A late-August vegetable box from the CSA share.
Last week I served on a jury. The charges were attempted murder + agg assault + robbery & a bunch of related firearm charges. It was a fucked-up mess with detectives on the stand testifying to how they had not really investigated one iota before just taking the word of two absolute fucking knuckleheads who threw out the name of a guy in the neighborhood with no record, ever. So that guy, our defendant, was locked up for a year, solely on the sworn evidence of two, bullet-ridden knuckleheads, waiting on this bullshit trial, everyone surely hoping all the while that he got 12 people in the box who could take their task seriously.
Thank God. For our part, we were aggravated! Why has the state brought us here to decide on this bullshit, when if detectives had made one procedural move, this guy wouldn't be here & we could be using our time to decide something real? Maybe the guy who had actually put these two knuckleheads in the hospital? Or anyone else, maybe? Whatever.
It was thoroughly depressing, especially against our national-news backdrop. ("So, let's just thank God they did not gun him down dead while serving the arrest warrant!" Cheery!)
There is a lot of downtime in jury service, during which chatting we discovered that there were two of us who were Big Blue Family's children, plus a Big Blue Patriarch (retired). All 14 of us talked about how this was unusual and also, yes, this had been discussed during voir dire, and we were surprised to find ourselves in the box, voila.
By the time we had heard everything, we realized that probably the reason defense counsel had retained us as jurors was because the case was so full of WTF shitty police work. Police out-to-lunch. Holy mackerel. How bad was it? So bad that the defense counsel did not present a defense. This has surprised friends & acquaintances I've already told, but in context it was all the way like, We will not waste the court's time to dignify this codswallop with a reply.
So, that. I looked pretty while I read the verdict because looking good is a responsibility.
Before that was quite over, news from the homeland: Kowalski's oldest brother shot himself in the head. Because this is Wisconsin, we are speaking of a tangle of seething passive resentment & dark, dark anger + handguns, also people left behind who are fully aware of regret in culpability & we guess they'll all manage.
It was touch & go for a couple of days with my guy, though. I guess when your parents die in their 90s, it is mostly a relief, but this is different, even if your siblings are almost from a different generation. I thought that because of the method, it would be more of a silent, subterranean processing, but no. This surprised me, to say the least. And maybe it was not under the ground, but it was awfully in the dirt. The prim civility of Everybody's Wife had to give way to the familiarity & plush comfort of Old Girlfriend, the whole time with this song in my head. (If I let this go, you can't tell nobody, I'm talking about nobody ... I really need somebody.)
I told Kowalski this last night, and he wondered if that made me [Timbaland]. Yes! I guess I'm ok with that. It is accurate to say that I have had goosebumps & high fevers along this long, long road.
He made me laugh, his facility with all the musics. It was in the tail end of an evening with a lot of me, sobbing & it felt good to laugh a real, caught-off-guard laugh.
Yesterday afternoon, full-up on 36 hours of Kowalski's grief counseling, plus the reverberations of that family, the house, who we were, but also who I am, I was on my way to a spin class to get it off of me & scour it from my soul. Right as I was putting my phone in the charging locker, Mari texted to let me know he was coming home in a few hours instead of Friday.
Change of plan: had better get cuter, fast. Less frowny!
I doubled back to the locker room to take charge of the steam room. The sauna is more to my preference, but my hair is in recovery from a frazzled, bikram-yoga's mess & needed a full, steamy, conditioning, detangling sortie.
I was in & out of the steam room two or three times over most of an h0ur, trying not to cook my brain nor pass out (foreshadowing) because the only other person in the wet area was an older woman with a strong resemblance to Nancy Marchand, lounging in the hot saltwater pool. I did not want her to have to be responsible for my rescue if I took a header onto the white-tiled floor.
After all the thorough smoothing out of every one of my ridiculous, Mermaidy Godiva, caddywhompus curls, I put everything up in a towel turban just in the nick of time and oozed out into a lounge chair on the wet-room deck to lie down so I could be certain I would make it all the way to the shower & through a shower without losing my footing. I did not feel faint, lying in the chair, so that was good.
Before I committing to lying down for a full rest, I had noticed the woman in the pool listing a tad. I said to her, trying to call out over the noise & the echo of the room, "Are you ok, ma'am?"
She didn't answer, and her eyes were open, so I let her be, feeling chastened. This was a place for relaxing, not busybodies. Jolie & I did not nickname this gym the Society Matrons' Gym for nothing.
I rested on the chaise for ... I don't know, ten or fifteen minutes. Then I sat up to test myself & see if I needed more steam or maybe just a leisurely shower & lengthy rebuilding of pretty-making for my husband to come home & my fellow wet-room member was ass-up, floating in the pool.
