Freudian Slips: Double Pain Windows

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

December 09, 2004

Double Pain Windows

Frost is like white icing on the cake for me, a Mastocytosis sufferer who carries a personal vendetta against bees. Over the last several weeks, the cooler weather has interfered with both the food supply and the flight system of stinging insect populations. For the sole survivors who thought death was not an option, frost has come like a serial killer among winged critters. I couldn’t be happier about their seasonal demise into oblivion. Without bees, I breathe a sigh of relief. With a bee sting, I do not breathe at all.
The welcome sight of morning frost reminds me of a recent move of a client into a licensed group home. As I pull up to the group home, a two story colonial residential home in Anywhere, America, I notice something amiss. I must preface this story by conveying that the relocation was scheduled for 10:00 am on this date. I just don’t drive up to a house and drop off human beings and suitcases. In preparation for this blessed occasion, I chaired a pre-placement meeting, dissolved bank accounts, and re-routed Medicaid cards. Into a compact car, I had packed all of this client’s worldly possessions, including about fifty prized stuffed animals.
As my car idled in the driveway, only an unmarked unmanned van was parked in the driveway. I got out of the car and stared oddly at the house. The group home had no windows! To be exact, the home had no shutters, no glass, no screens, and the windows were not boarded up. I walked a few steps onto the grass to get a closer look. Yep, just as I suspected. I could pull a couch through any number of windows. But I was here on legitimate business not burglary.
“Hello, Hello, anyone here?” I shouted.
Peeking my head in what used to be a double pane window, I repeated my search for intelligent life. No dice. So the Candid Camera social worker moment of 2004 goes to… Joe Tornatore for ringing the doorbell of a home without any windows or occupants. Not surprisingly, nobody answered the door not even a ghost of client’s passed. After a minute of aimlessly standing on the porch not knowing what to do, I heard footsteps on concrete. I retreated from the porch and introduced myself to a disinterested thirty something man, who was climbing into the back of the lone unmarked van.
“Excuse me.” I interrupted, my face speaking to his buttocks. “Do you work with xyz agency?”
He turned around and answered. “No, they are gone for the day.” He then glanced at my photo ID badge around my neck. “I’m a private contractor hired to replace the windows. No staff are inside.”
“Do you know where they went?” I asked.
“Beats me." he said with a simultaneous shoulder shrug. "Staff stuffed patients in a minivan and drove off about an hour ago.”
I continued to pepper questions to a window installer who thought I was just a pain. “Did they happen to say when they would be returning?”
“About 2:30-3pm…” he answered matter of factly.
“But the group home is wide open…..”
“No sense locking up a group home that doesn’t have windows.”
His logic was as impeccable as my timing was improbable. “I noticed the ventilation right away.” I admitted. “Okay, I'm going to hang around just in case somebody returns. I do have an appointment.”
“Be my guest.” he says while reaching for a hacksaw.
I got back in my car. The comedic moment doesn’t escape me as I take note with a shit-eating grin inside the cabin. As I use my cell phone to report back to my supervisor of the impasse, I eyeball a yellow jacket walking across my bare wrist. I do not panic but had every right to since a bee can kill me. With my unaffected arm, I grabbed a Tickle Me Elmo doll by the neck. I kick open the car door. Using Elmo as a non-human shield, I whisk my nemesis outbound where he belonged. Never before in my social work career had a stuffed animal saved my life. I closed the door and thanked the toy Elmo with a passionate hug. I let go upon realizing my client might get jealous. If you ever find a NJ social worker dead on a sidewalk clutching a stuffed animal, check his medical history before passing judgment about adults playing with inappropriate toys. There is a good chance I was caught at the fatal intersection of Mastocytosis and a bee sting.
Staff eventually returned to the group home guranteeing completion of the haphazard move. The series of recent frosts guranteed the bee incident from repeating itself. I felt so foot loose and fancy free, I ordered five cubic yards of mulch. For readers who have enough coin to hire contractors for landscaping, this much mulch is like Mount Everest Jr. with hiking boots recommended.
There is no denying, I am living on the great outdoors again. Much like the group home, the outdoors held no windows for me. I told myself to dig into the mulch pile. It takes a dormant season for me to work like a busy bee.



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