Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Apologies Accepted

Here is the follow-up to Sorry Everybody. It's from the world to the 49% of us (hah!) who voted for Kerry.

Monday, November 29, 2004


You Are the Investigator

You're independent - and a logical analytical thinker.

You love learning and ideas... and know things no one else does.

Bored by small talk, you refuse to participate in boring conversations.

You are open minded. A visionary. You understand the world and may change it.

What number are you?

I'm Not at All White Trashy!

I, my friend, have class. I am so not white trash. . I am more than likely Democrat, and my place is neat, and there is a good chance I may never drink wine from a box.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Turkey Week in Review

Well, it was an exhausting week. I was exhausted when it started, but it was a different kind of overworked exhaustion. As silly as it sounds, I was really happy to tire myself in a different way. At least I saw people I love. At least I had some really great meals. Maybe there was a lot of socializing and not much down time, but lately, there's been too much work and not much down time. I am sitting here realizing that I have to do all of my shopping and a LOT of job search work in the next few weeks. Lots to do and not nearly enough time to do it, but I guess that's kind of par for the course.

Regarding the details of Thanksgiving, many of us spent the morning at Elfo's chopping and prepping for the meal. David is my parents' friend Mary Ann's son, and the head chef. He is also mellow as can be... not at all like the chefs they show on TV who bark orders at all of their underlings.

The chopping scene on Thanksgiving morning.

The Thanksgiving group watches The 2004 Kennel Club of Philadelphia Dog Show with great interest!

David and company quietly made a large tasty meal for about 30 people. We ate it in Elfo's, which was closed for the day. It was tasty stuff.

Mom models the new backpack and dumps the old fanny pack. Yay!

Look! Actual people in my apartment!

The rest of the week involved lots of restaurants, a nice walk on the Mississippi, a trip to the National Ornamental Metal Museum, and general hanging out with the family. My plans to make little snowmen out of mints never quite materialized, but I think I've recovered!

Aaron gains wisdom from Dad outside the bookstore.

At least Aaron and I got a little decorating done around here:


Miss Maggie just loves lying under the Christmas tree, real or fake! (Sadly, it's a fake this year. I'm going to be gone for 10 days, so it's not really worth the expense and effort to get a real one.) :(

Thursday, November 25, 2004


Thanksgiving morning walk along the Mighty Mississip!

It was a lovely day with great food and great people. No family strife, and I got a particularly nice gift in that mom loved the new purse Aaron and I picked out for her and ditched the old fanny pack "purse" she'd had just a little too long. Stylin' pictures soon to follow! :D

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over


Monday, November 22, 2004

Walter's Last Day

Walter is a dear friend of mine who has been the face of Tribe for over a year now. Today is his last day. I'm glad he's moving one. While I enjoy Tribe immensely, working at Tribe is not healthy for children and other living things. Bon voyage, Walter!

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Work, Work, Work

Please forgive me. I'm going to whine a bit... I work ALL THE TIME! Feels like it, anyway. I work 3 days in the schools. I'm supposed to be in 3 schools, and I'm getting there, but I still have holdover from one school I won't be in anymore, so right now, it's still 4. And I'm doing a minor for one day a week somewhere else all together. And I'm doing a meeting once a week about the business of Psychology. And I've done training in Crisis intervention and ride-along with a cop for a night. And I worked a crisis in a high school week before last. And I'm job hunting in in a city I don't live in. And I'm trying to learn about how I get my bad self licensed. And I'm still writing my dissertation. And I'm learning some new learning theory I didn't really learn about in grad school. And, And, And. It's a lot. I know I can do it, but a lot of other stuff has fallen by the wayside. I'm actually doing ZERO singing right now, and I rarely get exercise (just the occasional yoga class), and I'm not cooking as I usually do, and those dishes... Don't even get me started on those! Learning to write good cover letter is hard. I got a book today that I think might help.

I'm really looking forward to the big Thanksgiving planned for this week. My parents, my boy, and loads of relatives and relative-type people are descending on Memphis, and we're going to play tourist. I like Memphis best that way.

