Monday, December 28, 2009

I Always Wanted a Driver

I am always amazed when news breaks of another celebrity/politico being involved in a drug addled automobile accident. I will, on such occasion, turn to whoever happens to be within earshot (or to myself when alone) and say, "Come on, Whitney Houston, don't you have a driver?!" It just doesn't follow that anyone of fame and fortune should drive themselves anywhere, at any time.

I'm not saying I have a desire to be ridiculously rich and famous, but if I were, I can tell you this: having a driver would be on my top ten reasons to be so. Okay, top three.

So imagine my unfettered joy when I read the Instructions for Colonoscopy I recently received from the Gastroenterology Department of the Lexington Clinic. There, in bold face type, in the final bullet:
  • All patients must have a driver.

And not only that, they are not talking some fakey-fakey limo temp who drops you off at Bouchon for Anderson Cooper's Bachelorette party and then bails. No, siree. The bullet goes on to demand: The driver must be able to wait in the surgery center during the procedure.

Rare to take for granted anything in life, I sort of keep this whole potential life changer to myself. Driver. Me? Who am I kidding. But then I get the phone call.

"Michael Miller, please," the Clinic nurse intones in such a way that I immediately know what it is about (okay, caller ID, whatever).

After spending a few minutes chatting politely about the day-before all liquid diet, the potentially gut wrenching Bisacodyle/HalfLytely regime, the $27,312.90 co-pay, she asks the golden question.

"And who, Mr. Miller, will be your driver."

"Eh, Tom," I stammer, "Of course, yes, my partner, er, driver, Tom."

"And will he be able to wait in the surgery center during the entire procedure?"

"Well, of course!" I proclaim, with the newfound confidence of a recently nominated Fox television musical comedy series starlette.

I never even really knew I always wanted a driver. Isn't life fabulous that way?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Peanut Head

Early in my career as an educator I had the blessed priviledge to have a little boy named Michael assigned to my elementary classroom. He was a foster child being reared by a gracious woman who took in three siblings. Michael was her youngest. A "fetal alcohol syndrome" baby. The public education/fostercare system ensured that label would accompany him into First Grade.

Peanut Head I called him. Not to his face, but to my partner Tom, when we would discuss our daily lives back then in the evenings over copious glasses of cheap wine and classless cheese.

Peanut Head stayed with me for his first two years of his early education. After First Grade, his foster mother requested me as his Second Grade teacher because, as she said to the Principal, "He's comfortable with Mr. Miller."

I now know that I made him comfortable by loving him. And I have to know he loved me, as a fatherless African American young boy. I think I made a difference. But not enough.

I gave Michael a pass, because of his disability. Because he seemed so delicate. I did not challenge him to the same rigor I had for other students. It was "comfortable".

I should have taught Michael to read.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I Wish There Was a River

Growing up in a small railroad town, on top of a hill, I could always hear the trains from my bedroom window. Not the living by the tracks kind of thunder, mind you. Just the aforementioned top of the hill knowing they were always there. Forever background noise.

I never knew how much of my being that sound meant to me until my partner and I moved into our house on Merino St. in Lexington nearly a decade ago and I heard them again. From our bedroom now, I can hear the trains of commerce (not just coal) as they gently and furiously roll across the vapid city terrain of Lexington into my very ear and soul.

"I can hear my trains," I say to him on a clear latenight spring evening, when the windows are up and we both will suffer from allergies the following morning.

And I sleep soundly. Because I am home.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

All the People

My fourth grade teacher Ms. McClannahan brought into our classroom a 45rpm single of Lennon's Imagine, put it on a tinny school turntable (remember those?) and asked us to "reflect". It was that golden time in American education when schools were not air conditioned nor overly wrought with public school parents' concerns about Compassion In Schools.

Imagine all the people. ALL the people. What a severe, violent idea. All of us?

That was my first taste of all. ALL.

Oh: She didn't ask us to speak, write, dance, or perform about it, just so "reflect".

And I have eversense.