RED!!! Red is the color of sex and fear and dangers and signs that say DO NOT ENTER! all my favorite things in life…

I am not sure if I should be flattered or disgusted…

Today, on the lunch break, I decided that I needed to get away from all the bodies in the morgue and do something to help my nerves and pretty much to ground me. Working with the dead, I have started a little side project on my own. in my backyard I have a rock garden. This little garden doesn’t need much care and it florishes no matter what I do. The only thing to be sure of in the world is death and taxes, right? Every time that someone comes into the morgue that I feel as though I have a personal connection with (and trust me, there have been those moments when I have walked in and seen friends from my childhood on the table as well as parents of kids I grew up with), I take a rock and paint their name on it. If I know the birth year I will put the birth and death year. My dad, for example, has a rock there. so do all my grandparents, a few friends, and my aunts.

this little project grounds me. when people ask me how I survive such an intense job, I tell them about my little rock garden. people have found this to be sweet and comforting. Even when I have to go talk to the parents of the 19 year old boy who has just died, and they are deeply greiving, I tell them about the rock. And usually I take picture and email it to them. It’s one of the ways my job feels rewarding when in reality it’s gory and depressing. but what morgue isn’t?

Anway, I have run out of rocks and so I wandered over to the local landscaping place to buy more today. I was wearing jeans, a baggy green “guniess for strength” shirt I stole from Rick’s father (he’s very irish), and my hair was quite unkemp in a messy pony tail. I WORK WITH DEAD PEOPLE! I DON’T CARE HOW I LOOK!!! Of course, I DO clean myself up when I go to talk to the famiy.

I wandered into the office area of the landscaping shop, looking for someone to help me. I see a counter with people bartering. I go and stand in line. the guy behind the counter, who looks to be about 40, a bit tubby and with graying frizzed hair looks up from the magazine he is reading and says, after a long look and pause, “can I help you?”

I explain to the man what I am looking for. I explain the size and the reason. I explain the paint used and where the rocks will eventually be.

I should have explained that my eyes are about 14 inches north of where he was looking.

This guy, louis, decided that he was going to help me out. he takes me out to the yard and mutters something in spanish to the guy who was shoveling rocks. the guy smirks and quickly shovels a back of rocks for me. these are river rocks, the kind often seen in landscaping. they are heavy but I carry around a 30 pound kid on one hip while pulling a computer bag and diaper bag in the other while talking on a cell phone. I can handle it.

Louis: “let me help you with that. there is no reason why a pretty little thing like you should have to carry something big and heavy. let me, a big strong man, do it for you.”

I want to throw up on him. As we walked back to the office I realized that all the men in the yard shop were watching me. one even whistled. oh.good.god. you are kidding me, right? here, in my jeans and stollen tee? this is a joke right? where is the camera?? I get to the office and louis continues… “you know you are really pretty…” I just flash a smile and mutter something that sounds like “mphhsmnasm”.

“yes sir eee… quite the pretty girl. you married?”

“No, I have no time for that bullshit. I spend most of the time with my toddler.” I had hoped this would throw him off the scent. no such luck. turns out he was great with kids. he had six himself, “but they all live with their mommas”. oh.good.god… please go away.

Louis rings me up. Then he asks me for my number. I give him the number from my first home in the Marina when i was, oh I don’t know, maybe 4 years old? its long since been disconnected but I don’t care. anything to get me out of there. Louis decided to help me to my car, over my protests. when we got to the car, he asked what I did:

“I cut up dead bodies for a living” I said it seriously and deadpan. Louis looked faltered for a second. “you’re kidding, right?” he said nervously.

“Nope. I cut up bodies,” I said, realizing that he was a little freaked out, “yeah, it’s a fun job. my favorite part is using the saw on the skull. did you know that dead bodies don’t bleed? it’s really cool. After all, there is nothing pumping the blood anymore.” I held up my hand and shook his. “Yup, this hand you are holding was holding this man’s heart a few hours ago. it’s amazing how small it is and it keeps you alive.” I let go of his hand. “of course,” I said, “The heart is so squishy sometimes. I just want to play pipsqueak with it like a bar of soap. the eyes balls though… what’s the matter? you look a little green! it’s not that bad. come by the morgue sometime and I will totally let you see how cool it is to break open the ribs with the rib spreader.”

yeah. don’t think he will ask for my real number next time.

*bonus point to anyone who can name where the quote for the title is from!*


2 Responses to “RED!!! Red is the color of sex and fear and dangers and signs that say DO NOT ENTER! all my favorite things in life…”

  1. mom2amara Says:

    OMG I don’t know where that quote’s from but I have to say, day-um girl, I love how you put those boys in their place!

  2. fogcitymommy Says:

    I do have an attitude problem every once and awhile. 🙂

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