Google Scholar

As a scholar who is suddenly outside of a scholarly environment, I'm totally grooving on Google Scholar! It's excellent. It's like regular Google, but it links you to scholarly journal articles on the topic of your choosing rather than to the entire web. I'm so glad they've created this. I'll be using it often in my career. I tend to go online often to research the issues my current clients, and I was wondering how I'd do that as effectively once my IU perks waned. Now I know! Thanks, Google! :P

Saturday, November 20, 2004

It isn't right, but...

I found a link to this gem on a foodie blog. It isn't right, but it made me giggle:
Freemans tuesday night the 16th of nov. the bush twins along with 2 massive secret service men tried to have dinner they were told by the maitre 'd that they were full and would be for the next 4 years upon hearing the entire restaurant cheered and did a round of shots it was amazing!!!
If you check out that foodie blog, I also recommend that you read this. It's eloquent.


The nature of the Internet demands that sometimes, I share ridiculous links with you. I try to resist, but the force is too strong!

No, I didn't make this up:
Hooters of America and a rival restaurant chain began arguing in federal court over who has rights to the concept of using scantily clad women to sell food and beer.
And here's a very silly series of pictures of a rescue mission that ended up being more than anyone bargained for.

OK, back to bed. I'm gonna kill that kitty cat next time she wakes me up this early on a Saturday!

Friday, November 19, 2004

Bye Bye, Ma Bell!

Today I disconnected my land line and my BellSouth DSL Lite and turned on a Time-Warner cable modem. The connection is much faster than the DSL Lite. The land line has terrible reception, perhaps because the phone lines in my apartment are steel, something that hasn't been used since the beginning of the last century. I imagine getting that fixed would have been quite a pilaver. I was paying $37 for my basic phone service with no long distance and another $30-ish for the Internet connection. Now, I pay only $30 for the next three months and then it goes up to $40 or $45 or something like that. The land line was bugging me. I didn't need it anymore. I upped my cell minutes to 800 last week, so I should be OK. I'm very pleased to be done with BellSouth. I really resented the way they were charging me an all-inclusive price, so I couldn't pay less for fewer features. I just wanted a number people could call. There's no way that should cost $37. I'm not saying. I'm just saying.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Blogroll (just like the ones the big kids have)

I've added a blogroll to the sidebar. I mostly went with people I actually know. If I included every blog I read on occassion, it would be an awfully long list!

Calgon, take me away!

If you haven't seen me in a month or two or three, I'm still here. I realized today, while making plans to have dinner with a friend in my program and his wife this weekend, that the last time I did anything social in Memphis (except for hanging out with Aaron) was Cooper-Young festival weekend. No wait... that's wrong. I had lunch with my friend Leslie a few weeks after that. And there was the Saturday I crashed MiniDriver's dinner with her friend down the block to escape the unbearable noise from downstairs. I haven't seen my aunt and uncle who live about a mile away except when my mom was in town. I haven't gone out with anyone in my program. Hell, I haven't even been to yoga in a week and a half, and today, I've been working basically straight through since about 8am.

I need a damn break!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Republicans are Closet Pervs, Take 3

HAHAHA! OK, so the Hostettler article turned out to be a parody, but apparently, I'm not the only one who thought it was real. Check this out. Apparently, the poor man's getting inundated with irate phone calls, faxes, and e-mails. Man, that's some funny shit! Is it evil that I think that? I can't help myself!

Republicans are Closet Pervs, Take 2

You may recall my post from not too long ago about Republicans being closet pervs. Well, check this out. I think I've proven my point.


Spidra is on page 97 of Sorry Everybody, not 98. Here's the correct link. She's Wonder Woman.

Monday, November 15, 2004


This is just utter silliness. This would be WAY funner if it actually worked.

Excited About My Birthday?

Excited About My Birthday? I am! Aaron is here and took me out for the most amazing meal on Saturday night. We went to Bari Ristorante, which is just down the block. It has the most amazing dinner menu... a REAL Italian menu, not the heavy, meaty pasta and cheese dishes of most Americanized Italian restaurants. It was amazing! Thanks, Aaron! Yesterday, we made this ginger cake I'd had at Green's Restaurant in San Francisco years ago, and DAMN, was it good. To a real foodie, there is nothing better than amazing food for a birthday. Here's a picture of me at dinner:

