Theories on a Grand Target Adventure.

As I was driving down Highway 280 on Saturday afternoon, lost in thought about all I had to accomplish in the next day and week and year and lifetime, I approached a set of flashing police lights in the median. I slowed down, as one does, out of caution and to ensure that it wasn’t a tricky speed trap.

The cars in front of me slowed as well and then we all slowed much slower than we should have slowed because what was going on was super curious in a fantastic sort of way.

The median was only a few feet wide, but it held a lot of items at that moment:

1. A single cop car.
2. A cop, standing in the median, currently occupied with handcuffing and emptying the pockets of an
3. Extraordinarily tall and skinny gentleman.
4. The gentleman’s apparent mode of transportation, which was a Target shopping cart, containing
5. Two industrial-sized mops and a
6. Mop water bucket (uncertain if it still contained dirty mop water.)

Two more cop cars came barreling up the hill toward the party, lights flashing and sirens blaring, because obviously this situation required at least six policemen, especially since those mops were INDUSTRIAL-SIZED.

My mind busied itself for the rest of the day, mapping out this scene and analyzing it in a studious forensic fashion.

Highway 280, for those of you who aren’t from around here, is our everybody-hates-it highway. It’s huge, always crowded, a continual source of irritation to the entire population, and also the victim of constant reworking to attempt to fix the eternal traffic problems. Currently, there are all these you-can’t-turn-left-but-you-can-U-turn lanes, complete with traffic lights that show the U-Turn symbol instead of a left-turn signal. They’ve barricaded other former left-hand turns and even straight-across pathways, one of which added 15 minutes onto my personal travel situation.

So you get the picture – this isn’t some backwoods country lane. It’s a SERIOUS road.

The location of the Target Cart Incident was directly in front of the Water Works reservoir. Mapping quickly in my head and then confirming the mileage with the help of Google Maps, the closest two Targets were…

1. 1.8 miles away, but up a seriously steep incline on Highway 280,
2. 4.4 miles away, on Highway 280, but crossing over the interstate, passing a huge shopping mall (and therefore much traffic), and containing a slight uphill climb, then a fairly good downhill coast.

Target Mop GuyMap not to scale. Curves on 280 attempting to show elevation change. Because I’m super good at maps like that.

I decided option two was where he’d come from, as option one’s steep uphill would have been impossible while riding a Target Cart in traffic traveling at 55 miles per hour. Which means that, coming from the other direction, if he’d only made it to that steep downhill section, he’d have had the ride of his life. Who needs roller coasters when you have a Target Cart and Highway 280?

I envisioned the journey as this: Extraordinarily Tall Gentleman (ETG) riding on the back of the cart, kid-style, while holding onto the handlebars. He would push himself like a skateboard to get going, then put his feet up on the crossbar, lean over (quite a bit due to his height), and coast when he could, hopefully with minimal dirty mop water backsplash.

That covered the where and the how, but more importantly was the why.

Maybe he was the janitor at one of these Targets.

Maybe some snot-nosed kid had spilled the LAST Slushie he was going to clean up.

Maybe some suburbia Mom had sloshed the LAST Starbucks double Frappe from which he was going to destickify the floor.

Maybe in a revolt against Target’s gross misuse of the word clearance, some angry Tennis Housewife had smashed a case of 10% off “clearance” La Croix.

Maybe there’d been a puker in the home goods section. And maybe it’d splashed all over the sheets and towels.

Whatever happened, I envisioned ETG looking at that Last Mess, saying “Oh no. Uh uh. I’m done here”, and walking his Cart de Mop right out the front sliding doors, pushing it to the end of the parking lot, holding on for dear life, giving a loud Braveheart-Style war whoop, and riding his way to FREEDOM from the tyranny of the Kingdom Tarzhey.

I feel like ETG could have had a slightly better escape route planned beforehand, though. 280 drivers are known for spotting – and tweeting – oddities very quickly. Such as Naked Guy with the tripod (not an innuendo) taking selfies of himself – there were two dozen tweets about him before he could snap his first duckface. No, ETG riding a Target Cart with Two Industrial Mops and a Mop Bucket didn’t have a chance. But he did hold on longer than Naked Guy (not an innuendo), so there’s that.

(As an aside, I did in 2014 have a brief(less) Twitter conversation with Naked Guy. I did not get to the bottom of his motive.)

