Friday, May 31, 2002

Beautiful Soul

Why certainly one can be
A beautiful soul
If in her days
She is not required
To kill game
Or slash throats

Survival Pact

Carrie in her sleek business suit looks out the window of our 18th floor offices this afternoon.

"It's such a beautiful day," she says. "It's sad that people in the world are killing each other."

On a Friday like this, we wander away from software-speak and into the thought of surviving after a nuclear holocaust. I suddenly realize that people like my twin sister, Naomi, who is very strong at heart though unable to get a full-time job, would fare well.

"She has good instincts," I say, pondering on her fierceness. Naomi used to be a home health aid, and once when she was assigned to care for a rich, lonely woman named Mrs. Pace.

Mrs. Pace lives near Colony Surf Hotel and Michel's Restaurant. She was the president of a travel agency and had a reputation for being ruthless with her employees.

So on the day my sister arrived at Mrs. Pace's condo, Mrs. Pace yells, "Where the hell were you?" to which my sister begins to explain that her company told her to arrive at 8 a.m., which was an hour later than the time Mrs. Pace had expected. But Mrs. Pace cuts into her explanation and sees a muffin in Naomi's hand, "Put that away! I don't want any of my girls eating when they are with me!" So Naomi obliges and continues to endure a string of condescending remarks from this woman.

Mrs. Pace instructs Naomi to get her car so they can go shopping. When Naomi arrives with her car, Mrs. Pace settles in the passenger seat then again yells, "Where the hell were you?"

Now Naomi is indignant. And her quiet demeanor is transformed into a tsunami, with her voice showering the place with great force.

"You know Mrs. Pace? Get out of my car, get back in your house and find somebody else to do this for you! I don't appreciate how you treat me, and I don't need your money!"

Mrs. Pace gets out of the car then sneers, "You act like you have a brain in your head."

"You know," Naomi replies, "you'd be a lot happier if you started treating people like human beings."

"Oh, shut up!"

"Oh, you shut up!"

Naomi reported Mrs. Pace to her employer. "If you allow your employees to be treated this way," she says, "the morale of your company is going to go down." Mrs. Pace was dropped as a client.

Naomi doesn't have a whole lot of skills that fit a traditional workplace. There are gems here and there that can't seem to patch together and make her desirable enough for any one company to give her a salary, health insurance and a 401K plan. But, come a nuclear holocaust, I do want her around.

Carrie tells me that in a holocaust situation, people who know how to make a turbine will have the most power in the new social structure. We sort of joked about a "Survivor Pact," where we'd have a plan of who would be in the group and where to meet if our world suddenly turned upside down.

Then I began to think about my value in such a setting. Interestingly enough, I don't think my role would be very different than what it is now.

Posted by ruth at May 31, 2002 06:24 PM

Thursday, May 23, 2002

Hello, World!

Not certain what anyone could tell me to make the butterflies in my stomach stop.

What do you do when your chosen livelihood requires you to beautifully render for others what you suddenly don't believe in yourself?

My eyes are tired.

Posted by ruth at May 23, 2002 06:10 PM