Wednesday, October 17, 2018

There Are Geckos in Haiti #WEP #FlashFiction

#WEP #FlashFiction CHALLENGE FOR OCTOBER - DEJA VU OR VOODOO


My cousin keeps talking about this contest. So I figured what the heck, I'll give it a go. Hope you enjoy!

There Are Geckos in Haiti



Timmy’s hands hold his head up as his elbows dig into the table. “Why does it matter that you weren't the first to know? The test came back negative. Can't we just be happy that I don't have cancer?”

“Because I should have been the first to know! You told her instead. She's the one that made your appointment.” The tissue box creases in my hands. It's like deja vu; the same argument again and again.

“So?” Timmy slams his fist on the table. The envelope with the doctor's bill, for tests not covered by our insurance, bounces from the force.

“That's my job. I'm your wife. I'm the first one you should tell if you think you've got cancer. Especially there. I'm the one who should have made that appointment. I'm the one who should have taken you. And before that, I'm the one who should have looked, felt the lump for myself. I could have probably told you it was an ingrown hair. I've got twenty years of waxing on you. Not like I've never seen one.”

“Oh, you're a doctor now? You know the difference between an ingrown hair and testicular cancer by just looking? Henrietta didn't. She waxes too.”

Fire explodes through my body. “Excuse me?”

Timmy's eyes widen like a mouse as the trap snaps down. “Well, I just mean, it's not like … She was with me when I felt it, so naturally I had her look. That's when she made the appointment.”

“With. Her. Where?” I exhale white-hot rage between each word. The letter opener is only an inch from my hand, sitting under the pile of used tissues. Do I have any tears left for this man?

“At work. Of course at work. Where else would we be?”

Timmy's answer doesn't come out like a fluid fact of obviousness. Instead, it's blips and pauses, like a child creating a lie one word at a time, checking if they make sense.

“You just dropped-trou at work? Who else got a free show? Or are you also a stripper now? There a stack of ones in your wallet?”

“The ATM at the strip club gives two- dollar bills,” he says with a sneer. Then his eyes widen again before he looks away. “So I've been told. I got one as change for a coffee once. That's how it came up.”

He's not capable of the truth. But I ask one more question anyway. “Is this why we haven't been together in weeks?”

“We're together right now,” Timmy says. Sweat mixes with his alpine-scented cologne. Our dining room reeks of it. I'll eat in the den, once again.

“You know what I mean.”

“Intimately? I haven't felt well. My stomach. Another reason I suspected cancer!” He nods his head, as if he's convinced himself.

I shake mine and throw the balled up tissue from my hand at him. Of course, it barely crosses the polished oak surface. Still, that's further than the one still caught in the candelabra. “No. Intimate was showing your junk to Henrietta. Intimate was her calling a doctor instead of reporting you to human resources for exposing yourself at work to a coworker.”

He rolls his eyes, crosses his arms over his massive chest, and leans back until the chair creaks. “It's not like I lit candles and read her poetry while she looked. You're overreacting. I'm right, you're wrong.”

I shake my head. “Tell Henrietta you'll be staying with her. And that I'd like to swap copies; her next STD test for mine. May as well put our cards on the table. Anyone else that needs testing while we're at it? The two-dollar bill strippers you mentioned?”

“You're not going to throw me out. You need me. It's the same threat every time.”

I reach into the tissue box I've been crushing. Under the last tissue is the doll. I didn't plan to do this. Okay, maybe I did. The last time he made me cry a box of tears, I swore to myself that it'd never happen again. I grab the letter opener, the sharp little dagger we got in Haiti on our honeymoon. When the woman told me one day I'd be glad for these things, I thought it was a joke. A tourism rouse. I plunge the dagger into the tissue box, speaking the words and filled with belief. Across the table, Timmy grabs his chest.

I just saved a bunch of money on divorce lawyers by switching to voodoo.