My parents splurged and got me a new digital camera and some accessories for my incessant shutterbuggery. My old one is great, but the battery cover broke, and the warranty wasn't covering it, and the velcro situation was REALLY starting to wear on me. The new one is COOL! Yay! I've already gotten calls from Rebecca in Philly and Michelle in Boston and Nanu and Poornima in Bloomington. Sunitha and Elizabeth posted the cutest picture of them holding a "Happy Birthday, Abby" sign on Tribe. My other Tribe friends have the cutest thread they started yesterday... "What's tomorrow? I know it's SOMETHING important. Yeah, I get that feeling, too... What's going on? Someone help me!" Even my stupid downstairs neighbor kept his music off last night. Thanks, insane man! I really appreciate it. That was the best present EVER! So far, so good. I like this 35 thing.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

ODB is Dead!

Old Dirty Bastard (or was it Baby Jesus?) of the Wu Tang Clan just died suddenly. Isn't that weird? He and I were born on the same day one year apart. Tomorrow I will have another birthday, but he won't. What a freak. May that freak rest in peace.

Saturday, November 13, 2004


I'm trying to like Memphis. I really am. But I've found yet another reason to add to my long list of problems with this city. It's their noise ordinance. It's old. It sucks. Read this article about how much it sucks. Some excepts follow:
... And then there’s Memphis, at the lower end of the enlightenment scale. Our noise ordinance – Chapter 22 of the city code – has not been revised since 1967, and some of its sections clearly date back much earlier. For instance, two items cover steam whistles and steam engines... The maximum fine is $50 – hardly enough to scare anyone into silence... Memphis police give low priority to noise complaints, responding first to dire situations... What this means, though, is that the police might take several hours to respond to a noise call, if they show up at all. And the rule is that an officer can’t write a citation unless he actually hears the sound. So here’s what usually happens: Your next-door neighbors are having a party and the stereo is cranked up full blast. You call the police around 9 p.m. By the time they arrive, it’s past midnight, and the music has stopped. Police see nothing amiss, they leave. Neighbors go unpunished...
This is exactly what happened last night. He had Britney Spears blasting. It started at about 10:30pm and was still going when I went to bed at 1am. So why call? It's chronic stress I'm experiencing. He's got the music on now. I can't get out of my lease. I'm stuck. I hate this. Memphis... I'm trying. I really am, but I'm not very happy here. The home situation is not good, and then I leave to go drive amongst the worst drivers on earth, and I go from school to school to agency, doing work I love, but it's all with people in dire situations. I'd love the work more if it weren't for the daily... make that minute-to-minute stress levels.

Mom made it in!

Mom's picture made it to the gallery on Sorry Everybody! My friend Spidra (looking very Wonder Woman) found it! Thanks, Spidra. :D

Thursday, November 11, 2004

I Think I'm Blogging Too Fast

As usual, I have too much to say. Not many comments for the last several posts. I think they're too close together and a lot is getting lots in here. I guess it's cool, though. I have a record of all of these silly thoughts of mine for postery. I like saving things for posterity, especially if I can save it digitally!

Political Compass

I really enjoyed taking the quiz resulting in this graph of my political leanings:

Economic Left/Right: -6.75
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.85

There are even reading lists at the end that relate to the four political quadrants. Here's mine.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Read More Blogs

I hear I'm supposed to Blog It Forward today. I'll tell you about two blogs you should be reading:
  1. A Violently Executed Blog - This is Adam's blog. It's one of the best I've seen. He posts a lot. He's really political and a really good friend, and he'll entertain you silly. He also has interesting perspectives on parents. He's well-connected in the blogosphere. If you're a quirky liberal, you want to read this blog.
  2. Smoooochie Says II - Here's one to watch. It's new, but it's the blog of a friend who has lots of witty, intelligent things to say. She's a single parent and a great writer and a cool friend.
Here's one not to read. :P

The www.sorryeverybody web site is so overwhelmed that it isn't taking any more submissions, but it still matters that people are making these. Here's my mom's. Notice the Cutie Gear!

Getting Excited About My Birthday?

I'm going to be 35 on Monday!!! THIRTY-FIVE! That's just insane. Even though 35 is that point on the graph where fertility steeply declines, I'm still excited about this birthday, as I am about all birthdays. Maybe it's because I'm an only child.

