Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The night before the morning after


I talked with my Jamaican friend and asked her to recommend someone I could use as my replacement. She did. I talked to the lady, who had a very interesting vibe about her. I felt like I was the one looking for a job and she was the boss. Whatever. To cut a long story short, I told my boss I was leaving the Sunday and I was due to fly out the following Wednesday. He seemed shocked that I would want to leave. Trust me, If you were in my shoes, some of you may not have lasted a day in that job. I won’t go into detail.
I told him I had two a few people lined up to take over my job. He wanted to interview them, I gave them the names and numbers. He liked the first one. The interesting one. He was like, ok, Brook, would you like this lady to start tomorrow (Monday). I was like, uhm, no, Wednesday! What the heck! I told him, I was going to leave Wednesday morning. What is this? Was I getting fired AFTER I quit?
As usual, Boss was behind in paying me. He owed me three week’s salary. He promised to bring my cheque (by the way, Cheque in American English is spelt Check) on Wednesday. He was very nice about the whole thing, once he found a replacement he was happy with. The lady was a Jamaican who lived in New York. Boss was going to pick her up from the bus station, and then drop me off wherever I needed to go. Which came in handy because I didn’t really know how I was going to get to the airport.
That's her in the Trash room
My poor suitcase, had been abused so much, it couldn’t take it anymore, one of the tires gave in. I had to get rid of it. I didn’t have enough time to buy luggage online and had it reach me before I left. I was not about to leave my stuff with someone else to hopefully ship it for me later. Oh heyll Naw! I packed everything in boxes, got a ride from a very nice nurse who always offered to give me a ride should I need it, I decided to take her up on it. She dropped me off at the post office. I was going to take a cab on my way back. The drive there didn’t seem that long. I shipped my stuff, it cost me almost $100 (+-R1 000). Perry promised to pay me back all that, which I wasn’t too comfortable about. Having someone pay me back for shipping my own stuff! Apparently, Perry is such a gentleman, he wouldn’t let a woman spend a dime of her own money!
My Stuff. Packed to the Brim
Anyway, whenever I got a chance to go for a walk, I did. I needed it! I was happy to walk back to the facility from the post office. Silly me, what the heck was I thinking! First of all, It was much colder than I imagined. Having been locked up in an airconditioned apartment for weeks, then into an airconditioned car got me fooled. It was freeeezzziiiinngggg! I had leggings on, a short sleeved top and SANDALS! Clearly, I was already in a California State of mind. When I realised how far the place was, I was probably halfway between the facility and the post office. AND I didn’t cave cash with me! I couldn’t take a bus or anything, not that there were any in that deserted road. Everywhere looked more deserted than they probably were after the hurricane. There were trees all over the sidewalks. I decided to call a cab, that’s when I realised that my phone had died! I couldn’t use my GPS to find a shorter walking route, couldn’t do nothing, I HAD TO WALK BACK! I was half frozen! Remember, we had a snow storm in New Jersey just after the hurricane. This was just after the storm. The snow had melted but the temperatures hadn’t improved at all.
View from the balcony
People looked at me like I was weird walking that road dressed like that. Maybe they didn’t but I felt that way. I remember a police car stopping to ask me where I was coming from and where I was going, they probably thought me suspicious. That was before I decided I couldn’t walk there. IF it were after, I would’ve asked them for a ride or to use their phone.
I felt like I was in a horror movie! I didn’t know what was going to happen next. The cars that I saw were going the opposite direction, nothing toward my direction. Crap! What now? I kept walking and walking, the closer I thought I was, the farther I seemed to be. Where the heck is this place! My hands and feet were frozen, and my uhm, lady parts that are protruding? Year those, were like ice balls. The worst thing that could happen to me that day was for me to take the wrong turn.  The more I walked, the more I wondered if I was on the right track. I saw signage with the name of the hospital which is right next to the facility. That gave me hope. Apparently they have an ATM over there. I thought I’d go in there and withdraw some money. I needed to thaw (defrost) more than anything else.
When I got closer to the hospital, I tried to walk towards the main entrance, but the building seemed to move further, the closer I got to it. I was like darn it, I’m not doing this! Five minutes later, I was at the facility. I had never been happier to arrive at that place in my life!

