Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hell with it

                                                   The Trailer In California

I called in sick today. I've been fighting a sinus infection but really I was just plain stressed out. As a commercial driver, I am expected to pass a physical examination every two years. When I was younger, I would go for my physical with a brutal hangover and never worry about passing. Now that I'm old the doctors are trying to find something every time they look at me.

I went for my physical this week and got a little weasel of a doctor. He was born about the time I started driving for a living. He wanted to know how much I get paid. He wanted to know why I wore glasses when I can read the eye chart without them. He wanted to know why I am taking a micro dose of high blood pressure medicine when I don't seem to have high blood pressure. (Because a goddam doctor told me to you idiot.) I passed every single test on his form, but he didn't seem to like that. He kept asking me more questions.

Finally he announced that he wasn't going to pass me because my body mass index was three points too high. He told me that I needed to lose ten pounds right there, in the office, or he would have to assume that I have a sleep disorder and suspend my card until I went to the sleep disorder clinic.

It turns out that he was being arbitrary. I tried to tell him that I don't have a sleep disorder but he started explaining the transportation industry to me instead. It seems that commercial drivers are constantly falling asleep at the wheel and getting in accidents because we don't exercise enough, we're too fat and we have sleep apnea.

I suggested that he might want to look into the state and federal laws concerning hours of service. If we're falling asleep at the wheel, it might have something to do with the fact that we can be forced to work sixteen hours a day, or the fact that federal wage and hours laws don't apply to us and we don't have to be paid overtime wages if we work for an interstate carrier. By the way, if one of your employer's vehicles crosses a state line, once a year, you work for an interstate carrier. I could go on. Fuck yes I could go on.

But as I said, the doctor was an expert on the transportation industry so he explained to me that the problem is that drivers are fat and unhealthy because we're lazy and in need of discipline. I know that drivers fall asleep but I'd like that asshole to name one.

I wasn't going to fight the guy. No point. So I called the sleep clinic and tried to make an appointment. I got to talk to an appointment person in God knows where. I explained my predicament and she was sympathetic. She told me she would explain that I needed to be seen right away and pass the message on. That was Monday morning and I still haven't heard from them. I got a message that my message had been received and I would be contacted, some day.

My current physical expires in three weeks. I contacted the union and my bosses. They contacted their law experts who assured them that the doctor was talking out of his ass, but this does me no good as he refused to return any of my paper work and is essentially holding it hostage.

I am finding this distressing. I don't even want to be a bus driver any more. I have to do it for a little more than two years and I can retire. I want to retire. I've been in this business for 36 years and I have a feeling there's more to life than this.

The good news is that I walked out in the yard and saw three different kinds of fowl, male and female, domestic and wild all with babies, looking at me. The chickens ran up to me, expecting to be fed. The turkey hens chased their babies into the undergrowth while the toms gobbled at me and displayed their mighty tail feathers. The California quail ran back and forth and made little sounds. Why do I work all the time anyway? The neighbor's back pasture is full of some kind of purplish flowers that I don't recognize. The look a lot like chicory, but purple like thistles. I've lived here for years and I've never seen these flowers before. Now I'm looking at a couple of acres of them. Mysteries to explore.

Maybe I'd be happier if I had an elderly punk rock girl friend. I doubt it. Kitten On The Keys plays a Pohaku Ukulele she wants a geriatric punk rock boyfriend. My kinda girl.

Geriatric Punk Rock Boyfriend- Kitten On The Keys(buy)

I like my living situation.

My House Has Wheels- Southern Culture on the Skids (buy)


@eloh said...

Let me hear a "Hot Damn" for hermits!

Sorry you're getting games played. With only two years to that retirement check they have you by the short hair.

Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

Men in suits and uniforms hey. Ones to avoid but how? Endure and you will prevail. AND THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS YOU DONT LIVE WITH THAT ASSHOLE,his wife, kids must suffer the same superior attitude.
Take care.

Jon said...

I will say that I have become happily successful at living in my own little world. That's why intrusions like this are so upsetting. I'm in that doctor's world right now, and I don't like it.

ib said...

God damn! I like your living situation too!

I know many things take on a rosy sheen with the two dimensional flattening a photograph can bring, but shit, Jon, it looks very f@cking nice.

F@ck those government qu@cks! You are almost there by all accounts, brother, so don't dare let them shake your tree.

Keep listening to them chickens.The roosters especially.

All the colours. All the bibs; all the cobs.

That is a wake up call worth hearing, even for those of us who'd rather sleep deep.

Much f@cking love from Glasgow.

Jon said...

The rooster, my pal, is proclaiming the glory of chickens as I type.

I had a very strange dream about the chickens. I dreamt that my mother, who died in 1995, was feeding the chickens. She seemed very fond of the little black hen. She called her Laura. The black hen is usually known as Black Hen. I got up this morning, walked out to where the chickens were pecking and asked her if her name was, in fact, Laura. She seemed very interested. Started watching me and slowly walked up to me to look at me more closely. She didn't seem too concerned about food. She seemed to be responding to the name, Laura. What does this mean?

Hell yes I have it good here, but thanks for reminding me. Always good to hear from you my friend.

ib said...

Laura ? Or Lyra ?

ib said...

I am being cheesy, perhaps, but I was playing this fairie inspired game earlier and it seemed strangely apt.

Best wishes, Jon.

@eloh said...

If I ever get where I can travel again (doubtful) I will have to come sit on that porch.

I'll bring a couple rocking chairs, and a couple blankets for hidin' our confederate pistols.

Jon said...

@eloh, I am, if not southern, at least eastern. I call that a porch too. Here in California everyone insists on calling it my "back deck", even though it's clearly on the front of the trailer, but in California the front is wherever your car is parked and my car is parked on the other side. Californians do not believe in front porches. I lived far enough into the southern midwest that I appreciate front porches. In California, we are all each other's enemy. The neighbors represent a threat to our autonomy, therefore, we do not sit in front of the house where they can see us and plot against us.

I'm not much for traveling anymore myself, but you are welcome to come sit on my back deck. We probably won't need the pistols, but you might want to bring a ukulele.

Madame Pamita said...

maybe if you do a bunch of coke you can drop that 10 pounds! that'd make the doctor happy! ha!

Seriously, practice sending light and unconditional love to that doctor and see what happens.

As for your sinus infection - if they happen often, you might want to invest in one of these:

I used to get chronic sinus infections and cured myself with one of these. I've also had friends who were on the verge of getting surgery turn it around... so.. just letting you know.

And I am sending YOU lots of light and unconditional love, which is easy to do because you're such a good guy!

Jon said...

Thanks Madame. I should probably post something about me and that doctor. By the grace of God I don't usually hold grudges for more than a day or two. By the time I finally got to the sleep clinic I was much calmed down. By the next day I realized that the doctor is required to look at me as a statistical profile. As a statistic, I am threatened by all kinds of medical problems. As a human, I work fairly hard at staying ahead of them. The doctor was just looking for potential problems.

I've had upper respiratory problems for most of my life. I flush my sinuses at least daily with saline solution in an enormous syringe.

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