Later that evening, we passed back by the scene of the crime. I was hoping that the cart would still be there – as a memorial to the ET(and Brave)G. But it was gone. Which led to a whole different slew of questions. Did the cops somehow tow the cart back to the correct Target? Did Target come and retrieve their property themselves? Or was that cart and its contents booked as evidence of a Crime of Passion and Adventure?

The world will probably never know. But I feel like ETG deserves accolades for his attempt to escape the oppression of The Target Empire, not to mention for distracting my mind completely from all I had to do that day and week and month and year and life.

And so I’m here to offer it.

I salute you, ETG.

And I promise to attempt to keep my coffee in my cup and the puke in my kid while I’m in the confines of all Targets from here on out – as a memorial to you and your valiant Stand Against Messes.

What You Hear While Getting Needled.

I don’t talk about Dysautonomia at length here very often, because frankly, I find it annoying. Same for running – I run nearly every day, but I just don’t find running a very interesting subject to talk about. I like running a huge deal. It makes me feel better. I put one foot in front of the other thousands of times in a row. What more is there to say?

(A LOT, according to all the running groups I’m in. I should really work on being more interesting.)

Dysautonomia is also something that is a part of every single day for me. This June will mark four years since I very suddenly began experiencing this very stupid disease, and I’ve come to look at it as something that I have to just work on, every single day. I can’t just leave it as is, or it will get worse. I can’t just keep doing what I’ve been doing to help it, because things quit working. I have to constantly tweak, analyze, research, try new things, and WORK at feeling decent enough to function.

A few things I’ve found in the past year that help are:

1. Tailwind (less weird than it sounds)
2. Cutting out sugar
3. Very controlled moderation of caffeine (one dose in the morning, one in the afternoon, not allowing them to be too close together)
4. IVs of saline and vitamins.

Yes, Dysautonomia is so fantastically annoying that I’m willing to voluntarily get large, straw-like needles jabbed into me twice a month. And I’d do it every day if I could.

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I’ve known for a long time that IV fluids can significantly aid Dysautonomia sufferers, but I wasn’t into paying a $150 ER co-pay to try it out for myself. And you can’t just walk into CVS and ask them to hook you up. However, we have recently acquired a clinic in Birmingham that provides much-less-expensive-than-the-ER private pay IV treatments with a full menu of groovy vitamin choices to add to your IV bag.

This is amazing.

I went once, then immediately signed up for their 12 month package to achieve discounted rates and two treatments a month.

The IV makes me immediately feel like Wonder Woman after a long weekend and lots of sleep (I usually try to go run immediately afterwards because I have the BEST runs of my life that are almost worth writing about.) The saline ecstasy lasts for a few days.

But the real ecstasy comes from what you might get to overhear at the clinic.

The rooms are are outfitted with giant, cushy, recliners and have the privacy of a curtain over the doorway. So if someone else happens in around the same time, you might get the privilege of hearing their life story.

Usually they’re boring, like mine. “I have dysautonomia. I was feeling very blacky-outy.” And the occasional man bringing in his great-great-great-granddad. “He was sick, and now he’s really weak.”

But the other day, we all finally got something to talk about.

I was halfway through my treatment when someone else came in. He sounded brusque, businesslike, and commanding. He spelled his first and last name at least three times while they were trying to pull up his account. He had no patience for how long it took to type his name.

As he was walking past my curtain, I heard him begin, voluntarily and quite casually, to explain why he was there.

“I do a LOT of drugs. I travel for work, and you gotta do what you gotta do, you know? When I’m at the clinic in Atlanta, they’ll give me three IV bags at once. Is that something you can do?”

“Uh…no…the most we’ve ever done for one person is two bags at a time.”

Two bags at a time? I did not know this was a possibility. Isn’t one enough? Apparently not if you’ve done a LOT of drugs.

They put him in the room across the hall from me – I can only assume for my entertainment. He proceeded to explain that he’d traveled a lot this week, then partied for three days straight. And also…he couldn’t pee.

“If I came back tomorrow, could I get two more bags of fluid?”

Holy cow this guy wants four bags of fluids in two days. AND HE CANNOT PEE. And to think I was feeling bad getting two bags a month.

