I would like to address the police officer who saw me today.
I was the person chasing a medium-sized black dog across the very busy Quivira Rd. at the intersection of 109th. I'm 100% certain this officer saw me, and the dog, as he/she paused to let the dog run around, and then swerved to drive around me.
This letter could take issue with the fact that this officer was driving what appeared to be a Chevy Yukon; I'm certain we aren't expecting any blizzards in the next several months, and the off-roading opportunities in the middle of suburban-sprawl Johnson County are few, so the use of this vehicle's 15 mpg seems to be quite an arrogant waste of taxpayer's money. But I'll proceed with more selfish issues, mainly myself and that dog.
The motorists in the intersection slowed down and pulled over, with some eventually stopping and offering their help, due to what was obviously my pursuit of that dog--yes, that dog wearing a collar with the frayed end of a recently-snapped leash, running away from the sweating, yelling, slightly pudgy and red-faced middle aged man who was holding what was the leash's other half. That man was me, and that dog is not mine but I was watching it.
Despite the helpful nature of the other Midwesterners who offered to help, the officer drove on, and left me and the damned dog to run in traffic on our own.
I do not know what the officer was doing at that moment. I can only offer two details: 1) This officer drove away at a rather leisurely pace, so presumably there was not a mission underway; and 2) This officer was headed south on Quivira, driving into what is one of the safest, lowest-crime areas anywhere in the metro area. My parents who live down the street once had a police officer knock on their door to remind them their garage door was open and it was getting dark. There isn't a lot keeping these officers busy. So I can only presume the officer who saw me, as is often the case in southern Overland Park, wasn't super-busy at that moment.
I don't make it a habit to run around in traffic in busy streets. However, even if I did partake in it for some particular reason, the sight that the officer drove past was certainly an abnormality, and he/she could have considered the catastrophe that could have unfolded, with cars swerving around each other, and around me, and around the damned dog that I will never offer to take on a walk ever again. So there's the public safety issue.
However, let's talk about decency. When strangers, who presumably have places to go that inspired them to get into their cars, pull over and offer to help, that's nice. When a police officer who obviously is going nowhere important--and God forbid I ask he/she gets out of the enormous truck to help, no way--could prevent iminent death by simply turning on his/her flashing lights, yet that officer instead drives around other motorists and around me and around an out-of-control dog, that officer is an asshole.
Please let that officer know that if he/she ever drops to the sidewalk with a heart attack, and I see it happen, I'll stop to help. Why? Because 1) I am in a professional role to be helpful in that situation, and 2) I'm not a dick.
Thanks for nothing. Enjoy my taxes. I'm glad the residents' garages are well-protected with you on patrol.
I don't miss living in Miami. I have a love/hate relationship with the city, much like an ex who drives you crazy but you still have a few fond memories. It's best it is over, but still, there were good times.
There are a few things I miss.
I miss the mango tree in my back yard, which had mangoes that popped off the pit like an avocado, none of this "how do you slice it?" nonsense of store-bought mangoes. And the taste...the best taste ever. I had to wake up at dawn to pick them off the ground or my neighbor Phyllis would go out and steal them all for herself.
I miss walking 6 blocks to the hotel strip and sneaking into the fancy hotels to use their gyms and pools. I also miss not having a need to buy a bottle of shampoo or a bar of soap for 7 years because I could just raid housekeeping carts. I never stole towels, however. Whenever I took a towel, I brought it back and left it by the pool for them to collect. No need to be rude.
I miss the filthy coffee place with the best café con leche, on Lincoln Road. And I miss pastelitos.
I miss driving to work or class in the morning, and listening to the morning shows on the salsa music radio stations. Everything was so optimistic and happy.
I miss the guy from Jamaica. I miss the guy from Colombia with the tattoo of the Colombian flag. I'm sure they don't miss me, but still...
I don't miss the beach. I rarely walked over there. But I do miss walking in Key Biscayne, through the mangrove trees. And I miss finding a private mini-beach in there when the tide was out. (...see item directly above this one.)
Finally I miss the smell in the air. The humidity had a very specific scent.
I don't have any fancy internet viral-video extravaganzas featuring celebrities dumping buckets of ice water on their heads. That may be to my disadvantage. I'm just doing this because I think it's a good thing to do.