Unfortunately, what I'd want most for my birthday is the ability to move out of this apartment, but sadly, that can not be. I have signed a one-year lease, so I owe money through the end of August whether I live here or not. This apartment is gorgeous, but here are the problems:
  • A very rude downstairs neighbor who plays loud music 90% of the time he is at home (and sadly, his schedule is about the same as mine) and is hostile when I've asked him to turn it down.
  • A next door neighbor who plays loud music in the mornings (so I can hear it in the bathroom) and gets inappropriately hostile with her young daughter such that I can hear MUCH more than I ever wanted to hear.
  • A location next to a dumpster, which is visited in the middle of the night by a HUGE dump truck that makes LOTS of noise. There's the turning VROOM, VROOM, then the BEEP BEEP BEEP backing up noise, then the picking up the first dumpster noise (BANG, CRASH, THUMP, THUMP, THUMP), then the whole thing again with the second dumpster. This occurs between 1am and 4am 2-3 nights a week.
  • The sometimes early morning rantings of the mentally ill and homeless people who are dumpster diving.
  • A fine location right under a major flight pattern.
  • A VERY close train that HONKS really often at all times of the day and night.
  • Just behind the dumpster are two German shepherds who bark at all things that move. They get all the dogs in the neighborhood barking. Last night it went on for two hours before I called the cops.
  • Rave Boy and a few other residents smoke on the steps in the courtyard. The noise and smoke come into my sunroom, where I have my computer.
  • The radiators are not under my control, and they've not been coming on. WHY?
Other than that, it's about the most beautiful place I've ever lived. What do I want for my birthday? I want quiet. Just quiet.

I'm so glad Aaron is coming to visit this weekend. I need some fun and some company.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Appeasing Liberals with Words is Easier Than Looking Into the Eyes of the Snake

When teaching Multiculturalism to Midwestern college students, especially the "men," homosexuality was a really hard issue for them. It was by far the most common choice for their resistence projects. Often, the male students associated homosexuality with being less than a man, probably because it was a criticism used on the playground.

They were particularly fearful of being hit on by gay men. For people who have never met an out gay person, they only have stereotypes to go on, and their knowledge that "gay dudes fuck other dudes." I think being an American man is hard. So many expectations are still "out there" in terms of being a provider, being in control, etc.

What usually got their eyes starting to open was the day I brought in the GLB panel. I always tried to get some really unlikely gay men in there. They were astonished to meet men who had tried to live the straight lifestyle, who had tried to be jocks, and in the end, had realized that they could only be who they are and that living a lie, for anyone, is torture.

But getting straight people who are threatened by gay people to interact in this way isn't easy. I usually did these panels near the end of the semester when there had been ample opportunities to prepare them for hearing coming out stories, to open their eyes a bit to their own luxury of ignorance. We talk about how if you're living a sheltered life, you can easily walk through the world and not even realizing you're interacting with gay people all the time, only you don't know it.

What was SOOOO powerful was when my friend Matt (one of the regular panelists) would come in and talk about how his fraternity "buddies" would say all this hateful stuff in front of him, and how that made coming out even less of an option. Many of the guys in my class realized that they'd probably done the same thing before, and I got to read about it in their papers.

But creating a safe environment where people can talk about this stuff without fear of being called offensive is so hard. It's easier for most people to play PC most of the time, rather than do the work it really takes to deal with these feelings of resistance. The author of the textbook I used called it "looking into the eyes of the snake." It's easy to play colorblind, pretend you get it, say the right things, then quietly go into the voting booth and say what you really feel... and that might be that you think gay people are abnormal.

All the prejudices of the pre-Civil Rights era are still around, but they've gone underground. The conservatives have learned to not get into it with the liberals because they would rather avoid the topics. They say what they know we want to hear and keep on exactly as they have.

Monday, November 08, 2004

I made it! I made it!

My friend Spidra on Tribe just located the link to my picture on on Sorry Everybody. Cool! I'm so excited! I feel like I've done something little that matters. Yes, it's only symbolic, but it's a start. Thanks, Spidra!

New Cutiegear!

For the ladies! :P

Silly Pointless Quiz

Are you Addicted to the Internet?


Hardcore Junkie (61% - 80%)
While you do get a bit of sleep every night and sometimes leave the house, you spend as much time as you can online. You usually have a browser, chat clients, server consoles, and your email on auto check open at all times. Phone? What's that? You plan your social events by contacting your friends online. Just be careful you don't get a repetitive wrist injury...