Nurse sounded skeptical again. “Well…I mean…I guess you could…but you really need to give the vitamins and minerals a chance to work their way through your body. If you still can’t urinate after these two bags of fluid…maybe come back tomorrow.”

Wait a minute.

No.

If you still can’t pee after getting 2000ml of saline and vitamins pumped into your body, I think you might need to go to an actual hospital. The body can only hold so much fluid, right?? I mean. RIGHT??

But he seemed unconcerned. This whole organ-failure-by-three-day-party seemed like something he was accustomed to experiencing. He casually explained that he was pretty sure four bags of IV fluids would definitely jump start his bodily functions again.

The nurse came back in my room to unhook me. My single little IV bag was done, and so I mourned the ending of my audio entertainment.

I whispered to the nurse. “Sounds like I’m the boring patient today.”

She giggled. “I know, right??” She told me that she hoped I felt better. I told her I was thankful for guys that do a lot of drugs. Because there aren’t enough Dysautonomia sufferers in Birmingham to justify the existence of this clinic, so they’re totally subsidizing the demand for my legitimate medical needs. And keeping me entertained while I receive it.

The Alabama Skimm

I’ve mentioned before how much I like The Skimm, and there’s been a lot going on here lately, so I decided to give you guys a bit of my own homestate Skimm.

Alabama’s been talked about a lot lately.

First, our Governor had a, well, a situation that ended up giving us a new Governor in the most fanfare sort of way.

Then the crazy popular S-Town podcast was released.

And finally, The Daily Show had Alabama Week.

 

So, since I assume that I’m your main news source for all true and on-the-ground reporting of Alabama (amIright?), Let’s do some bullet points.

 

  • You’ll be happy to know that we’re not letting our fame get to our heads. If anything, every time another news story goes national about Alabama, we’re more inclined to do a *headdesk*.
  • Because, apparently, just as “good girls don’t make history”, “normal Alabamians don’t make national news.”

So let’s get started.

  • Several of you asked for further details about The whole Guv sitch (read here for the rest of the deets.) I have a few for you – things that got edited out of my first overview because that thing was freaking long. I mean it had to be – it’s quite the saga. But here you go…

…The Governor had a habit of “running away” anytime he and The Sweetest Little Lady you Ever Did See got into an argument about New Girl. But the thing is, Governors aren’t supposed to just “take off.” You know, security and whatnot. His detail was constantly trying to be ready to chase after him when he left in a huff. One night, after a scramble to locate him, they had to report to their commanders, “Uh, we lost the governor.” It took a while for them to track him down by helicopter – turns out, he’d driven all the way to their beach house to have some “quiet time.” Another one of his leave-in-a-huffs, he left from their hometown of Tuscaloosa and forgot his wallet – had no money, ID, or anything. So naturally, he demanded that a state aircraft take off from Montgomery, pick up the wallet in Tuscaloosa, and deliver it to him at the beach.

Another jewel:

…After New Girl said this about The Sweetest First Lady,

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…she actually wrote a speech for The Sweetest First Lady to make when she finally decided to leave The Guv. It’s THE WORST.

“I am grateful to the kind and good-hearted people of Alabama for allowing me to serve as your First Lady for the last five years. It has been a joy and a privilege to serve you and to work together on issues close to my heart such as Domestic Violence Awareness and support for Alabama’s foster children. I want to thank you all for your continued prayers of support for me, for my family and for Robert. The erroneous and unsubstantiated media reports over the last few weeks have been very hurtful to our family and to (the Caldwell and Mason families) and (other families) as well. We ask for your continued prayers in the days and weeks to come. It has been an honor to serve this great state as your First Lady.”

Thankfully, The Sweetest Old Lady You Ever Did See taught us all what you do when your husband’s mistress/Kellyanne-Conway-Wanna-Be writes you a speech that attempts to exonerate your husband’s mistress: she gave some amazing side-eye and said “Girl. Bye.”

112910_WEB_B_Bentley_t1070_hc875ec9985c267cd83eced2dd63ab131d05bf676If I were a better photoshopper, I’d turn that quilt into The Mean Girl Speech.

…Before leaving him, The Sweetest First Lady employed some fantastic and devious tactics to attempt to undermine New Girl’s hold on her husband. Unbelievably heinous things like…taking pictures with her husband and posting them on social media.

