I think it's easiest (and certainly happiest,) to report the successes and the points that impress me so far. Benton can both read and write. If you don't think that's impressive, you've failed to understand the extent of his injuries. Hell, I was impressed when he successfully made it through the alphabet a couple of days ago. His fine motor skills are intact. I've watched him eat two dinners so far with no help and no problem. Both involved extra skills like opening a bottle of soda and configurating items on the tray. He didn't hesitate and no one needed to help him. His mom is making sure that if Benton wants to call the nurse or adjust the bed, he'll be expected to work the controls himself. I'm told that he's done some limited walking. His balance is wonky, but he's technically mobile. With assistance. It's gonna be a long road to real recovery.
Today was the first time that I was sure that Benton knew who I was. He might have made the connection before now. I'll never know for certain. But today, today he definitely knew. Today also convinced me that it's still Benton in there, not some random guy who's new to the world. When he woke up just before dinner, he told me that he was about to go fishing. And when I saw what he'd written in his journal, it was Benton's same handwriting. It's still him in there. That's encouraging.
I'll be back tomorrow. I prefer to be there after the daytime crowd goes away. They make so much of a fuss. And if I show up around dinnertime, I might just get to see Benton awake.
He looks so small in that bed. He's a fairly small guy anyway. As it is, I just want to wrap him up. I wish that I could put my arms around him and make sure that no one could hurt him ever again. Since that's not possible, I'll hang out next to him for at least a couple hours each day. It doesn't matter to me whether he knows it or not.
Went job hunting today. Got properly dressed up. Modest skirt and blouse, kitten heels on cute shoes. Results: Apply online, I can't find a blank application form so please come back tomorrow, are you at least eighteen? Fuck, I just want to work.
- He's the guy that the boogeyman is scared of at night.
Day Two went surprisingly well. Mostly because Pops spent most of it with Crooked Frank. I was sorry he missed Jeopardy! again, as we usually like to play together. I checked and neither of us would have gotten Final, but I wouldn't have wagered anything. "Baseball and the Presidency?" Yeah, wagering nothing. Pops was closer than I was, but that doesn't count if neither of us were right. He's leaving in the morning and I don't cotton to the idea of getting up early, so we've said our goodbyes. He's snoring directly behind me right now. Two feet. One thing we share: the ability to sleep through most natural disasters. Steph once called home sick from elementary school. Pops was working midnights at the time and Mom was working days. Steph heard "I'm not here right now..." Hilarious currently, but troubling and disconcerting to a small child at the time. What can I say? We're not insomniacs - we're both nocturnal and deep sleepers. god help me if this place ever catches on fire. We even have a fancy escape ladder, but if Mike's at work I can promise you that I'll sleep through it and burn to death. If I'm out, I'm seriously out.
I put Pops through another two hours of MSNBC tonight. If you insist on staying here, which you know is a bad idea, this is what you get. I love you, but you should seriously look into staying with someone who likes you.
Through the years, I have indeed kept an eye on this guy. And he still blows my mind. In general, if Orrin Hatch is for it, I'm probably against it. I'm used to that by now. Today he left me stupefied. He weighed in on the Burlington Coat Factory Community Center. His words:
Let's be honest about it, in the First Amendment, religious freedom, religious expression, that really express matters to the Constitution. So, if the Muslims own that property, that private property, and they want to build a mosque there, they should have the right to do so. The only question is are they being insensitive to those who suffered the loss of loved ones? We know there are Muslims killed on 9/11 too and we know it's a great religion.... But as far as their right to build that mosque, they have that right.
I just think what's made this country great is we have religious freedom. That's not the only thing, but it's one of the most important things in the Constitution....
There's a question of whether it's too close to the 9/11 area, but it's a few blocks away, it isn't right there.... And there's a huge, I think, lack of support throughout the country for Islam to build that mosque there, but that should not make a difference if they decide to do it. I'd be the first to stand up for their rights.
Orrin fucking Hatch. He does mention the proximity, but then rolls over it in the interest of the First Amendment. Orrin Hatch and I agree on something. Finally. I must give him credit for this.
Juror coffee is crap, but it's a bottomless pot. And they have crappy powdered creamer. There's a large sign on the machine that says "Juror Use Only." I'm totally bringing my camera tomorrow. This is in the Juror's Lounge. Who the hell is gonna try to break in to an unlocked room and steal crappy coffee? At 11:35, a clerk came in and called a lot of names. Not mine. Then another clerk came in and called more names. Including me. We were instructed to return at 1:30. Seriously? 2 hours to kill in downtown Charleston over a weekday lunch? Good fucking luck with that venture. I attempted to visit Trish at Macy's but she had the day off. I had beach presents for Scotty and Beth in the glove box, so I was Wine Shop bound. Killed a little time there just chatting.
I got back on time and spent the better part of an hour just sitting in my chair. Then most of us (about thirty) were called to go to a courtroom. Only six of of us would be selected. My number never came up. But I got to see the selection process for the first time. Even though I was never called, I knew pretty quickly that there would be a problem if that ever happened. In the initial juror oath, they are asked as a group to either swear or affirm (sounding good to me so far,) to "tell the truth and nothing but the truth, so help you god." I'm not gonna do that. I know how minor and regular it sounds, but I'm just not. This court, even if it's a civil case, is and should be a secular court. I have no wish to cause trouble. I have no wish to bring this up in open court. Tomorrow I intend to snag a clerk early and explain in a simple manner why I will not do this. And I'm not looking to get out of jury duty. It actually interests me and I want to serve. But I'm not going to say that. This is non-negotiable. I really wanted to get called today until I heard that. I'd much prefer sitting on a jury rather than listening to a glue-head while drinking crappy coffee.
Look, I got married by a judge in that same building in an entirely secular ceremony. And we didn't even request that in advance. It came standard, which is why I was surprised today.
Wager: Ooh, this sounds like fun. A bunch.
Clue: At Key West in 1936, Wallace Stevens broke his hand punching this man, who responded by knocking Stevens down.
Thinking: When did Final get so obvious? 1936. Key West. Fistfight. Hemingway.
Correct response: Hemingway. Yawn.
"The King's Line": In 1763, King George III and his ministers defined an imaginary line along the crest of the Allegheny Mountains. This "Proclamation Line of 1763" was meant to hold back the frontiersmen, who were forbidden to cross he mark and settle in the Trans-Allegheny.
Onto the poem itself:
THE KING'S LINE*
The King in London took a map
And drew a crooked line
Along the Allegheny top,
Then made his Royal sign.
The King in London then stood up,
"No settlers, I proclaim,
Shall ever pass beyond this mark -
By order of my name."
The settlers climbed the rocky crest;
They crossed the King's divide,
And dropped like evening down the West,
And liked the sunset side.
Yeah, we're historically a big f-you to whomever's currently in charge. Not much has changed in that respect.