The Are you Addicted to the Internet? Quiz at Quiz Me

Gay Marriage Amendment? Are you kidding me?

He doesn't seem to understand that amendments are supposed to offer freedoms, not prevent them. My dog, the man is an idiot. The only amendment that prohibited a freedom didn't really fly. Look at all the amendments, then check out the only one that prohibited something. Hint: See #18 and #21.

Political capital, my ass. There's gonna be a fucking revolution! 48% of American voters is a LOT of people.

Can you tell I'm still a little annoyed about this election thing? I'll leave you with a quote from Adam's Dad, Andy, my very favorite backup Dad:
The Democrats' mistake was in thinking that a disastrous war, lack of jobs and health care, and national bankruptcy would be of concern to the electorate. The Republicans correctly saw that the chief concern of the electorate was to keep gay couples from haveing an abortion.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Sorry, Everybody.


"I am flabbergasted that 51% of Americans didn't see what was right in front of them. Now the rest of us are left trying to figure out what to do so nothing like this ever happens again. From the bottom of my heart, I AM SO INCREDIBLY SORRY. :( From Abby in Memphis"

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Colbert on Why Bush Won

Steven Colbert did this hilarious analysis of why Bush won on Wednesday's Daily Show. I looked all over the Internet for a transcript and couldn't find one, so I watched this clip and transcribed the part at the end that I think is so very funny. Here's what I think was the best part:
Stewart: What do you think won this thing for Bush? What did it for him?

Colbert: Two issues, Jon. Exit polls of Bush voters said that the issues most important to them were terrorism and Cultural Values, both of which fall under the umbrella of fear.

Stewart: So, how are both of those issues fear?

Colbert: [Lots of silliness you can watch on the video]

Stewart: If those are the two major issues concerning voters, and again, why would NYC, which really has the most significant gay population in the country and has already has had the most significant terror attack in the country vote overwhelmingly for Kerry?

Colbert: Well, here’s the thing, Jon. We in New York are too close to the terrorism and the gay people. Only the red states, with the advantage of a safe distance, can take in the whole picture and clearly see what we should do about those issues. And so, on behalf of everyone living in the blue states, I’d like to thank the red states for saving us from ourselves.

The Big Moral Values Post

I don't know if this is kosher, but I'm going to do sort of a call-response thing on my blog. One of my oldest and dearest friends, Adam, has a blog and posted some excellent stuff today that really got me typing. I typed an absurdly long response on his blog, and I'd like to bring the whole discussion over here. I'm also going to post something my mother wrote to that Catholic leader who was telling people it was a sin NOT to vote for Bush on the grounds of moral values.
"Moral Values" (from Adam's A Violently Executed Blog)

First off, let's make it clear: "Moral values" are about more than gay marriage and abortion. Opposing an unjust war is a moral value. Fighting for health care and jobs is a moral value. Don't let the So-Called Liberal Media or the f'Right-dingers tell you otherwise.

Second, I'd like to address those that are blaming the queers for Kerry's loss. Yes, the Rethuglicans mobilized using us as their recruiting posters. Do you really think that if the GLBT community had stayed out of sight for the entire election period that it would have been any different? There's always something for these ChristoFascists - abortion, evolution, guns, prayer in schools - they always pull something out to beat on the Progressives with. Even Clinton thought Kerry should play the Queer-bashing card, but Kerry stuck to his principles and said no.

I don't think the GLBT community bears blame. We fought like hell for Kerry, despite his lukewarm support. Even the Log Cabin Republicans turned against Bush. Unlike the Naderites, we understood the need to support a candidate that could win.

So don't blame the election on us. You say that shit around me, I'll put a size 10EE so far up your ass you'll taste shoe leather.
And my response:
I didn't know you had wide feet, too! We really are like siblings. I'm an 8.5D, which is wide as hell for a girl. And my New Balance Men's 7EEE fit like a glove, but oh... that wasn't the point of your post, was it?!

I watched a really interesting documentary last night about Gay Republicans, and I was so happy to see the Log Cabin Repubs NOT endorse Bush. It was fascinating.

