Tuesday, January 20, 2009

There's a black man in the White House and a white woman cleaning the court house.

I'm now two days into my 30 days of community service. They've got me on janitorial duty at the court house. It's pretty easy work. Hell, compared to those days when I worked the graveyard shift at the porno store and had to clean the glory hole booths, this is a goddamned piece of cake.

I did not really want to usher in the Obama era today by mopping,
vacuuming and cleaning bathrooms, but a ride to the courthouse fell into my lap and I figured it was best to just get it over with for this week.

It turned out that Victoria, who hails from my old neighborhood o
f Spenard, was on a southern roadtrip and emailed me to arrange a two-night stopover here at Spenardo del Sur. The timing could not have been better! Not only was she able to drop me off at the court house this morning on her way out of town, she kindly took me yesterday to my court mandated "evaluation" 25 miles away.

It wasn't all about court mandated appointments. Victoria and I still found time to drive down dirt roads, visit a couple local cemeteries and check out a dilapidated old barn. (Okay, party central this ain't.)

My evaluation took place in an unmarked office on the backside of a minimall. It was a sad and forlorn place: shabby furniture, well-worn industrial carpet, no windows. If it hadn't been for the photocopied motivational sayings taped to the dingy walls, you could've easily mistaken it for a child molester's basement.

It was here I was questioned about my living situatio
n, income, drinking habits, the accident and Alaska. As soon as anyone finds out I moved here from Alaska, they can't help but ask about it. The two biggest topics, which were both covered that day, are the weather and Sarah Palin. And then, after it comes out that I worked at a recording studio, the next question is always "Did anyone famous go there?" So then I had to talk about Ewan McGregor and Ted Stevens before getting to the nitty gritty of just how much more time and money am I gonna have to give The Man before I can put all this shit behind me?

Let's just say it's a lot. I have 24 hours of re-education camp to look forward to: four six-hour sessions held in the same gloomy office space. This will set me back $265. I also have to visit once a month for something called "monitoring." This goes on for six months at twenty bucks a pop - forty if they decide to make me pee in a cup.

The piss test pisses me off. There were no drugs (other than alcohol) involved in my accident. The police dog that was there will back me up on that. Yet the state of Alabama now reserves the right to collect my urine (a
nd charge me $20 for it) just because they can. At least they didn't demand any from me on this visit, letting me keep my much needed twenty spot (but still charging me fifty for the evaluation).

And these monitoring sessions/potential piss tests can only be done on a weekday and re-education camp is only on Saturdays so I have twice as many rides to beg for until I get my license reinstated.

So, I'm sorry to say, the pledge drive is still going on. As someone who's living on an average of $300-400 a month (with no government assistance), I'm once again asking for your help. Many of you have already given and I thank you. You paid my initial fine and court costs, keeping me from going back to the pokey. I owe you all big time. But we have not quite met our fundraising goal yet. There's only fifty bucks in the coffers right now and the elect
ric company is first in line to take that. I got another fifty bucks coming in on Friday but that's going to the phone/internet company.

So here's the PayPal button again for those who'd like to donate. Or, if you live in Anchorage, you can give the money directly to Angela and she'll make sure I get it.

As a special thank you gift for new and renewing members, Spenardo del Sur is offering these Scrubba Dubya bumpersticker removal kits with your donation of $20 or more. It's a brand new morning in America and it's time we scrape those unsightly reminders of the last eight years off bumpers everywhere. (Not only will it also work on Ted Stevens bumperstickers, I think you could use the scraper in a pinch to clear a frosty windshield.)

Generously donated by David and Priscilla

The chickens have started laying eggs again. Well, Cheepacabra has anyway. The others should be soon to follow. They stopped laying a couple months ago when they started m
olting. The addition of eggs once again to my kitchen is most welcome. Without eggs I can't make pasta, pies or hollandaise sauce. God, how I've missed hollandaise sauce!

Cheepa gets ready to lay the very first egg of 2009. Rather than drag grandma's old stove out of the house and figure out how to dispose of it, I gave it a new life as a nesting box. Until now, there hasn't been a chicken in that oven for over 15 years.