By Jamie

758 words

There Are Geckos in Haiti #WEP #FlashFiction

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Why I Cheat When I Play The Sims

There are cheat codes for the computer versions of The Sims. Motherlode and familyfunds are the two money ones (simoleans). And I use them. EVERY TIME.

But why? Part of the game is getting the Sim a job and earning money and blah blah blah.

You know what? I have to deal with money problems in the real world. Hard ones. Impossible ones. Ones that aren't going to be solved by building up a certain skill and making a few more friends.

So I cheat. And then experience, in a game, a version of how a life might be if financial issues were off the table. Deal with other things.

And you know what? I can. My Sims are happy. They have good lives and fun adventures. Sure, things still break. Fires still start. Bees! But they have solutions. It's manageable. Life is still happy and fun.

Plus, it's a game. There are no real consequences for cheating. It isn't like in life where, if I rubbed a lamp and asked a genie for 10 billion dollars US, I'd accidentally screw up the global economy. I haven't robbed anyone. (Other than, perhaps, myself. Robbed of the experience of an avatar being as flat, stinkin' broke as I am.)

This is also the one advantage The Sims has over games like SecondLife. Sure, multiplayer means social interaction. But to get game money... there's no cheat. You need to have money, or make game items and sell them to get money as a job in the game. And, just like a job, you then have to get people to want your stuff. And soon you're almost never playing for fun and just working to get a few cyber dollars so your character isn't as poor as you.

I can't deal with it anymore. I can't enjoy a game where the goal is to get money. If I were good at that, maybe I wouldn't be playing a game to escape the world where I'm broke. Which, oh yeah, reminds me that I spent money I don't have on this game. Even if it's a gift, I could have traded it in for a tiny fraction of the value... oh look, it's the guilt train! Pulling into the station. Which makes me want to retreat into a game world so I can feel any other emotion even for an hour.

Which, again, is why I break out the cheat code and give my character an absurd amount of funds. Because I just can't deal with the problem of being broke.

I'm not legally allowed to return to work without a medically release. I can't get a medical release without a diagnosis. I can't get disability without a diagnosis. I can't get a diagnosis because the doctors can't figure it out (but all agree it's something and it's BAD), or won't risk giving it a name and being wrong because of insurance, or are unable to nail it down because it's so bad that even the tests nearly kill me. (Seriously, the code team was called last time.)

And so I feel helpless, hopeless, and worth  _  less. (Those spaces are intentional because I feel my worth has decreased as I am not an earner. Which holds a different connotation than the word worthless.)

Why would I want to PLAY anything where I feel more of that? It crushes my soul. I barely remember why I fight to stay alive most days just because of the pain. Add in all the feelings from money? If psychiatry were free, I'd go. Okay, that's not totally true. If it were free AND I could do it from home, thus not landing in more pain or risking my life if the office isn't suitable for my respiratory needs, then I'd go.

But that's a pipe dream. So I occasionally game. A world where I can escape from all the problems I don't know how to solve. A place where I can actually deal with what is thrown my way. Where I still manage to succeed. Achievement unlocked! So desperate to feel like I can do something well that I'll settle for an arbitrary win in a game world.

I use to be so good at life. What the hell happened to that girl?

She went to work one day and, unknowingly, inhaled chemicals. And while it IS killing her, and has ruined her, she hasn't actually died yet. Somedays, it's really difficult to be grateful for that. Which is horrible to admit. Choo choooo! 🚂There's the guilt train again. Guilt for not being grateful for this prolonged suffering and poverty. "Think of all you've missed!" Yeah. I know. Rainbows and kittens and all that.

It isn't fame and fortune that I'm aiming for anymore. Just for life to be a tiny bit easier. To just not feel so horrible all the time. To feel like I could do one thing right, one thing well enough to be worth something.