I don't think the blame is really aimed at the GLBT community. I think the blame regarding that issue is at the insidious homophobia in this country. I blame the 51% that voted for Bush for their homophobia, because you're right... when they say "Moral Values," they mean (as Jon Stewart said) "dudes kissing dudes."

A war just to avenge your dad (in the wrong fucking country, btw) is completely immoral, but "it's war, and war is manly and American and STRAIGHT! Dudes kissing dudes... now that's just wrong because (frankly) I'm threatened by gay people because I'm insecure about my own sexuality and change and things I don't know about."

I'm so enraged by all of this. I love what Jon Stewart's been saying lately... about how if the war were really about terrorism and about what gay people should do, then who is better at knowing about that than New Yorkers. They were directly affected by terrorism, and they live around lots of dudes kissing dudes. And so why, then, did they vote overwhelmingly for Kerry? Steven Colbert said it was because they were too close and "Thank god the people in the red states are saving us from ourselves!"

OK, I should be putting this on my own blog (perhaps I will), but you have such a great point here.

Keep the faith, my brother.
Here is a letter my mother wrote to Archbishop Chaput regarding moral values, after he declared that any Catholic who votes for Kerry is committing a serious sin and should go to confession because they are cooperating in evil:
Dear Archbishop Chaput,

Would you not also consider the proliferation of war a foundational
issue? I'm appalled at your inconsistency and at your interjection of
politics into the church.

Abby's Mom
Mountains of North Georgia
He responded, too.
Dear Abby's Mom,

Thank you for your email. Since you've taken the time to write, I'm sure you'll also have the courtesy to read what I actually say about these issues.

[He then included several links: the original New York Times interview transcript and his thoughts on the relationship of church and state, the death penalty, Catholics and their responsibilities both within their Church and as citizens, embryonic stem cell research, and Iraq. If anyone wants these links, let me know.]

You're certainly welcome to disagree with anything I have to say. But you do owe it to your own integrity -- not to mention common justice -- to know what I actually say, not what others report or claim about it.

Be assured of my good will and prayers.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
And my mother's response to him:
Dear Archbishop Chaput,

I very much appreciate your reply. In fact, I was astonished to get a personal response from you. In fairness, I forwarded the links you sent me to all persons to whom I had forwarded my original letter to you.

I've read everything you sent me, and it seems that we agree on almost everything. Here's the big point of disagreement. Although you certainly have a right to choose your candidate, I don't feel you should be using the power of the church to support your candidate. You say that abortion and stem cell research are foundational issues. I would never have an abortion, and I certainly wish that no one ever would. I don't like the idea of using embryos to do stem cell research. However, I feel that waging a pre-emptive war, refusing to consider not applying the death penalty, following policies which are destroying our environment, and not renewing the ban on assault weapons should also be foundational issues. Neither candidate is consistently pro-life.

To me, using one pro-life issue as an excuse to exhort your parishioners to vote for one candidate smacks of playing God. Because both candidates fall on both sides of pro-life issues, I feel you would show great wisdom in asking them to pray to God in helping them to make their own decisions, not in telling them what to do.


Abby's Mom
I know I'm putting an awful lot into one post, but I have a rare day off to catch up on things, and I've been meaning to blog about this idea of moral values. I even have another topic I'm hoping I get to today, so thanks for your patience if you've actually read this far.

There is more to MORAL VALUES than keeping dudes from kissing other dudes. (It may seem shameless, but I had to make this t-shirt, because I'm going to have to wear one myself.)

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Ways of Viewing This Country

Where I don't want to live.

This graphic makes me feel so much better. I feel less like I'm living in the middle of Jesusland. Maybe I don't need to run to the hills. I'm still moving to Boston after this internship, but at least for now, I can feel better about my country.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Ride-Along Part 2

The rest of the ride along. I won’t be organized about it. I’m too pissed about the election.

The scariest part of the evening came after we went to the house where the “violent mental consumer” was supposed to be. I was expecting someone screaming throwing things. We pulled up after meeting briefly around the corner (I wrote about that before). There were 6 police officers (and me) in 4 cars. The house looked dark. I was very nervous. In the car, I asked if I should come in with her. She said that was the only way I could see a CIT call. I was scared, but I decided to do it (a real act of bravery for me). I got out of the car and suddenly became very aware of my chest and back being exposed (police officers wear bulletproof vests). We walked up to the dark house. I positioned myself between two officers, not wanting to be the last person to walk up, nor the first person. They always go to CIT calls with backup, so this was typical. The officers had flashlights aimed at the door and their hands on their weapons. They knocked loudly on the front door. A 28 year-old African-American woman (I’ll call her Miss X) answered the door. She had clearly been sleeping, not at all what I was expecting. The lead CIT officer was in charge of the call.