Last winter, most of the chickens were young and continued laying through the winter. Now, all my birds are over a year old - except for the two roosters born last spring, Sanchez and Babyman.

Sanchez is now officially the alpha male. After a couple days of agonizing over which of Frankencoop's three roosters would get the axe, I came to the decision that it had to be Corny. If I didn't kill him, Sanchez wou

So Corny went to that big farm in the sky. He also went into a big bowl of curried chicken salad, a pot of jambalya and a couple gallons of soup stock.

My first day of community service, I brought some of the curried chicken salad with me for lunch. The other woman cleaning the courthouse with me could not believe I had actually butchered the chicken myself.
When we took our lunch break, she was relieved that it was chicken salad. She was half-expecting me to pull a whole roasted chicken out of my tote bag.

In community service, women generally clean the courthouse. The men get the outside duties like picking up roadside trash.
Me and my janitorial partner were the only two women that day. Of the seven or eight men, the majority of those were black. As this is rural Alabama, I was not surprised.

Today, the day of Obama's inauguration, there were only a
bout five or six of us that showed up and we were all white. I couldn't help but contemplate how often that happens here. I know that there are currently about 500 doing community service but have no idea what the demographics of that group are.

It's odd how invisible I feel as I work my way through the court house, even though I'm wearing a bright orange vest with reflective yellow stripes (really more designed for those working on the side of the road). I find it
weird that I'm just tossed into the courthouse and allowed access to almost every office in the courthouse - many of them often empty when I'm there.

Sometimes, the women who work in the courthouse (lots of the offices are manned by mostly women) will not even make eye contact with me. Kinda like how some people won't even look at a homeless guy who asks th
em for change. One woman gives me the eagle eye as I empty her trash, as if I might steal something if she turned her back on me. I want to tell her "Don't worry, I'm just a drunk driver not a thief." As my janitorial partner told me "These white bitches think their shit don't stink!"

But there's some decent people too. Today, I was the only woman who showed up and I got to clean the 2-story courthouse and 3 annexes across the street by myself. As I said, the job is piece of cake. Not only did I finish with time to spare, I also restocked the utility closet and still snuck in extra smoke breaks and had a few conversations with court house employees.

Sometimes, I would pass through an empty breakroom
with a TV showing inaugural festivities and I'd work extra slow so I could catch a couple minutes of the broadcast. I happened to walk into a woman's office as she watching Barack's speech. One of my community service supervisors, a middle-aged black man, was standing behind her watching it too. I asked him if it would be okay for me to hang out and watch the rest of the speech with them.

I don't know how long his speech was. I only caught the last five minutes. That was just enough to make me all teary-eyed. Damn, am I glad that douchebag Dubya is finally gone!

In another office, a younger black woman let me watch a little more of the festivities on her computer with her. We talked about how jealous we were of our friends who were there in person today.

Since the vote here in Randolph County pretty much followed racial lines, with McCain getting 70% of the vote, I avoided talking politics with white people. It's a good bet that any random white person here
did not vote for Obama.

I only overheard one politically-themed conversation between white people today - two older ladies in an office who completely ignored me as I washed the windows.

I had no idea that Barney Frank was gay. Did you know B
arney Frank was gay?

Who's Barney Frank?

Oh, you know...that big, fat slob in Washington D.C.

I don't know.

Oh...he's...that guy. You know...he's fat. He's...he's a liberal.

No, I don't know who he is.

Well, he's gay. I had no idea that he's gay.

Okay, on that note, let's wrap this post up with a couple random pictures:

Della has resigned herself to being outnumbered.

While playing archaeologist a couple days ago, I unearthed these tiny ceramic monkeys. They are only about an inch tall. They were made in Japan in either the 1930s or 1950s.

One of my hens, Miss Lillian, seems to be growing an extra claw out of the bottom of her foot. Not quite as cool as a three-legged chicken but I'll take what I can get.

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