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…”Did New Girl’s husband know? Why would he have been okay with it going on?” Those were questions I got asked the most. All indications and depositions imply that yes, he knew all along. As for why he was cool with all this… between their two government salaries, Rebekah’s later shady salary from the shady ACEGOV that the Guv put together, and their two consulting/ad agencies, New Girl and In-Cahoots Hub made well over a million dollars during the time in which New Girl was in the Governor’s employ. So draw your own conclusions.

…The most drama-filled day of the administration was the Governor’s second inauguration. By then, the Sweetest First Lady had secretly moved back to their hometown and was not residing at all in the Governor’s mansion (but still pre-divorce.) What was going on had not come out in the press yet, but the Sweetest First Lady had no desire for herself or her family to be subjected to the inauguration. The drama and planning that went down that day (as recorded in the First Lady’s Chief of Staff’s notes) is miniseries-worthy…Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 4.18.09 PM

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House of Cards ain’t got nothin’ on Alabama.

Moving on in The News From Alabama…

  • S-Town. I can’t decide how I feel about this podcast. Maybe it’s like J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter sequel, The Cursed Child – I had to read it twice, back-to-back, to be able to enjoy it (the second time.) But I don’t feel like listening to S-Town again, so I guess I’ll have to stay confused about my feelings. Some brief thoughts, for those of you who have listened to it…(minor spoilers ahead for those who haven’t.)

…John B.’s house is 54 minutes from my house. I know this because you can type “S-Town Hedge Maze” into Google maps and see that magnificent creation. I have mutual friends on Facebook who are friends with some of the people in the show. These facts are mind-blowing to me, as that world seems three worlds away from my world.

…The first two episodes of this podcast personified why I have such high anxiety about Alabama being in the news. Despite every quadrant of this nation having backwards, close-minded small towns, Alabama (and Mississippi) seem to always get labeled by those places, and are never mentioned for all of our many finer qualities. Also, people become caricatures of themselves and of Alabama. As was shown in the later episodes, all of those people have more depth than what is initially portrayed (for better or worse, in some cases.)

…My overall frustration about the podcast is that I feel like John B. planned the whole thing to be his story. So as to not give it completely away, I believe the “twist” at the end of episode 2 was his plan all along. He wanted to be remembered in a literary fashion, and he was a most fascinating individual, but his methods were ultimately selfish and tragic.

What were your thoughts, if you’ve listened?

Moving on.

  • The Daily Show. It wasn’t at all what I expected – they covered issues that were surprisingly not at the top of the everyday radar – perhaps the fact that it was educational to me is proof that they didn’t exactly catch the overall feel of the state. Such as the Alabama forest conservationist whose actual goal is to protect Bigfoot (or Bigfeet, as he was pretty sure there were more than one.)

…The premise was that because Alabama is the state with the lowest amount of Daily Show viewers, they decided that they needed to get to know Alabama and figure out what they were doing wrong. So for four days, they did stories about Alabama.

…The show was less cringe-worthy and more heart-warming that I expected, which really is wise on their part as they’re trying to lure us, not offend us. Tuesday night’s episode was about “Alabama’s Biggest Problem”, prison overcrowding.

(I mean it’s a problem. For sure. But we have others. If you haven’t noticed.)

…On that same day that aired, the Alabama House of Representatives was voting on whether or not to decriminalize Midwifery (midwifery is so fun to say – midWHIFFery midWHIFFery…). That’s right – if you’re a midwife, you’ve been an outlaw in this state. We insist on either hospital childbirth or do-it-yourself at home with ABSOLUTELY NO HELP, got it??

The timing of these two things did not miss mine and Chris’ attention…and our mental image of overcrowded prisons immediately changed to one of prisons bursting at the seams with midwives. We could only assume that they smuggle in essential oils and practice deep breathing on the regular. Kombucha is the contraband of choice and they line their cells with photos of the babies that they criminally helped out into the world.

And what did they do to get put in those overcrowded prisons? The bustling underground midwifery operation, obviously. Which leads to questions such as how does one find a Midwifery dealer? And I bet that black market midwifery is so very unregulated – we MUST decriminalize so that we can regulate and tax it properly!

The Daily Show really missed a trick on the whole criminal midwifery angle. I mean, if you thought Orange is the New Black was fun, just wait until Orange is the New Midwife comes out!

Between Alabama House of Cards and Orange is the New Midwife, we don’t need no S-Town.