This woman was talking a lot about details of her life and her day. She was coherent, but she wasn’t giving us enough background for us to understand what she was saying. The officer asked many organizing questions. It’s hard to explain, but basically here’s what we finally gleaned from talking to her and from making a few calls to the hospital emergency room. Miss X lives with her mother, her mother’s common law husband, and another woman who moved in recently. Miss X clearly didn’t like this new woman who had moved in. The mother of Miss X is not healthy and has to take several types of medication. Her daughter is the one who gives her medication. She doesn’t like anyone else to do that. Well, Miss X is also on medication. TennCare (Tennessee’s version of Medicare) will only prescribe medication for 30 days at a time, but sometimes the appointments they make are further apart than 30 days. Turns out this woman had run out of her meds about two weeks ago. On the day of the night we were there, she had overdosed her mother, and her mother ended up in the emergency room.

What was interesting about this call was how the lead officer spoke to this woman. He kept her thoughts organized by asking simple questions. And when he arrested her, it was so casual that I didn’t even know that was what had happened. He asked, “Sweetheart, you got some shoes you can put on?” And when she panicked saying she couldn’t possibly leave the house because there weren’t keys and she couldn’t get back in, he told her he’d call her mother and get more keys and take care of everything. They cuffed her, and she went into our car.

We drove her south to the triage assessment center at the big hospital downtown, not before missing our exit and ending up in Arkansas. The triage assessment center was a grim and horrible place. It was cramped and dirty and small. There was a woman there playing with her Treo and debating through the glass with one of the patients in a way I found appalling. I’d get her fired if I could. It was not a pretty place, and I hate that people who are psychotic, scared, out of their heads have to go some place like that.

After that lovely experience, we still hadn’t eaten. It was 11pm. We got to the Rendezvous at 11:05pm, and a cop watching the door let us in anyway. They didn’t want to feed us until the old guy working there saw that she was a cop. His son is also a cop and works in her precinct. We asked for anything they wanted to give us. We each got a full rack of ribs plus sides. They didn’t charge us either. We tipped though.

We drove through some pretty scary neighborhoods to get to a Police substation in a really sketchy part of town. A friend of hers was there after her shift. She’d been hanging out in the substation with an on-duty, plainclothes officer who she likes. The male officer left, then we ate our ribs and the two of them talked about this boy who’d been there. It was like high school or something very bizarre. After that, my officer gave me a ride home.

I learned a lot about police culture. I’m so glad I did it, but I don’t think I’ll be doing it again. It was a hard thing to do. It isn’t in my blood. I’m so glad I saw a CIT call and that it wasn’t a dangerous situation (even though going in, it TOTALLY felt dangerous). I’m even gladder I didn’t see horrible violence or anything too inerasable. What a relief. More training this Friday, but luckily, the ride-along is now behind me, and I survived.

Two more election-related posts below. Don't forget to read those, too.

Black Wednesday

I feel like this.

Republicans are Closet Pervs

Let's psychoanalyze the election for shits and giggles. My Dad sent me this e-mail this morning:
This election was lost on religious grounds:

* abortion is bad
* marriage is only for heterosexuals
* stem cell research is evil because it's messing with sex and babies or something like that

When it's all said and done, all three have to do with sex. All three "foundational" issues have to do with not messing with sexual things.

Actually, the last election was probably lost on similar grounds:

* Gore was with Clinton
* Clinton was sexual
* ergo, no Gore

So what's foundational about religion has to do with sex, and now what has become foundational in politics has to do with sex...


Sex is bad, but aggression is good.

I responded:
Republicans are closet pervs.
He responded:
You got it!

Freud, for all of his failings, had his finger on the pulse of the human psyche. It's a great pleasure for an aging, balding, psychoanalyst to have a daughter who immediately got the point of the missive.

It's easier to rationalize aggressive, power-driven motives than sexual ones....