It had got so dark outside, I felt like I was gone for ages. I was frozen. I remember bumping into the boss in the hallway. Someone had told her I was leaving, she wanted to tell me how mad she was at me for leaving. I let her feel my hand, she told me to go stand in front of the fire place. I did. For a moment, I thought I was too cold to feel the heat from the fire but then saw the residents looking me like I was a lunatic. Turned out, the thing was off. Oops. 
I ran upstairs and took a long shower. You know you’re cold when you have a tingling sensation when you come across heat. The last time I had that feeling, which was also my first, was in Georgia, after walking in flooded streets, with snow and it was hailing outside. When I tried to heat my feet up, I could die from that weird tingling feeling. Have you ever had such a thing happen to you? I talked to Perry a little bit on the phone, once I had it charged. Everything seemed so real! My closet was empty, All I had were my laptop bag (heaviest thing you can ever carry, two heavy external hard drives, laptop, and everything else that can fit in it. I wasn’t going to take a chance and ship them, too fragile, and the handbag, filled to the brim J
I had printed my ticket, called American Airlines to confirm everything, I really was leaving the following day. I went to bed around 10pm, pooped! I got up after 11pm frm the worst stomach ache ever! You know when you’re sleeping and you dream that you’re sick and wake up actually sick? Yup, that’s what happened! I was tossing and turning in bed, trying to get my beauty slip. I wanted to enjoy my trip to the West Coast. No such luck! I drank warm water, took , baking soda (bicarbonate of soda),nothing! I was sweating bullets, trying to be as quiet as possible so as not to wake Avon up. The pan pierced through my stomach to my back onto a muscle along the spinal chord. It felt like a bubble that I couldn’t burst. I BBMed my sister who apparently suffers from that kind of condition, long story. She told me to lay on the floor on my back and to do some exercises. Kinda like riding a bicycle? There I was on the floor, sweating like a racehorse, riding an air bicycle in the middle of the night. I would take breaks and sit on the floor right by the corner of the frame of the bathroom door and massage the back muscle with the corner of the thing. The pain would then move to the front, back and forth, back and forth. Gosh!
I texted Perry. He was freaking out. He told me to go to the hospital. I could tell he thought I was having a case of cold feet but was still supportive. Two hours later, I was still on the floor not knowing what the heck to do with myself. I went to the nurse’s station to ask for something. Normally, they don’t give out meds to anybody other than the residents, hence my taking so long to ask. Desperate times! Fortunately, they had the nice big guy that night. He’s so cool. When the residents who can’t walk fall, he picks them up like, it’s they’re lightest thing ever. He’s amazing! Anyway, he told me that sounded like a gas bubble or something else I forgot cos I kinda knew it was gas. I had had a similar pain a few times before whenever I had bread more than two days in a row. That only started while living at the facility. Nothing that serious though, either in the tummy or back, not both at once in the middle of the night before I fly across the country! The nurse gave me two tablets, I was supposed to chew them then drink a glass of water. I did. Twenty minutes later, I was exhausted from tossing and turning, riding air bicycles and all, I went back to bed. I could feel the pain going away slowly. Wwwhhhheeewww!
I must have fallen asleep after 3am. I did send my sister and Perry texts before I dozed off. They were both so nice, they kept me company the entire time. I was up around 5. I was expecting the new lady around 7am, i had to be ready by then. I washed my linen and my sweaty clothes from the night before. Nobody wants to sit next to that smell on the planeJ! I was supposed to be at the bus stop at 9am, They had free shuttles running from New Jersey to New York because public transport wasn’t running as normal (thanks to Miss Hurricane Sandy). No, seriously, thank you! For saving us some money! Who doesn’t want a free ride? Boss’ wife, was a tad bit late dropping the new girl. I was beginning to panic when they showed up. The girl looked friendlier than she sounded over the phone, thank Goodness for small miracles!
Avon hadn’t talked to me the whole morning. She was ignoring me. We introduced the new girl to her. I showed the girl around. When it was time to say my final goodbye to Avon, I found her crying L uncontrollably. That made me sad L What a ride it had been Working for her! I was ready to get the heck out of there and enjoy America, but sad to see her cry. It was hard for me to leave her in that state but I had to rush, else I was going to miss the bus. I punched the address into my GPS, Boss wife took me to “her car” in the parking lot. The doors wouldn’t open. She kept pressing and pressing the remote, turns out, NOPE, WRONG CAR! Hers was a Jeep, she was trying to open a Hyundai or something like that. Hey, they were both white! WE rushed for the bus stop! Luckily, we got there just in time! We had a nice talk on the way there, she told me, if things didn’t work out where i was going, to call her, she would hook me up with a friend of hers. I could help the friend with her mother or somebody. That was nice to hear, it meant they were happy with my work. I had no intentions to go back to the East Coast though, I have always wanted to go to California. I’m an LA girl at heart!

As soon as she drove off, I remembered: MY PAY CHECK!