Sunday, July 28, 2013

Me, Myself and I

"Hilary, we would love it if you could join us to represent the Fulbright program at the NEA conference in Atlanta".
I responded 'yes' to the email immediately.  I love Fulbright.  I always say yes to them.

I sat outside with Lola, in my pajamas.  I was finally done with my June classes and was again, sleeping late.  I only had a couple of off days before the two day conference.  A truck pulled up and parked, blocking my car in.  Two men walked confidently through my yard.
"Can I help you?"  I asked, feeling awkward in my pajamas and the fact that I wasn't wearing a bra.
Lola started barking.
"Looking at the land" one of the men responded.
"Really?  Do you know who owns it?  We have been trying to figure it out for a while".
"I do.  We just bought it".
"What....what are you going to do with it?"
"Put a house on it" he answered, dismissively. 
Our property line extends only two feet from our house. 
We wanted that land.  To expand our yard.  It was supposed to be 'undevelopable'.  The previous owners of our house had tried to buy it too, but could never figure out which bank owned it.  I knew this asshole had snapped it up at some courthouse auction and would make some money off of it.  But it means so much more to us.
"Can I get your card?" I asked, chasing this redneck fuck through MY front yard, bra-less and all.

Pervy-ass grey haired man-teachers tried to talk me up whenever I was alone at the Fulbright booth.  It wasn't flattering.  If anything, it was demoralizing.
I had met up with Tanya, the director of operations for the Exchange, the day before the conference began.  We had met and hit it off when she came to Atlanta last October.  We threw some shit up at the booth and had an amazing lunch and drinks.  
I was embarrassed when I met her the next day.  As I tried to park at the conference site, pro-life demonstrators stood outside with gory fake-ass pictures of red jello covered 'baby' hands.  I had no idea why they were there.
Inside, we saw booths selling science textbooks that promoted creationism.  A huge banner hung above their stand:  "Evolution is a Myth".
There was a bazaar type area where you could get a bedazzled t-shirt with your name written in gold.
A separate booth promoted 'life education'.  People, or I guess TEACHERS, were buying dolls that were supposed to represent fetuses at various weeks of development.  But they didn't look like little pieces of shrimp, they gave them limbs, eyes, finger nails, the whole fucking nine yards at a matter of weeks.  I felt a combination of laughter and disgust.  I wanted to mock them, take pictures and spread their ridiculousness all over Facebook.  But, I was horrified by the reality of their presence and the crowd of teachers surrounding their booth.

"Hilary, I have to tell you something,"  Tanya said earnestly.
"I couldn't tell you over the phone".
"Because of the sequester, State has cut funding to the Fulbright Classroom Teacher Exchange.  After SIXTY-FIVE years, the program is no longer funded".

Another loss.  It breaks my heart. 

Friday, July 5, 2013


"I gonna hang that dog!" the teenager shrieked at her little brother.  The boy walked down the street with his friend.  When the puppy couldn't walk fast enough, he dragged it on its stomach.
I winced from my vantage point across the street.

"Please, help this puppy.   It runs around in the street at night, off leash, even in the rain.  He is probably two months old.  His mom was emaciated; we used to bring her food.  All of the puppies died a week after she had them.  Then, she got run over by a car.  The 'owners' left her laying in the street for two days, dead.  Finally a neighbor buried her.  Her remaining puppy is starving".

I was surprised when my mom responded to our mutual friend's call out.
"He is too cute to be treated that way.  What do I do?".
My mom has never owned dogs.  I was thrilled and started putting the wheels in motion to save the puppy. 

I was taking classes to upgrade my teaching certificate during June.  They were day long affairs that lasted for four weeks.  As soon as my moms said that she was in, I constantly monitored my phone.  Our friend was simply going to take the puppy one night while he wandered loose.
But it didn't happen the first night.  Or the second.  We felt desperate.  He could be killed in the street.  His belly was bloated with worms.   Now that we knew we wanted him, it felt frantic.

"I am coming over," I texted.  "We have to get that dog".
We couldn't take it anymore.  I wasn't sure how she would respond.
"Possee! I love it!".
And then I drove southwest.   

"He bit our dog!  He put marks on him!" the teenager howled.
The dog in question was a giant Pit Bull.  A ten pound puppy couldn't possibly hurt that dog.
"I don't know shit about dogs, so I locked him in a room for three weeks".

"Okay, I've seen enough" Kerrie said.
She walked over there.
"Hey, you guys know me.   I used to bring food to your dog.  I work at a vet.  That dog needs to see him.  Don't worry, it's free".

I watched from the porch.  I saw the dog in her arms.  I felt tense, scared.   Please, let her take him.  Please, let her be able to walk away with him.  It was taking forever.

"Y'all are fucking Cagney and Lacy".  Kerrie's partner commented. 

I saw Kerrie walking down the sidewalk.  I texted my mom. "Close" I said, "close".
She was on the porch, with the puppy in her arms.
"I am going to put him in my car and drive around the corner.  Follow me.  We'll trade off.  I am going to tell them that the puppy died at the vet".

I followed her left and right.  Every time people stood on the corner, she would take another turn.  I felt the same way.  Finally, she pulled off.  She placed the puppy in my arms and I took off.  Sweet puppy sat in the passenger seat and then, crawled to the back and fell asleep.

I hit the highway and drove north, to my mom's house.

Later I wondered about the little boy that would hear that his dog died.  I wondered if he slept alone in his bed that night, without the puppy.

But, that puppy never slept in a bed.