Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Fourth Of July On The Second

Okay, back to work!
A series of factors prevented me from posting last week, a combination of some days being better than others, jury duty, a minor stroke, and a sad incident involving my electric cheese straightener, but what the hell. What can one do?
Anyway, to catch up we have to move back to July second, where those residents of the Las Americas, and the Olympia (and guests! I had not known that we were allowed to bring guests, or else I would have invited my Elf friend, Elrond) who wished to attend could celebrate the Fourth of July, a date currently used to honor the founding of our nation.
Why were we celebrating the Fourth of July on the second? Funny you should ask. It seems that this year the fourth fell on a Saturday, a perfectly good day to celebrate the founding of our nation if you ask me, but our case managers, the lovely Erin and Paul, and our respective hotel managers, Tianna and Priscilla, lovely women, didn't want to celebrate with us on the fourth. No they wanted to be selfish and celebrate all by themselves at locations known only to themselves. And since Erin and Paul were given Friday off that week (something to do with arcane labor laws probably), the decision was made to have the festivities on the second, a Thursday, at noon, in back area where our garden resides.
Being the wonderful individual that I am, I had volunteered to help out before the event. So at ten thirty I came down from the midst of my box, to find various people from both hotels already engaged in food preparation. I asked Tianna how I could help, and was asked to cut up some nice tomatoes and green onions for the salad. Other people were in our lobby cutting up melons for the fruit salad. The barbecues out back were fired up and ready to go. Paul and Erin were outside decorating the trees and our big pile of horse shit. There was a good forty people engaged in different activities, and the mood was light and busy.
I was already to begin eviscerating the helpless tomatoes when I noticed all the chairs were already occupied. Not wanting to massacre the vegetables in the awkward standing position, I went upstairs to retrieve a chair from my box.
While returning with my chair, Tianna stopped me on the second floor, asking me to come see something. I followed her down one of the hallways to find one of our elder residents sitting on the floor near the fire escape with a bad gash on his forehead.
"Does this look like something I should call for nine one one?" she asked me.
"Yes." Better safe than sorry, besides the man, Pat, seemed to be inebriated and unable to help himself.
Tianna asked me to stay with Pat, and went off to make the call. I sat near Pat and tried to keep him from doing anymore harm to himself. He was quite conscious, and kept making statements like, why was I there, who was I, and I don't want to go to the hospital. I tried to keep him still and quiet, but he insisted on squirming about.
I've had some experience in medical emergencies and trained in CPR, but those talents were not called upon here. The cut on Pat's forehead had stopped bleeding, but I wanted the emergency med techs to look him over just in case. What if Pat later died of a brain hemorrhage and we hadn't called 911?
They eventually arrived and attended to Pat (who they placed on my chair), who was rather naughty with them, I must say. He refused to go with them, so they placed a bandaid on his cut, and he was escorted to his room.
He later thanked me for my efforts.
I returned to the salad and cut up the tomatoes, green onions, and cabbage, making two big containers of salad. At one point Erin walked by.
"Hi Rick," she said.
"Hi Erin," I replied.
"How are you?"
"Fine. How are you?" I asked.
She was fine too, and placed three little tickets in my shirt pocket.
"Two drink tickets, and one meal," she explained.
"Oh," I wittily replied.
I helped Paul haul out two big pails full of ice and sodas, then took a position behind Erin, who was standing at the foot of the food line.
"I'm staying here where it's safe," I told her.
"Okay. You can protect me too," she answered. You never know what will happen around here when free food is provided.
My gosh, there were about sixty, to seventy people around our garden as we got ready to serve. It was disgustingly sunny outside. Rodney was playing music from his big boom box, and the air was festive.
After Paul made a little speech, then Tianna, and then Erin, we began.
"Will you be in charge of the drinks, Rick?" Erin asked me.
"Sure." So I made sure to get one drink ticket for every soda that was handed out.
After about a half hour when the line began to peter out, Erin told me to get some food. I chose some nice potato chips and dip, some baked beans, and two hot dogs with buns and mustard.
There was really no where to sit, so I just sat on the ground near the sodas to eat. Erin soon joined me and we enjoyed our meal.
Hardy came up to me, complaining about Robert, from the Olympia, sitting smack in the middle of our garden. I told him not to worry about it, and that the situation would resolve itself.
My neighbor, a lovely black lady named Janice, who I've known for years, came up to Erin and told her that she could sure tell when white people were around, because, "You'll never see black people sitting on the ground."
She was right, I didn't see any.
With everybody well fed, it was time for the party to begin.
I had made certain arrangements, and the the clowns arrived, right on schedule. Eight of them. They began various clown activities, blowing up balloons, pantomime, acrobatics. Speaking of balloons, I flipped the switch, and two hundred balloons and streamers fell from the sunny sky and landed about us. Erin cried out in delight! The circus animals came next. One of the elephants sat on our big pile of horse shit, flattening it, but they were otherwise well behaved. I began singing "Livin' la Vida Loca," with a lamp shade on my head. A triffid got Robert, and carted him off. Men swallowed swords and breathed fire. The bears and tigers scared Paul a bit, as he cowered near the barbecues. The trapeze took up an entire east section of the garden. A man was shot out of a giant cannon. The fireworks began. Erin took a ride on one of the many horses. It was differently getting crowded, and a little smokey out there.
Other nearby street people heard what was going on and joined us. The cake was consumed. Punch was procured. Erin was lifted up by the clowns 25 times in honer of her new age, even though her birthday was last month.
While I was distracted with an angry mongoose, the clowns made off with Erin. She hasn't been heard from since.
F- - king clowns! They're always doing stuff like that.

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