WHAT THE FUCK OPPOSITE OF RELAXING NO
I screamed a perfect Halloween scream & tore out to the hallway. There is a telephone on the swimming-pool deck, but that meant I would have to leave to go through two doors into a co-ed area.
Almost all of the people in this story are naked and/or wearing only towels. Do you tuck a cell phone into your giant vagina when showering? No, right.
I was by myself there, way back into the secret recesses of the relaxing, wet-room's chamber. I couldn't leave her, but I, ugh! Frustration! Coming down the hall I could see one of the spa aestheticians walking and though I had already hollered it a few times, I called right to her, "Dial 9-1-1, please!" And then I screamed, again, uselessly & went back to the pool.
There are no words to really convey my deep embarrassment regarding the uselessness in my panic. I have a WSI certification & ok, I got it more than 20 years ago, but in my defense, hot tubs don't have lifeguards! Lifeguard training consists broadly of two tenets: 1. you will be mostly dealing with a thrasher, 2. do not get into the water to get anyone.
Also fueling my dithering was how she was face-down in the water, unconscious-y! And a lot of things jumbled-up in my brain about not moving unconscious people (spinal injuries? head wounds? what?). I had not heard anything, but I'd also been lying there with my eyes closed. What if she had slipped from the deck?
I was standing in the not-quite-waist-deep pool like this for about 20 seconds, I'd guess, when the woman who had been walking in behind the aesthetician ran into the room. I didn't know it then, but she is a nurse. She was full of good ideas & direction. (She was not bossy, she was the boss.)
"You have to turn her over!"
Ok! Yes! Excellent idea! Ok! I turned her over. I was telling Mari, that in my mind, I was thinking, at some deep level, Ok, so we turn her over & then what? What then? I have taken a lot of resuscitation classes but ok, books!
She was breathing. I did not know that, the nurse had to tell me. I was so floored, I needed an R.N. to diagnose respiration for me.
The sweet redhead, also-nurse, then told me, "We have to get her out of the water."
Yes! It's hot in here! But I can't lift this woman! It's hot in here & I was in the steam room before this, too! But I couldn't say any of that. All I could say was, "OK, but I don't know how!" But maybe not that articulately.
Anyhow, then another pretty girl in gym shorts & a t-shirt showed up & pulled off her sneaks to help the nurse & the aesthetician haul the woman out of the water while I buoyed her up from where I was.
Inside voice talking: great, she's breathing and on the hastily-assembled, million-towel futon, but what if she has brain damage?
Then the pretty gym-short girl & I went back and forth with another bushel of towels, these all wet with cool water, to splash & squeeze all over the woman, to try to cool her down. The nurse was attending her, taking her pulse, but I still did not know the nurse was a nurse. She could have been an aerobics instructor; we were in the gym.
By then it was an all-hands-on-deck situation, people in clothes were arriving, the ambulance was well on its way. I was hovering to see if she would be ok and then I got dragged into the internal incident-reporting procedure. By then I was wrapped firmly in two dry towels: one around my armpits, one around my waist.
She will be fine. She was quite cogent when she left, strapped on the ambulance thingy. I could not find my things, my bag with my water bottle & wide-toothed comb & my giant fall Vogue, and wandered around for a while before I remembered they were in the wet room on the shelf. Then I got into the shower and could not stop crying.
The locker-room attendant ministered to me intermittently from the doorway of the showers. Lots of women who didn't know anything about what had happened asked me -- gasping & sobbing under the water -- at intervals, "Are you ok?" Everyone wants to be helpful and I appreciated it. Like, yes! Let's all help each other tonight!
I could not stay in the shower forever, but where else to cry semi-privately? I could not stop. I don't know why. I mean, it had been a terrible shock. Finally, I had to get out of there & just get on with it, blotchy and blubbering. There was a stream of women who had been there at the end, reassuring me, resolving that I had saved her life. There was a great deal more talk about God than I have ever known at the gym.
I just kept saying, "It was so frightening. I don't know."
After I told Mari what happened, and also Kowalski -- at the end of his most-recent grief-counseling hour -- they both agreed with everyone else's assessment. So I guess it's true because the homeland does not believe in inventing reasons to laud anyone.
Speaking of the hardcase Midwest: did you see this about the Laura Ingalls Wilder memoir? Fish sent me the link the other day. I was thinking of how they thought Jack drowned on the trip out West & when the girls cried, they were shamed. He came back to them, so all's well that ends well, but skate tough or go home. Homeland, wow.