the, “we pay for every song line, are you still listening,” then turns itself off.

No, I had my Iphone connected to the MAC book and, wait, where’s my Iphone?

FUCK YOU!

NO!

I dashed back outside and looked frantically around.  Then I ran over to Paxton Gate Curiosities for Kids and asked the two girls there if they had seen anything.  And one of them had!  She dashed out and looked around.  But the guy was gone.

When she came back in we called the cops.

Futile.

What is the point?

Why even bother, your phone is gone.

But, I did.  I am still not sure why I did.  But the same thing had happened recently to a co-worker and I felt obligated to report it, plus, I was going to need paperwork to make a claim on the phone.

So, I called.

The couple come back from their test rides, the mechanic comes over from across the street and I explain that the police are on their way to take a report, my phone has been stolen.

The couple is sweet as pie, I insist that I can do their bike designs, but I am so bummed out and distracted, even though I am trying to put a positive spin on the entire incident.  The couple pat my arm and say, “we’re hungry, we’re going to go get tacos and come back.”

Fuck, great, and now I lost a sale too.

Fuckity, fuck, fuck, fuck.

The police showed in less than five minutes.

I walked them through exactly what had happened.

As I am talking about what happens the police radio crackles, the cop looks at me, says, hang on and asked me for a physical description.

Despite seeing the man from behind, I got a good description of him.  He had a distinctive hair style and I remembered it.

“Are you willing to try to identify him, we are holding a suspect at 22nd and Guerrero?”

Hell yes I am.

I am escorted in the squad car.  I get to know the officers.  Officer Green has a six-year-old daughter and he’s trying to fix her bike tire and do I have any suggestions.

You know what?  I did.  I love it.

I got into the experience of riding in the cop car, almost enjoying the flagrant violation of traffic laws, ok, totally enjoying it, when we pull up across the way on Guerrero.

“That him?” asks the second officer.

Fuck.

I can’t tell.  Yes, same body build, height, looks like the same clothes, but I never got a good look at the man’s face and as I stare with my x-ray vision, I realize in my heart, I can’t say yes.

“I don’t know,” I replied dejectedly.

All the while every pore in my body is screaming, “shake him down, shake him down, damn it!”

We drive back to the shop.  The police report to the other officers on duty, I can’t make a positive id.

But the girl at Paxton Gate can.

She is totally gung-ho to do it too.  I thought I was being an imposition to even ask, and she jumped at the chance.

Apparently they have been suffering from a rash of recent thefts too–one of the girls had her phone lifted last week.

And she did.

She positively id’d the guy.

HOLY CROW.

I did not know this.  I was busy screaming in rage in the dressing room.  I was mad at the man who stole my phone and I was mad at me for not paying better attention and at the bottom of it I was just plain scared to be out that kind of money.

But I heard customers coming in and I wiped my face and I breathed and I went back the fuck to work.

I pulled up an invoice and as I was about to write a staff e-mail detailing what happened a police officer walked in carrying a white Iphone.

“Is that my phone?”  I said, leaping up from behind the desk.

“Are you the girl who had her phone stolen?”

“Yes, is that my phone?  I can tell you right now what the screen saver is,  a photo of me with the little girl I used to nanny.”

He waved his finger over it and there was my smiling face and an incoming text message right on the front from Tanya.  “Oh, my God, that’s my phone,” I grabbed it and hugged the cop.

I hugged a cop.

Never saw that one coming.

“Hang on, now, I may need to keep it as evidence until the report has been filed,” the cop said taking it back.

Dude.

REALLY?

Then Officer Green came in, big smile, “your phone?”

Oh yeah.  I told him how to identify it, I told him about the nanny picture, how astounding I had gotten to actually have a conversation with him about his own little girl, something softens in his face when he sees the photo of me and my charge.

He took a picture of me holding the phone, took a picture of the phone, then scrolled to my camera roll, an Instagram photo of me smiling, has me hold the phone by my face, I smile, the store smiles, the whole world smiles, and snaps a photo.

He gave me the phone.

“We won’t be needing to keep this,” he said.

I am doing internal back flips, “you bring your daughters bike in and I will personally fix it.”

All the cops high-five me, I almost hugged them all again.

Twenty minutes later the couple come back!  We all do a jig and I sell two bikes!

Good Guys

A Trillion.

Bad Guys.

Zero.


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