The short fuse of a typical day in recovery.

16 Jun

I was finishing my talk at Ellis Island after having explained the building of the immigration processing center, the experience of the immigrants upon arrival, and painting a vivid picture of the harshness of immigrant life in NYC one hundred years ago when a National Parks ranger in her stupid uniform came barreling through my group.

“Could you reach that latch on the top of the door to open it?” she interrupted.

I complied.

Why they all wear the same outfit the rangers wear at Yellowstone is beyond me. Their Smokey The Bear hats look ridiculous pitted against the Manhattan skyline. She moved on. I thought.

The thrust of my talk to Eighth Graders is that this was an entire generation of people who faced a miserable life in America only so their children would have a little shot at happiness. Theirs was not a happy life. It is a lesson of sacrifice and that is the importance of a visit to this remarkable museum, to remember those who gave up everything so you could have a smart phone. Simple.

It’s rather effective and pretty moving to see them make that connection.

Once I had finished I saw the ranger coming back towards me and prepared myself. “Just leave and don’t listen to her,” I told myself. I knew she had to piss all over her territory like a polecat on a prairie.

“Can I correct a few things you said” she asked, predictably, smiling confidently.

“No,” I smiled back, beaming, and headed for the stairs.

Not used to insubordination, apparently, she insisted herself in my life.

“You really should be more accurate. Your numbers are way off and your descriptions of the trachoma tests are all wrong.”

“My ‘numbers,'” I began with emphasis, my voice bouncing off the wall in front of me as I slowly turned to face her, “are based on the entire diaspora that began with the Irish Potato Famine and my descriptions of trachoma tests are accurate according to two ophthalmologists whose word I’ll take over yours.”

That infuriated her mostly because I don’t think she understood the word ‘diaspora.’ She had no counter-argument, but said she wasn’t sure of either the numbers or the trachoma tests to which I alluded.

Two of my students now walked by and she said as I tried to leave yet again, this time with them, “Well you’re spreading gross misinformation.”

I turned on her full throttle, red-faced, and said, “I told you I didn’t want to talk to you, you had no right to speak to me after that, especially to correct me in front of my students, I’m a paying guest, you’ve already conceded you’re not sure about the two bones of contention you had to begin with, and, by the way, (I was shouting now) YOU CAN’T EVEN OPEN THE FUCKING DOORS AROUND HERE WITHOUT ME.”

The end.

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2 Responses to “The short fuse of a typical day in recovery.”

  1. Michael Joseph Comlish June 16, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

    Hilarious as always. I would send her a follow up letter outlining her breach in professional boundaries and basic etiquette.

    • NC Coot June 16, 2014 at 3:22 pm #

      Letters have been sent, superiors have been notified, Yellowstone is making room.

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