Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sunday Morning.

The plastic alarm next my warm, pillow-topped bed clicks on and The Rolling Stones serenade me out of my slumber, telling me "I can't get no satisfaction." With the blink of an eye the night has escaped me like Houdini handcuffed in a watertight box. I roll to my side, sigh, and fumble for the snooze button. Half asleep, my eyes still soggy from sleep and my mind full of fresh memories from the dreams before, I quickly do an algebraic equation in my head to determine how many more times I can hit the snooze button.

The metal tags on my dog's collar rattle and I hear him stir from his embroidered nest on the floor. The sun casts its shadow on the window at the head of my head and the neighbor's dog barks at the white, plastic security door, pleading to be let back in the house.

I can delay the inevitable no longer and throw the down filled comforter off my warm, well rested body. The shock of the cold air stings and I am forced to quickly jump out of bed and start my day. I swing my feet off to the side, bend down to pet my dog "good morning", and stand. My day has begun.

The bathroom is still warm from my wife, the condensation dripping from the ceiling and the floor damp with fresh water. The mirror is fogged and the chrome on the sink glistens like morning dew of my front yard after a fresh May rain shower.

I slide myself into the shower and the warm water blankets my dry skin and begins to rejuvenate my soul. I wash away all the worries from the night and cleanse myself, preparing for the week ahead. I am awake now and, unfortunately, I can disdain reality no more.

The rest of the morning passes in a blur. My workweek has begun and the carefreeness of the weekend past is now just a distant memory.

My hands grip the leather steering wheel as I weave in and out of Sunday morning traffic. Like a hidden voyeur on an Italian beach, I admiringly gaze into the vehicles of passer-byers. "Where are they going? What are they doing? Why can't that be me”? All fleeting thoughts in my clear mind as I drive down the highway.

With the light morning Sunday traffic I arrive to work much earlier than expected. I slowly ease my SUV down the street like a suspicious solicitor looking for a house to rob. I find a meter across from the garage and ease my truck backwards in between a large Land Rover and a silver Honda hybrid. I don't have to pay today because it is Sunday. The classical music from my stereo softy plays from the large black speakers in the door. Tchaikovsky's symbolic serenade about conquering the New World is abruptly, and symbolically, ended with a slam of my door.

I swipe my white badge reader on the dulled, black reader outside the nondescript metal door. It beeps and a light flashes from red to green. Entrance, once again, has been allowed.

I step forward, cross the metal threshold of the entrance and my eyes dilate. The steam from the carwash and the dimly lit fluorescent bulbs coldly slap me in the face as I enter. An ambulance is backed into the wash bay directly in front of me by someone wearing all blue who seems to be practicing graffiti in the streaking wet, dirt on the side of the boxed vehicle.

In the not-so-far distance music is playing loudly from another ambulance being stocked in the next ambulance bay. All its doors are open and, even though it is early in the morning on a Sunday, it sounds like a Saturday night at a downtown club. The ambulance vibrates and the papered cones of the speakers split, as they are unable to sustain the vibration from the Hip-Hop music being transmitted from the FM radio.

The concrete ceiling, the concrete walls, the concrete floor are all cold and damp. Warmth does not exist here and each step has to be carefully placed, as to avoid the wads of spit sprinkled on the floor like landmines.

I make myy way to my ambulance and find my partner in the back. Personal belongings are sitting in the driver's seat, insinuating to me that they would prefer to drive -again. I unload my pack like a Sherpa on the base camp of Everest, find my computer, slide my radio in its holster, and close my eyes.

Here we go again.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Saturday Night.

Saturday night and the sun slowly sets behind my water stained wooden fence. The orange hue of the fading sun floats lazily from north to south like stagnant smoke from a cigarette. The Rocky Mountains hold the remaining minutes of daylight hostage and its glowing warmth radiating from the white snowcaps prolongs my day a few more minutes.

The brown eyes of my golden dog casually look up from the white, hollow bone between his long legs as he licks out the peanut butter filling. One quick glance as he lays in the brown, brittle grass of the backyard and a conversation of one thousands words is exchanged. He sees right through me, can see into my soul, and is sympathetic towards how I feel.

My wife’s warm hands hug a labeled pint glass of fresh raspberry iced tea. Her legs propped comfortably on the bench seat of our deck –shoes off, her head rocking back and forth as she illustrates a story of words with her body to her mother on the other end of the telephone line. I glance at her, she smiles.

An old blues song hovers from inside the house. The light, fluorescent from the lamps, blankets the two kittens cuddling in the sill of the wooden window. Their gray, spotted coats lean against the black mesh screen and they wish with all their lives that they, too, could be outside.

A single engine plane tugs in the distance, its engine churning furiously to keep the plane above ground and its occupants safe from the world below. The shadow precedes the noise and the silhouette dances across the suburban rooftops like a rabbit running from a vicious canine.

The clouds hover gracefully above my head, teasing my imagination into creating images remembered from the warm summer days of my childhood. Floating between the still, naked branches of the dormant winter trees in my backyard the vastness of the sky, the birds, the clouds, and the squirrel that lives in my Aspen, all taunt me into seriously re-examining my faith. They look at me and ask me to ask the questions that everyone should examine in their own lives. They remind that there is more to life than an occupation. That it is the journey itself that life is about.

But, with the inevitability of a Death Row conviction, the second hand of time marches forward regardless of my emotion. The sun sets, the moon rises, the day ends and my mood changes. Sullen. Sad. A little stressed. It is my Sunday night on this Saturday eve and tomorrow I will return to work. Tomorrow my shield goes up and I will try and protect what little inner salvation I have left from this draining job.

The wild things are out there -waiting ominously. Managers, coworkers, passer-byers, and patients all feverishly rubbing their hands together like a villain in a silent film, all waiting and hoping to stain my soul with their very own sadness, anger, and immaturity. My shield will be ready and my strength renewed.

I sigh, stand and open my flimsy screen door into the family room. Where did the weekend go?

And why can't I do this for a living?