11 July 2008

Ingrid Betancourt and The Jungle

A couple of days ago, I saw a Larry King interview with Ingrid Betancourt, one of the freed FARC hostages. I was shaken as I saw the trauma in her eyes and watched her try to manage the memories as they arose.

One thing that struck me was that, several times in the interview, she said that "... I think that many things happen in the jungle that we have to leave in the jungle." She may have meant that she doesn't wish to discuss her abuse. She may have meant exactly what she said, that some experiences are better left to the darkness of that place and time.

Though I was not held captive in the jungle for 6 years, I was held captive for 18 years in my own private, solitary jungle without the support of other hostages. This much I know: For her and the other hostages, nothing can be left in the jungle. The jungle is in her head. This is true for everyone: The Gulag, the concentration camp, all of the places where we learn, from personal experience, the extreme cruelty of human beings toward another live on our heads. Watching or hearing other people being tortured never leaves one's consciousness. Our own personal humiliation and deprivation of even the most basic of rights--those minutes and hours live on forever in our minds. Without warning, they reassert themselves and the jungle lives on and you live in it.

It took me a while to recover from the interview. Her words were inadequate to convey the horror and sadness that I recognized in her eyes. I wished that I could wipe it all away for all of those freed hostages, wherever they are.

But the jungle, the Gulag, the concentration camp, the time and locales of extreme child abuse live on forever in our heads. Forever.

Loathsome Conjures Up a Migraine

I was on the phone with my mom yesterday at 8:15 when Loathsome knocked on my door. Not knowing who it was, I said, "Come in." The sight of him standing in my office doorway first thing in the morning was a harbinger of bad things to come. To my surprise, he noted immediately that I was on the phone and left. Loathsome is usually too self absorbed to notice that you're on the phone unless you put the person you're talking to on hold and say, "I'm on the phone. I'll be with you in a minute."

When I finished my conversation, I actually went to see what he wanted. That's exactly the kind of bad judgment call I've been making for weeks now. I can't even remember what the hell I was thinking at the time. I ran into the door jamb on my way out of my office, though. I remember that. I have a bruise on my left hipbone commemorating the event.

"What?" I asked him when I got to his office.

"I need to scan...."

"Give it to me. I'll do it." As always, I was trying to cut to the chase.

"No, I did the scan..." Oh my god. He can actually do something.

"...but when I checked my email to see if I got the copy, it asked for my Roadrunner password," his voice trailed off and he looked for a moment as if the confusion was blocking his airways. "I have to get this to a client. Could you send it?"

Oh god. What I won't do for my company.

"Okay. Scan it again and send it to me." I groaned inwardly, knowing I was probably going to spend the next hour or so dealing with him and his email.

After he scanned it, I opened my email as he hovered over me. He brought a sticky note with the email addresses and watched me type them in as if I might accidentally detonate a bomb in the process.

"Done," I pointed out, in the hopes that would get him out of my office immediately.

"I don't know why it asked me for my password." He's relentless. Loathsome's general approach to life is to keep repeating things endlessly until he gets the response he wants to hear or he drives someone absolutely out of their mind, whichever comes first.

"Did you restart? Restart your computer," I suggested. I know. What a brilliant, out of left field idea, right?

"Okay," he mumbled. "I don't know why it asked for my password."

I told him I didn't know, either, but he should try restarting. I hotfooted it back to my own office. Halfway back, I felt like I'd been stabbed in my left temple with an icepick. The Migraine. It didn't leave me for the rest of the day. Nonetheless, I called Loathsome a little later to check on his progress. I know. I'm a saint.

"So did you restart?" I asked him.


"Well did it work?" Just then I remembered why I should never follow up with Loathsome. Too late....

"Yeah. I don't know why it asked me for a password...."

I felt that icepick in my temple again; it was actually the high point of my day yesterday. Seeing Loathsome first thing in the morning is like walking under a ladder, breaking a mirror, opening an umbrella on the inside and crossing paths with a black cat all at the same time. Things can only get worse from there.

08 July 2008

Updated Injury Report

Since my last self-injury post, I struck my head against something. I now have a knot on my forehead.

Somehow I managed to bruise my right forearm.

Luckily, no more burns yet.

The Ever-Shrinking Crazy Land

Foot Lady left us yesterday, another casualty of declining revenue. I'm disconsolate. Foot Lady, though she could be difficult and annoying, was tirelessly supportive after my father's suicide and my treatment for breast cancer. Of course, I'll also miss the general discomfort she caused the rest of the Crazy Landers whenever she forced them to look at her feet. I'm going to miss her on many levels.

I think this is the end of the reductions in force. It shouldn't be. Mr. Moneybags has insulted Owner and provided him with incorrect information not once, but twice. Owner shared with me the details of their first conflict. He now refers to Mr. Moneybags by his last name only. Accordingly, he will henceforth be called Bags here. The Superhighway filled me in on the second (and more egregious) offense. That's why she's called the Information Superhighway, after all.

I've absorbed most of Crazy's work and, therefore, I've been spending enormous amounts of time with Hemorrhoid. God help me. He's a sweet guy, but we speak two completely different languages. It requires a staggering level of concentration and energy to convert Hemorrhoid-speak to Ggirl-talk.

My surgery has been postponed until later in the month. Oh yay. More time for self injury and high anxiety. I've been looking forward to getting it over with, but maybe even more to taking a little break from Crazy Land. Yes, in this case, surgery is superior to work.

There's so much more to say, but this is all I have energy for tonight.