Trauma & Therapy
Trauma & Therapy
Moving Beyond Therapy
I guess it was the strange weather that drove me outside after months indoors. Over 90 degree weather. On April 9th and 10th, three weeks into Spring, a season of "April showers bringing May flowers", we experienced 98 & 96 degree temperature, unseasonal heat in a time when birds build nests, the Santa Ana winds (Devil Winds they are called because they originate in the desert) dry up the humidity, and 60 degree temperatures climb into the 80s. This year this pattern did not happen.
Instead, a cold and rainy weather closed out the Winter months of February and March. We've had mudslides and bodies washing up in the San Gabriel River; we've had hillside fires and homes burning outside the fire zones. We've had freezing nights and torrid days. And the weather forecasters are baffled and not with the unpredictable changes in temperature from one day to the next. And both humans and beasts are fighting to adapt to rain one day and near 100 degree temperature the next.
While the residents of Monrovia struggle to choose the right wardrobe for the weather, the homeless must decide to stand in line all day at a shelter for an indoor cot and hot meal in some high school gym or set up camp under the Huntington Drive Overpass If they choose to wait in line for a cot, and it doesn't rain, then they'll miss a spot under the bridge; and if they set up house under the bridge and it rains, then they're stuck looking for a awning to sleep under. Add to that the danger.of being caught by deadly flash floods or mudslides even if they locate their temporary shelter under the bridge and being forced from the store front awnings by the Sheriff's deputies. For business owners, law enforcers, homeless, and shelter providers alike, there is much confusion during such weird weather.
Besides the chaos in the community, the plant and animal life also suffer during these strange temperatures. The blossoming leaves of Spring are being dried out by the unexpected heat waves. The Devil Winds are tossing the dead greenery into the neighborhood's front and back yards. The dried leaves cover the flowers in the yard that bloom once a year, smothering them to death. The bees and the hummingbirds are saturating the few flowers that have managed to survive, but there are not enough for the abundant appearance of these winged creatures.
There are hummingbirds everywhere. Their fear of humans has been marginalized by hunger and need. The tiny birds with blurry wings hover over children eating sweets. The bees have begun to create colonies by the smallest patches of wild flowers. Warnings have appeared in the local newspapers about setting up hummingbird feeders or trying to remove the bee hives on your own. Also, as more new nests bring new hatchlings in the high branches of the trees in the neighborhood, protective parents are more aggressive in their attacks on any humans or other birds near their nests. The increase in dead crows especially has doubled since last year, and at least a dozen people (mostly children returning from school) are ending up at the doctor with head injuries from pecks and talon scratches.
I called Animal Control to pick up the dead crows in my back yard. The AC agent said that the parrots are killing the black birds. He reminded me of the dead cat a few weeks ago and connected its death of this infestation of crazy birds, as he called them. He also told me that dogs are disappearing from the city in unnatural numbers. He nudged me with his elbow and whispered his conspiracy theories to me. "You know the Koreans like to eat dogs. Or maybe it's the homeless. But dogs don't just go missing. My boss says it's the birds. Yeah, right, like you know how many hummingbirds it would take to piranha a dog? Hundreds. And those little birds don't eat meat. Parrots, on the other hand, will eat anything. Even the crows." He shook his head and reminded me not to put out any hummingbird trays or bird houses. Then he left with a bag full of black birds, hummingbirds, and a dead possum that had drowned in the shallow puddle of murky water in the swimming pool. As soon as he got home, my brother used the pump to siphon out pool water and hosed it into the city drain. At the bottom of the puddle, he found three more dead hummingbirds. Probably trying to drink from the water, I suggested. But my brother countered, "Or they died fighting off the possum."
In Santa Monica, reports of feral dogs are increasing. In one report, it was suggested by the local weather man that since the overprotective birds guarding their nests are increasing their attacks on dogs, that the dogs may be simply responding in kind to the birds. A group of children tossing pieces of bread into the air to feed the seagulls by the Santa Monica Pier on April 8, 2018 were attacked by a pack of dogs. They attacked both bird and child alike. Sheriff's deputy Steve Baker arrived at the scene to find two dead seagulls, a dead dog, and several children in shock hiding under the pier. Deputy Baker, you'll remember, provided us with an update in part four of the Trauma series. When I asked him about the case that I read about in the paper and compared it to the bird problem in the San Gabriel Valley, he said something odd: "The job is finally returning to normal. I think I'm getting over my trauma." Then he hung up.
On signs across the Pacific Coast Highway, from Santa Monica to Venice Beach:
"After Getting Bit by a Dog:
If you have been bitten by a dog, you should:
- Seek medical treatment immediately
- Retain incident report or police report
- Get dog owners’ contact information and homeowners’ insurance information if possible
- Collect witness statements and contact information
- Take photos of the bite"
Either way, it all started with the strange weather and has become a capitalist venture in a matter of weeks. Which leads me to SaraH, who sent this in a number of days ago.
Feeding the Pigeons Outside Starbucks
I work for Starbucks. I am a Barista. I've known Anthony since last summer. I worked the afternoon shift, but I've been working mornings since last August 2017, after the incident that drove Anthony into his little "cabin in the mountain", as he likes to call it. I call it his fortress of solitude. Recently, like two months ago, I was transferred back to the afternoon shift and I ran into Anthony. He is not a morning person so we haven't talked since last August. He told me about his trauma series on his blog and asked me to write something about my trauma. Problem is, I didn't suffer any trauma, but Anthony asked me to write something anyway as he's having trouble reaching the people involved with our little party last year. Anyway, it is good to see Anthony out and about again, buying his coffees and croissants. He always feeds the pigeons at the bus bench outside the cafe with crumbs from his pastry.
Where do I begin? Well, I now wear glasses. It was the first thing Anthony noticed about me after seeing me for the first time since last August. Let's see, I like old style Punk Rock, like The Cramps, and new style, like GWAR. I go to community college. I study art history. I like to draw but I'm not that good, but I get good grades. I prefer the historical side of art better, but if I could make a living from my artwork, I would. I mean, I doubt it's anyone's dream to be a lifetime barista.
I guess you want to know why I wasn't traumatized. Well, I wasn't in the sense of PTSD, I guess. I mean, except for the nightmares. I dream about the night of August 9th, 2017.
I am walking with Anthony, a man named Torinko, and a priest named Horaguchi. I met them that evening and we drove to pick up Torinko's daughter from this place in Santa Monica. We walk through this long tunnel until we find the girl and her friends. But I don't go into the tunnel in the dream. I wait outside by the van until they all return, except for Torinko. No one talks as Horaguchi drives everyone home. He drops me off at Anthony's (with Anthony) last and drives off. Anthony says goodnight to me, and I get in my car and drive home. But before I can get home, I'm back in Santa Monica. In the tunnel. Waiting for Anthony to come and get me. Did he forget me? Torinko is there with me. He speaks Japanese to me. I'm sure it's Japanese. Then it's not Torinko anymore. It's the pigeons. I have a croissant, so I feed them. And they grow bigger and bigger as they feed. But now I'm afraid and want to stop feeding them because they are growing so big. But if I stop, they'll get mad. What might they do? Torinko tells me to run and stands between me and the pigeons. I try to run, but I'm in my car again, driving into my driveway.
I turn off the ignition and look around. I'm in bed. I just woke up. It's morning. 7:00 A.M. But I don't have to go to work yet. I don't work mornings anymore. But I'm scared to go back to sleep. I do some homework and drink some coffee. The dream doesn't seem so scary anymore. It's just memories of the time I helped Anthony with his blog. I'm confusing his blog with the time changes in my job. It's just a dream. A silly dream.