The real world Sim version of me doesn't need millionaire estates. Just needs to not be curled in a ball unwilling to do ANYTHING because it's all so terrible. In fact, the game won't even allow me to create a Sim like me, because they are all healthy. Sure, they can get sick, but they heal.

Hope. I cheat at the Sims so I can escape to a world of hope.

Friday, October 12, 2018

#StopTheHate #ThirdShiftMakesAmericaGreat Grocery Store Hours

Yet another store is ignoring the needs of second and third shift employees. So I filled out the little survey. You can see what I wrote.

Weis
Address: 7801 Glenlivet Dr W, Fogelsville, PA 18051 Hours:
Open 24 hours

As of November, they will be closed from 1 am to 6 am.



"The night manager guy (tall, slender, glasses) is SUPER nice and helpful. The cashier, Stacy, is great. They are NOT the problem.

My husband and I are HEARTBROKEN to find out the store, as of next month, is no longer going to be open during regular shopping hours. It's in the warehouse district, where people work 24 hours. But all the third shift workers are "second-class citizens" who pay astronomically higher prices to see doctors (only the ER in the middle of the night), have significantly fewer choices in gas stations, fast food, and pharmacies, and now YET ANOTHER grocery store that isn't open during regular shopping hours. And no, I'm not going to start referring to daytime as regular because that just reinforces the stereotype that third shift employees are less deserving of healthcare and food.

Look, we already don't have access to a deli counter, meat counter, pharmacy, gas, or most of the other stuff at your store. But to now lock people out for five hours? Like customers SUCH A HUGE INCONVENIENCE.

So sorry to have burdened your company with our food shopping. Looks like, just like Giant, Whole Foods, Aldi, and several other stores around here, we just won't be able to shop at your business regularly anymore.

Thank God for Wegmans!!!

I do wish you'd reconsider. We really loved the deals at your store. A shame you don't like customers who aren't on YOUR schedule.

Please, NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER get anything shipped or delivered overnight. Stop using electricity and other utility services at night, no more nights of Netflix, and don't call emergency services from 1am to 6am. You (the person who made this choice, not the poor soul reading this normally) do not deserve all the wonderful things people in this country enjoy THANKS TO SECOND AND THIRD SHIFT WORKERS.

#StopTheHate #ThirdShiftMakesAmericaGreat "

Weis Feedback image


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Surname Change Game

Pin about surname change

Do you know what's really interesting about this? It IS NOT universal.
That's right. There are religions and countries where a person does not change any part of their name when they get married.
It didn't even come up until the ninth century, according to this article: https://seattlebridemag.com/expert-wedding-advice/history-behind-maiden-vs-married-names
("The 9th century was a period from 801 to 900 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Common Era.")

So you can't say that women have never had their own name and be accurate. You could, however, state that a recognized percent of women have not had the right to select their own name, keep their own name, or give their children their own surname without repercussions for the last one-thousand-two-hundred some years. Especially women in countries conquered, controlled, or heavily influenced by the English. Which, honestly, is a pretty high number.

I just wanted to share that fun factoid. It wasn't something I ever considered until I had a penpal in Egypt (about twenty years ago). She was getting married and I asked what her new name would be. She was baffled by the question. It took five months of letter swaps before we understood the cultural divide.

She wasn't allowed to listen to music or be seen without a headscarf- hajib, but keeping her own name after marriage was normal.

I hyphenated my name in most places. There are a few places, like my health insurance, where my name isn't hyphenated. (I honestly don't know why. But it is his insurance.) And places that never updated my name (been ten years since I sent the paperwork to have my stocks updated, hasn't happened yet). I made the choice because I like my husband's surname.

One of my best friends has a really cool last name. Her husband changed his to match hers. I think that's awesome.

My godmother kept her last name because her husband is "Smith," whereas her last name comes from a prominent family.

Another friend of mine has renamed himself as part of his new identity. It's a pagan thing, or a Scandinavian thing, I'm not sure. But that's pretty cool, too.

That's my share for today!