Last year, some of my nursing school instructors went to Haiti on a medical mission, and I joined them to get a sample of what the experience was like. We set up our clinic in an orphanage. There is no place more depressing than a Haitian orphanage. Most of the kids had ringworm and, of course, intestinal parasites from drinking the water. And then we opened up to the local community, and that was just as bad. It was really sad, and frustrating, but the people were grateful for the little bit of help we were able to provide. And I ate goat, which was not as shocking as I thought it would be.
So this time I'm going to Honduras, which just as impoverished and perhaps a skosh more violent. Good times.
As fortunate Americans, I don't think there is any point in apologizing for our own lifestyles, affluent or otherwise. But we also need to be aware that there is a world around us. I, sitting at my computer right now, did not create the political and economic problems of Honduran society, but I can go there and use my skills as a Registered Nurse and help out a little bit. Just teaching them basics about health care, I can help a lot, perhaps.
Anyway--if you would like to donate to providing health care around the world, please give a few dollars. I will gladly take $1.
There's a story about a dad who left his son in the car all day. Of course the kid died.
I know nothing about this guy's specific situation other than this article, and if the police say they have evidence, then...
But as a related story:
I was a Humane Society foster parent for puppies for years. An endless train of puppies, destined for pet stores, ended up in my care, and I nursed them back to health (or occasionally was not able to do so, sadly) while hanging on to them until they were old enough to be spayed/neutered and adopted out. While I had them, I took them everywhere with me. I would grab my wallet, my keys, my phone, and a puppy or two and go about my day. I took them to work. To the Apple store. Everywhere. Except Starbucks, the bitch manager at Starbucks wouldn't let me come in with them. Anyway —
One day I went to get my oil changed, and I dropped off my car and walked away down the street. A while later, I literally almost fell over with the realization that I was missing something. I had left a puppy, a fat little yellow lab, in the car on a hot Miami summer day. My car was in the parking lot, in the sun, windows up.
I never, ever left puppies in my car, mostly because I worried someone would steal them. I have love for Miami but the city is a dump, and the people will steal anything that they think they can sell for $10. Plus, there was the heat from the Miami summer. Even with the air conditioning running, I would drive and sweat.
So I ran back. Ran. I envisioned bursting into the garage, screaming at them to lower my car from the lift so I could get the puppy out and face the judgmental stares of the mechanics who thought I was a terrible person. But as I rounded the corner and saw the shop, much to my horror I saw, even worse, the car was still outside in the parking lot.
The puppy was just laying there on the floorboard, snoozing, perfectly fine. Apparently I hadn't been gone as long as I thought. He had enjoyed a lovely little nap down where the air was cooler, and as a result he was wide awake and ready to wiggle around and play. So I ran into the office, asked for my key for a minute, and grabbed the puppy and carried him away. Life went on. But I held him tight for the rest of the day.
This wasn't my only brush with puppy death — portable kennel doors popped open and puppies fell out, unattended puppies playfully jumped into oncoming traffic — but I still get the shivers thinking about what could have been with that lab. Maybe the dad did it to his son on purpose; this isn't about him. I'm just sayin', the story reminded me that there are times when routines fail us.
I walk to work. The hospital is only a few blocks from my apartment.
The walk is across the grounds of my apartment complex, over a bridge, and through the parking lot of the hospital. Seven minutes, a few longer if I stroll.
When I walk home from work, I stroll through the grass so the ground can wipe away the deadly diseases that cling to my shoes. MRSA, C. diff, VRE.
The other day as I walked to work, I looked to my right and picked out the colors of the sunrise: lots of pink, orange, some blue. Then as I crossed the bridge, I looked down and saw a 4-car pile up. I'll probably see some of those people soon, I thought. After they are discharged from the emergency room, of course. Maybe I should go introduce myself, say hi.
I went to lunch and saw the husband of a patient who was dying. He was buying a sandwich. He stood in line to pay, but when the line moved forward, he stood still, lost in a catatonic state. I wondered, Is that ham and cheese? That looks good. But maybe I am in the mood for a nice salad.
Then I went back upstairs where another family was gathered around their grandmother, who was also dying. They mourned in silence, occasionally crying but mostly just sitting in a sad manner. A young girl, the patient's granddaughter, figeted in oblivious restlessness. She tapped her feet on the ground. Her shoes had lights on them that blinked with each tap. Cute shoes, I thought.
Today when I was almost at my front door I saw a dead bird and I was devastated.