Monday, December 13, 2010

SNAP Half-Amped: My 2008 Conference Experience

(TK Chapter 4 or 5??? the other SNAP conference story)

The Post at this Link Used to Be:

Life in a Tupperware container, 1

I was going to write about how great I'm doing. Finally I can go to sleep without television or radio on, after years of needing some media in my head until I fell asleep, otherwise my head would fill up with my own thoughts and I’d never get to sleep. For years, if I made the mistake of just lying down, or letting a video play out, before I knew it, I wouldn't be asleep, I’d be sitting up, clenched, squirting tears. My face goes into this total twist thing as I realize the horror and shock of my own life. Some incident will enter my memory and before I know it I'm running the details in my head, and that leads to all the physical stuff that comes with triggered memories. Total body pain.

I was going to write that I'm Cured, it's stopped, but actually there have been two episodes now since I got to Albuquerque. Maybe it’s the sheer white of the Motel Six design style of my room, for some reason I'm real clear in here, when the episodes happen, when the line gets crossed between emotional and physical pain. I've experienced it live in person on myself here now twice in less than a month.

Yesterday it was so weird, I totally understood the part about needing media to occupy my brain or else. It was Sunday and I don't like to have to work on Sunday but yesterday I had, instead, more work than usual, on the show "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant," work that had to be done by early afternoon. So I got up my usual 4 AM and did it, transcribed at full attention at my little laptop, at my little perch on this tiny round table that is the only furniture in the room practically.

The interview was an hour and a half of another one of these incredible undereducated,incurious women who end up being featured on "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant," whose Season 4 now kept me tied to my laptop on Sunday. More than six hours straight listening to a monotone voice saying, I don't know, what do you mean, I don't think so. The new mother was so DUMB.

Hey, realty TV keeps me working, I should be grateful.

Anyway. Just at about two in the afternoon as I'm finishing up work, I'm thinking there is nothing I’d like more than to lie down and watch a movie, and the cable goes out, third or fourth day in a row, same time, just as I'm finishing work. But not being totally addicted to television, I thought, no big deal I’ll watch a movie on my laptop, nope, gave all the DVD’s to Lizzie when I left L.A. No problem, I thought, I’ll listen to the radio, but the connection was not good enough over the hotel internet ISP to get in the station I listen to on Sundays from L.A. KJLH

So here I was in this blank white room with no TV, no radio, no one I felt like I could call*, and within an hour I was tearing myself apart. Squealing, twisting my face, crying so much that when I woke up later in the night, and saw myself in the mirror, I was shocked. The clouds of puffed skin all over the face, not just puffy eyes, but all the way down to the cheeks, just huge lumpy folds of creased puffs, with little slits at the top where the eyes would be, and from those slits my beady little eyes beamed out, looking angry. *Once an episode starts I can’t call anyone, that's part of the episode….

Wow. No way I went out of the room looking like that.

So cried in here because I'm so lonely instead.

The first episode in this room was totally connected to the recent incidents in L.A. from living in an apartment owned by a slumlord. I don't think people realize how much having a slumlord for a landlord can affect a person, but it got me in ways I didn't realize until the second week I was here, when I asked the hotel people to let me move to a room on the top floor, so I could have a better view.

It is a better view in this new room, lots of twinkly lights.

But this is not the kind of hotel where a bellman shows up and packs your things and all you have to do is ride the elevator up one flight of stairs, tippling on four inch stilettos, petting a little Pekinese that lives in your handbag.

No, here at the Motel Sic, I had to lug all my stuff to the elevator, wait, ride, lug all my stuff to the new room. I don't know how I managed in a week to acquire so much more stuff, more than the 70 and 58 pound suitcases I had to repack at Amtrak to get here. I had Amazon send a coffeepot, a hand-held vacuum (I'm too OCD to only have housekeeping once a week like they have in these hotels and a programmable coffee pot is mandatory when you get up at 4 AM for your job). After being here only a week, I’d acquired kitchen stuff, bags of it, from the Dollar General Store. Anyway, it took 2 hours of continuous pulling and packing and shoving and unloading to get my stuff up one flight of stairs, while the guys who run the hotel stood outside tapping their feet waiting, and I so wished I was at one of those other kinds of hotels….

Not this lifetime.

Anyway, inside the room I had to unpack everything again, so by nightfall I was wiped out, and only then realized the heater in the room was broken. I called and the maintenance guy came and said, it's not broken, sometimes with these heaters you think they're broken, but they aren't and I agreed, even said, hey you don't want a room to get too hot, it can ruin your computer equipment.

But at one AM as I shivered in the little bed you get for $200 a week here, the heat didn't work, and I was more worried about the computer equipment freezing by that point,

It was the first night this season that Albuquerque went below 30 degrees.

My 4 AM I had pushed the little hotel room table into the hotel room kitchen where I kept the electric stove on all night by turning the timer back on every half hour.

And I went into a total episode, this one trigged by slumlord landlord memories, thinking I was in the same mess now again, only now in a hotel in Albuquerque. From 2-5 or so AM, I relived everything we went through in L.A. with the guy who ran his rental business out of a high rise office building in Beverly Hills. There by the heat of two electric stove burners, I remembered how we went one whole summer of 2009 without an air conditioner, spending hours each day immobilized covered with sweat, in that apartment that cost me $1300 a month. When the slumlord finally replaced the AC, it still did not work, so I spent the summer of 2010 sweltering immobilized, not all day, just a few hours a day, but I was still at the mercy of this slumlord landlord who would respond to maintenance requests with months of arguments that made no sense.

“We need pipes replaced in the bathroom.”
“Miss, Ebeling, it's come to my attention that you have a cat in your apartment, now that goes against your lease....”

That kind of thing, fights back and forth with the landlord about total irrelevant topics, just to get basic maintenance done, after a while you stop bothering to even ask, just live with everything falling apart around you.

I was so sure I'd left that all behind me.

Then I sat here in this motel room with no heat remembering the months we lived with feces stains on our bathroom floor, in that apartment in L.A. When “maintenance” finally came in and fixed the pipes, they left the stained linoleum behind. I’d had to call the Health Department to finally get the bathroom floor replaced, but never stopped smelling feces coming from beneath the floor.

Somehow the landlord from hell in L.A. tied in with today December 2010, in a hotel room in Albuquerque with no heat, and I turned back into this impotent, battered, broken woman who could do nothing but simper and whimper in the kitchen, waiting for the hotel office to open. Then at 7 AM or so the housekeeper knocked on the door, I was still in this oblivious state, frozen, immobilized, and told them about the heater,


Ta Da

Within a half hour the hotel guy was there with a new heater, the maintenance guy took out the old one and replaced it with a new one, in seconds. And I had heat again.

So I was going to write today about how much better I'm doing. I can finally sleep without media in my brain, but that's not true, because last night I didn't make it.

The total body pain that started right in the middle of the episode yesterday, I felt it, the poison, go from my brain where it had me twisted, to everywhere else in the body, and I could not stop it.

Now pain has got me slammed down here in Motel Sick for a couple days.

Good thing the heater works.

Life in a Tupperware container will be continued.

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